Clinical Study

HELPING CHILDREN HAVE AN ACTIVE ROLE IN THEIR SEATING ENVIRONMENT

Results of a Clinical Study:


A child’s seating system should provide proper positioning and postural support, but not limit the child’s ability to move and play an active role in their own habilitation. A dynamic seating system can help: strengthen, increase active range of motion, provide pressure relief, increase circulation and encourage active communication. This study includes the initial results of a clinical study, case histories and the therapeutic rationale to support the utilization of a dynamic, active seating system.

An active seating system can aide in the development of motor skills. Children, who are nonambulatory and have not developed anti-gravity postural musculature to maintain their body in a variety of postures, consistently have poor to fair muscle strength. It is not reasonable to expect the child to strengthen, if they do not have the ability to move. How does one develop head and trunk control without opportunity? Whether a child extends due to atypical tone, agitation or merely to stretch and relieve pressure, it is very difficult to align the pelvis during extension. The child eventually returns from extension into sacral sitting or misalignment. A seating system that moves with the child helps eliminate the need for continual repositioning. Anatomically placed pivot points must be a component of the system to minimize shear and displacement during this movement.

An active seating system can benefit the child with poor respiratory tidal volume. Through extension, the child has the opportunity to stretch their Intercostals, and through movement, develop strength in musculature which permits active rib flare, depth of inspiration, and in some cases, improved oxygen saturation. Many children will develop pressure issues related to shear, as well as prolonged pressure.

A seating system, which allows for movement, while minimizing shear can improve comfort and reduce the potential for skin/tissue injury.

These children need to communicate. Interaction with others, exploration and communication, all require movement. The ability to “animate” with changing postures during communication, move towards the person you are interacting with, or away from those that you do not wish to interact with, all require movement. In addition, we are "neurologically designed" to lean forward when our attention is required, whereas leaning backwards is our "neurologically relaxed" posture. Children who need support to sit properly oftentimes feel trapped when they are surrounded with rigid postural supports, resulting in a battle between the child and the seating system. The rigid seating system, by nature of the hardware, usually wins.

A dynamic system works with the child, not against them.

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