Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Our last blog addressed using dynamic seating to prevent equipment breakage, particularly with clients who exhibit increased muscle tone. These clients often display strong extension, sometimes referred to as an “extensor thrust.” This intermittent and strong force can lead to breakage of the wheelchair seating system and frame.
Another group of clients frequently experience equipment breakage. Many clients with a variety of intellectual disabilities tend move a lot and frequently rock in their wheelchair seating system. This rocking movement may be so strong as to literally “bounce” a manual wheelchair across the room and can lead to the wheelchair tipping over. These clients may be seeking vestibular input and often demonstrate reduced rocking movements when other sensory stimulation is provided. Continuous rocking, as well as forceful rocking, can lead to damage of the wheelchair seating system and frame.
Providing dynamic seating, particularly at the hips, allows the client to rock and move while absorbing these forces. This is typically addressed with a dynamic back. Absorbing the force protects the wheelchair and seating system from damage.