Clinician Interview: Brain Power!

Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS

I had the privilege to present with a group of colleagues on Dynamic Seating at the International Seating Symposium last year. One of my co-presenters was Suzanne Eason, OT/L who works at St. Mary’s Home in Virginia. Suzanne is very interested in the impact of movement on brain development. I recently had a conversation with my friend.

Suzanne, how are you using Dynamic Seating with the clients you work with?

“I have known most of my clients on a daily basis for years. If a client breaks something, I ask myself ‘why did it break?’ I watch the client to determine if they are trying to do something that the seating system does not allow. Dynamic Seating may allow what the client is attempting to do. I have noticed that Dynamic Seating reduces breakage and my clients stay awake and are happier.”

“I look at motivation, intention and desire. I need to understand the person and their movement and how they are using that movement to enhance function. That function may appear to be minimal, but it is important. Movement can allow a person to modify their position independently. For example, the client can stretch when this is desired or to alleviate discomfort.

Suzanne, can you tell us a bit about how movement changes the brain?

“Studies show that when intentional movement occurs, the brain secretes neurotrophic growth factor which ‘feeds’ the brain, increasing dendrite and neuron growth, as well as the connections between the nerves. Basically, intentional movement leads to brain growth and development. This is sometimes referred to as Activity Dependent Neuroplasticity.”

What are your thoughts on Dynamic Seating and Sensory Input?

“Movement using Dynamic Seating can provide vestibular, proprioceptive, and kinesthetic input. Sensory input is critical for cognitive development, as well as reducing maladaptive behaviors.”

“Some of our more involved clients have very limited abilities and may demonstrate increased tone, posturing, and self-stimulation. We need to do better, to support abilities – even, and especially, when very limited.”

Thanks Suzanne for your time and thoughts! It is exciting to hear how dynamic seating is helping the clients you work with!

Suzanne Eason
Suzanne Eason

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