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Assessing the Seating Needs of School-Aged Children

presented by Ann Jackson, PT, DPT, MPH and Roberta O'Shea, PT, DPT, PhD

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Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Clinicians in school settings are often asked, "Is this student in need of a wheelchair?" There are many considerations that accompany this question. School-based therapists may or may not be skilled at evaluating and recommending a wheelchair for a specific student. There is no set formula for every student, but there is an organized and systematic approach for assessing each student. This module is designed to assist Physical and Occupational Therapists who work in schools and may not have vast amounts of experience with assessing wheelchair needs for students in a systematic way. This course will provide an organized way to gather the necessary information to answer this question regardless of the clinical profile or functional status of the student. Identifying the stakeholders and understanding the environmental challenges some students face in accessing points of interest in school, home, and community settings are where this course begins. Understanding a step-by-step assessment of systems and tools to create necessary documentation are also covered in the course. Clinicians are encouraged throughout the process to maintain a client-centered approach. This course ultimately highlights the multiple steps and sources of input that are involved in answering the question regarding the need for a wheeled mobility system.

Meet Your Instructors

Ann Jackson, PT, DPT, MPH

Ann is a physical therapist who has spent her career focusing on optimizing the functionality of individuals across the lifespan impacted by neuromuscular disorders. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy from Georgia State University, a Masters of Public Health from the University of South Carolina and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy…

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Roberta O'Shea, PT, DPT, PhD

Roberta Kuchler O'Shea, PT, PhD, DPT has been a pediatric physical therapist for over 30 years. She practiced in a variety of environments before joining the faculty at Governors State University. Dr. O'Shea earned her Bachelors in PT degree from St. Louis University, a Master's degree in Public Service from DePaul University, a PhD in…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Where to Begin

This chapter details why we would do an evaluation, who should be involved, and what variables must be considered. It details that the assessment should begin at the moment of initial contact and as much information as possible should be obtained from the student via observation, communication, and handling. The student should be placed on various surfaces to assess their relationship with gravity over time as well as their musculoskeletal abilities.

2. Completing the Assessment

This chapter details specific components of assessment, starting once the student is placed on the mat.This systematic review includes functional/sensory assessment, clinical examination of musculoskeletal system, and the development of componentry recommendation list. The types of funding sources will also be covered.

3. Putting It All Together: Justification, Documentation and Delivery

This chapter focuses on creating the evidence-based documentation to support the recommendations generated from the evaluation, supporting the fitting and dispensing of prescribed mobility system and family training, and reassessing the effectiveness of the equipment.

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