Editor's Note

Our Best-Laid Schemes...

Poet Robert Burns knew that best-laid schemes “gang aft agley” (i.e., often go awry), and a bit of that happened this month, when we set out to discuss pediatric dynamic seating.

While we’ve mentioned the topic in the past — reporting, for instance, on Dr. Michael Hahn’s research study presented at the International Seating Symposium in 2007 — this is our first cover story on dynamic seating, a topic I personally find fascinating.

Maybe that’s because for several years, I worked in elementary school classrooms with kids — some of whom had special needs — and volunteered in other classrooms for years more. And I saw over and over that a slight change in scenery or position could also change a kid’s attitude. Tell a 6-year-old he can lounge on the carpet while doing his math paper, instead of sitting still at his desk to do it… and watch his face light up. In an instant, he’s lying on his tummy, propped up on his elbows, feet waving a bit in the air as he contemplates 2+4. The ability to wriggle a little can work magic, especially with younger kids.

Why would it be any different for children with disabilities?

Obviously, changing positions is a lot more complex for kids who use wheelchairs. But the principle remains: Kids need to move. Humans need to move. So for our dynamic seating story, we consulted industry experts to ask how they defined dynamic seating — and learned there are a lot of different definitions! We also asked how dynamic seating works, why it helps and which of your clients could potentially benefit.

Unfortunately, our interview process for this story coincided eerily with the news that Kids Up — one of the highest-profile dynamic seating manufacturers in the United States — had ceased operations. Kids Up’s technology was mentioned by multiple experts, and in fact has been the main dynamic seating technology used by ATG Rehab’s Mike Mowry, who gave us his perspective as a complex rehab provider specializing in pediatrics.

While at press time Kids Up was closing its doors, possibly for good, we decided to go ahead with our cover story and include the Kids Up comments, because, as Ginny Paleg noted, many therapists and providers undoubtedly have Kids Up systems in their inventory.

Beyond that, we’ve proceeded with the story because it’s an exciting, much-buzzed-about topic that in itself is dynamic. It’s still changing, still evolving and defining itself. Ultimately, dynamic seating is bigger than any single piece of equipment.

And speaking of dynamic: A quick word about our special NMEDA/Auto Accessibility section.

Recently, we’ve seen a surge in new technology for this category, from aftermarket ramps and lifts to new van and vehicle conversion designs. While the automotive industry took a beating during the global recession, NMEDA Executive Director Dave Hubbard said in our interview that adaptive automotive dealers held their own…and now, they and the auto access manufacturers appear ready to roar ahead. Check out Dave’s comments about the upcoming NMEDA conference, and read the industry forecast by Greg Cook, VP of sales & marketing at BraunAbility.

It’s good to know what even as the world continues to change, sometimes taking our bestlaid plans with it, this industry is dynamic — and something good is always happening. That’s fitting for an industry that, as its focal point, is constantly advocating and fighting for the right of its clients and consumers to move.

This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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