Mala Aaronson, OT is an amazing seating and mobility specialist working for National Seating & Mobility in Natick, MA. Mala took time out of her busy schedule to talk with me about Dynamic Seating.
Most items need a certain level of maintenance. I have to get the oil changed in my car and fertilize my lawn, for example. What about Dynamic Seating components? The answer is, “Yes!”
Dynamic seating provides resistance to movement initiated by the wheelchair user, usually through spring or elastomer type mechanisms or other resistive, but mobile components. Movement against resistance has been demonstrated to increase strength in people with increased muscle tone without an increase in spasticity. Increased muscle strength can, in turn, improve both postural control and functioning.
Jordan Joslin is an ATP/SMS, CRTS in Erie, PA who works for National Seating & Mobility. He was kind enough to spend some time with me on the phone recently to discuss his experiences with Dynamic Seating.
Dynamic Seating moves in response to client forces. Many clients move, not due to increased extensor tone, but rather for the explicit purpose of moving. We all tend to seek out movement. We are wired to move, and movement has so many benefits.
The forces from extension on a static wheelchair seat and frame can be so strong as to cause damage to equipment. Hardware used to mount the seating system and components (such as a head support), are particularly susceptible to damage.
Many clients with increased muscle tone also display dystonia. Dystonia is “characterized by involuntary, patterned, sustained, or repetitive contractions of opposing muscles, resulting in abnormal twisting body movements and abnormal postures”.
Many clients who benefit from Dynamic Seating specifically benefit from movement at the neck. This may include clients who forcefully extend at the neck or who bang against the head support repeatedly, often in conjunction with a total body rocking movement.
John was shaken as a baby and has a brain injury, hydrocephalus, and uncontrolled seizures (Lennox Gestaut syndrome). Learn how Dynamic Seating helps him move, stay safe and reduce equipment breakage to his wheelchair.
Macara McGregor works at St. Amant, a center for adults and children with disabilities. Many residents live at the center, short or long term, and others attend day programs or the private school.