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Wheelchairs, Fashion & Dancing – A Clinician Interview with Judy Garber

Wheelchairs, Fashion & Dancing – A Clinician Interview with Judy Garber

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


Judy Garber has worked with Skills of Central Pennsylvania for 37 years; 35 of which she has worked with wheelchairs. “I worked in the same office as someone who would repair wheelchairs and I filled in for him when he was on vacation.” Skills of Central PA supports a number of group homes in four regions.

Judy has been using Dynamic Seating since about 2013 and really likes it. She is mostly using Dynamic Seating to prevent breakage which she was seeing at wheelchair backcanes and footrests. Judy also works with clients who love to dance! The Dynamic Seating allows the clients to move without breaking their frames due to excessive forces from increased muscle tone.

Amber – Dynamic Footrests

Amber in a wheel chair seating dynamics

Amber currently uses a Seating Dynamics Dynamic Rocker Back interface (DRBi) and has just added the Seating Dynamics Footrests. Click to see her move!

Recently, Judy contacted Seating Dynamics about a client of hers – Amber. Amber had just received her Dynamic Footrests and Judy wanted to extend her thanks for the product and for the support. “Amber is very happy with how they move and work for her. It’s an amazing concept, and so beneficial for someone like her. Thanks again for all the help with getting her the correct parts.” Amber is 28 years old and has intellectual delays, cerebral palsy and choreoathetoid movements. Amber received a Dynamic Rocker Back Interface (DRBi) in 2013 and Judy decided to add on the Dynamic Footrests, as well.

“Amber got AFOs (foot orthotics) to wear in her stander and these were back wedged. Amber is very focused on fashion and likes her shoes. She had Miller’s coils (a dynamic component that mounts between the footrest hanger and footplate), but experienced pain in her joints (hips) when wearing the AFOs with her fancy shoes – we couldn’t adjust the footplates for each pair of shoes.”  Judy switched to Seating Dynamics Dynamic Footrests with foot straps which were ordered by Numotion and approved for funding through United Health Care. “I used the sample medical wording on the Seating Dynamics website and it worked!”

Since receiving the Dynamic Footrests, Amber reports less pain and enjoys this movement. Reducing pain is an important and medically necessary goal in wheelchair seating. Judy also has noticed decreased DRBi movement since Amber received the Dynamic Footrests, as this leg movement decreases the leverage under her feet used to activate the Dynamic Back.

Amber – Dynamic Back

Amber first received the Dynamic Back as she tends to extend her entire body to indicate “Yes.” She does have a Tobii speech generating device but continues to extend to quickly answer questions. Per Judy, “this was rough on her body” and so a DRBi was ordered. This moves in response to her extension, decreasing pain and protecting the back canes from breaking as it diffuses force.

Amber first used another manufacturer’s Dynamic Back, however this “came apart over a few years” and so was replaced with the DRBi which has stood up to Amber’s tone.

Amber uses a two-piece molded seating system, though Judy has actually noticed less shear with the DRBi. Before the Dynamic Back, Amber was extending within the molded seating system, leading to significant shear forces. With the DRBi, Amber experiences very little shear as she can move and remain in alignment with the seating surfaces.

We are so glad that Judy is working with Amber to provide Dynamic Seating to reduce pain, reduce equipment breakage and provide movement. Keep up the great work!

Do you have a story to share? Contact Michelle by leaving a comment below. I’d love to talk with you!

Learn more about Amber: Case Study | Video

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