Reporter's Notebook: ISS, Thursday, March 12, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. - The 25th International Seating Symposium officially kicked off this morning, as director Mark Schmeler opened by welcoming attendees who packed the show site's main auditorium. Notes from today's events:

* According to Mark Schmeler, this year's attendees hail from 24 different countries, 47 of the 50 United States, and from seven Canadian provinces.

* Dr. Rory Cooper, prior to the keynote: "It's wonderful to see you all here today; I'd like to thank all the speakers and attendees for coming, especially in these difficult economic times." Emphasizing the importance of professional relationships to the industry, Cooper added, "Even though many of you come as strangers, many of you will leave as friends."

* The University of Pittsburgh, the show organizer, is using a "semi-paperless" method of counting CEUs, with attendees given a code at the end of each qualifying session; they'll input the code electronically and receive a pdf of their certificates.

* Jean Minkel delivered a heartfelt keynote called "Expertise & Partnership: Interactive Model of Care." A key point: "Listening is a critical skill in the care of patients." Minkel dedicated the keynote to her father, "Dr. Herb."

* Charlie Wright, new member of United Seating & Mobility, is studying for the ATP exam, too, and shared a resource he swears by: Flashcard Secrets by Morrison Media.

* Kudos to Michele Gunn, et al, on a two-hour evaluation-to-delivery assessment of Robinetta Sewell, a client who has CP and was stuck with a chair that had her slumping over, with her feet usually far from the footplate. Michele and crew took attendees through a basic face-to-face meeting with client and PT, then through a mat eval, planar seating and custom molded seating demonstrations. At the end, Robin was given a brand-new seating & mobility system, consisting in part of a TDX SP and a Jay 3 cushion, donated by rehab folks wishing to remain anonymous. Robin was sitting taller, breathing easier, and grinning broadly at the conclusion of this memorable class.

* In the exhibit hall: The Quickie folks are passing out spinal cord keychains in celebration of their new Jay 3 cushion, a system that enables providers to choose cushion width/depth, height, pelvic loading area size, cover options and more. Also in the Quickie booth: additional choices for the Quickie 2 family, the Quickie Pulse 6, and an adult-sized version of the dynamic Kids Rock seating system.

* Josh Anderson and the TiLite team have debuted a new Web site, right in the middle of ISS! Go to www.tilite.com for a peek...we love the testimonial section, but the whole site is cool!

* Quantum Rehab has a new booth this spring...ultra-modern and growable according to the venue. The company's Litestream manual chairs continue to be among its rehab highlights...an entire wall is devoted to Litestream options and accessories.

* It's been a year since I mistook Convaid's Cuddlebug for a stroller...and judging from Sue Johnson's comments, the pediatric mobility system is impressing therapists and parents alike.

* Innovation In Motion's booth in the tent is truly international, with both Australian and Italian staffers demonstrating products. IIM's Ormesa line, says Rick Michael, is continuing to do well.

* Check back for more notes from the show!

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