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Wheelchair Seating Assessment: Positioning the Trunk

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

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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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What needs to be considered when positioning the trunk in wheelchair seating? If asymmetries are flexible, then the goal becomes to achieve symmetry as close to neutral as possible. If the asymmetries are fixed, then the seating system must accommodate the shape of the spine and ribcage to distribution pressure and reduce risk of further loss of range. This course will present common trunk asymmetries with suggested strategies to address each challenge. Providing as neutral a trunk position as possible improves overall posture, stability and function.

Meet Your Instructor

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

Michelle is an occupational therapist with 35 years of experience and has been in private practice, Access to Independence, for over 15 years. She is a well-respected lecturer, both nationally and internationally, and has authored numerous texts, chapters, and articles. She is the coeditor of Seating and Wheeled Mobility: A Clinical Resource Guide; editor of…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Positioning the Trunk: Kyphosis

This chapter will present kyphosis, possible causes of this asymmetry and suggested strategies to correct to neutral, if flexible. Goals of correcting this asymmetry will also be presented which can, in turn, be used as justification for seating interventions in documentation. Correcting a kyphotic trunk facilitates a more upright head.

2. Positioning the Trunk: Lordosis

This chapter will address lordosis, possible causes, suggested solutions and goals. Correcting a lordosis promotes head control, stability and function and distributes pressure optimally.

3. Positioning the Trunk: Rotation and Lateral Scoliosis

This chapter will address trunk rotation and lateral flexion, including causes, suggested solutions and goals of correction. A neutral trunk promotes head control, stability and function.

4. Positioning the Trunk: Fixed Combinations

This chapter will address trunk asymmetries which are fixed and seen in combination with one another, causes, suggested solutions and goals of correction. These cases require accommodation and often molded seating as well.

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