International Seating Symposium Celebrates "Moving into the Age of Accountability"
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Armed with a syllabus/event program nearly a half-inch thick,
attendees at the 23rd International Seating Symposium (ISS) descended upon the
Buena Vista Palace hotel and conference center March 8-10 to view new technology,
to hear about ongoing research and -- perhaps most importantly -- to network
and catch up with colleagues and friends who just happen to be among the industry's
leading experts in seating and mobility.
While many events like to tout themselves as "international," ISS
truly means it. Ask the person next to you at the exhibit hall lunch buffet
"Where are you from?", and you're quite likely to hear "Iceland"
or some similar far-flung city. Who knew Iceland was just a six-hour plane ride
from Walt Disney World?
This year's conference theme was "Moving into the Age of Accountability,"
and keynote speaker Marilyn Hamilton led off the event with her talk entitled
"Change is Inevitable, Direction is Choice." The Quickie co-founder
asked if attendees are "enablers" -- and had conference participants
wondering if, by sheltering end-users from the cold, hard facts about rehab
coverage criteria and reimbursement, we are inadvertently contributing to funding
woes. Hamilton distributed carabiners inscribed with "If you can't stand
up… stand out!"
The focus of the event seemed to be on the end-user -- specifically about making
the end-user a more integral part of the seating and mobility decision-making
team. Permobil, The ROHO Group and TiLite kicked off the event by introducing
the Users First Alliance, an organization devoted to educating end-users about
their rights when it comes to selecting the seating and mobility equipment they
use (see Upwardly Mobile Column: Going Boldly for details)
On the research side, the A.R.T. Group sponsored a presentation by Dr. Michael
E. Hahn of Montana State University on the "Effects of Dynamic Wheelchair
Seating on Spasticity and Functional Mobility in Children." Hahn, with
colleagues Wayne Hanson (KidsUp, Inc.) and Sheri Simkins, PT, is studying children
with spastic cerebral palsy to determine whether children's functionality improves
by using seating systems designed to move with their users.
Other ISS presentations ranged from Investigating the Segway Human Transporter
as an Alternative Mobility Device to discussions on pressure ulcers, transporting
wheelchairs in motor vehicles and manual wheelchair design.
The next International Seating Symposium is scheduled for March 5-8, 2008,
in British Columbia at the Westin Bayshore Hotel. The keynote speaker will be
Dr. Geoff Fernie, director of the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto,
who will be discussing "The Aging Process." Scheduled plenary sessions
will feature Dr. Jean Minkel ("Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding the Beast
Within") and wheelchair marathon athlete medalist Kelly Smith ("2010:
The Paralympics"). The deadline to submit abstracts is May 30, 2007, so
if you'd like to attend or present, go here
for more information.
This article originally appeared in the May 2007 issue of Mobility Management.