ATP Series

2018 Best Picks

ATPs & Clinicians Name Their Seating & Wheeled Mobility Favorites

2018 Best PicksNow in its eighth year, Mobility Management’s Best Picks program asks clinicians and providers working with complex rehab technology to name their favorite seating and wheeled mobility products.

It’s an intensely personal, as well as professional, process. Mobility Management does not suggest brand or product names. There is no “ballot” of products to choose from. Clinicians and providers simply name one or more complex rehab products that impress them. You’ll find both tried-and-true technology and brand-new products among this year’s Best Picks, including one (from Yamaha Motor Corp., making its Best Picks debut) that just officially launched in June.

You’ll also find quotes from the providers and clinicians who made these decisions.

As always, our thanks to the assistive technology professionals who participated in this year’s story. — Ed.

Ultra Head Support

Ultra Head SupportThis head support has been around for a while, but it is one of my favorites! Its modular support provides occipital, suboccipital, and lateral head support to achieve and maintain neck alignment. I can even swap out a lateral pad with a switch to access an assistive technology device!

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

Stealth Products, (800) 965-9229;

Matrx Elan Headrest

Matrx Elan HeadrestThis new headrest has been a godsend in my facility for providing more optimal head control compared to all the other headrests we’ve tried. It gives suboccipital and lateral control that can be infinitely adjusted/readjusted to each user. I love it!

— Lisa Troy, PT, DPT, ATP, New England Pediatric Care

Motion Concepts, (888) 433-6818;

Permobil Connect with Virtual Seating Coach

Permobil ConnectThe addition of Connect to Permobil chairs is a real improvement. First, the fact that part of the system does not rely on a smartphone or Bluetooth is great, as many users do not have that technology. Many manufacturers have the ability to look at chair function remotely now, but most require Bluetooth to do so.

So, the ability to do this without Bluetooth opens up the functionality to everyone who uses a wheelchair. Additionally, the fact that Virtual Seating Coach (VSC) is now free for individuals who do have smartphones or tablets is great. So many clients forget to use their power features, and they say they wish they had a reminder. This is exactly that!

Virtual Seating CoachPlus, for my clients who I want to drive slightly tilted to help with seating, the VSC can show them they are tilted the 10-15° I’ve recommended. VSC has been around for a while, but it was always an upcharge feature that most of my clients could not afford. So, this is a real step forward.

— Lauren Rosen, PT, MPT, MSMS, ATP/SMS, Program Coordinator, Motion Analysis Center, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital of Tampa

Permobil, (800) 736-0925;

Spex Positioning

Spex PositioningThe Spex system is modular and comprises a grid of foam cubes. The individual cubes can be customized “on the spot” by adding to or removing foam to meet the individual’s specific upper-body shape.

The Spex back support profile can be created based on the postural needs identified for the individual’s upper body. The system has the ability to instantly “create” greater volume or fullness in the back support where needed or to remove fullness to ensure good contact with the body contours.

Spex PositioningBy providing seating which has the ability to be adjusted, clinicians and ATPs have the ability to continue to provide an individual with comfort and postural support, while meeting the asymmetrical postural presentation.

— Lee Ann Hoffman, Clinical Educator, OT, MSc. Rehabilitation: Posture Management, Numotion


NaviONE Power Assist

NaviONE Power AssistI looked at the power add-on wheels from Yamaha, the NaviONE. It does have some features that make it unique. The NaviONE has a system that controls all the components as one, where one wheel communicates with the other for more precise control and operation. They can also be set up for hemi propellers and users with uneven arm strength.

It has two different battery options, nickel and lithium, with the lithium battery’s expected range around 22 miles. It also has some built-in features for rollback prevention, downhill speed control, uphill assist, and side slope stability. The installation looks fairly straightforward to fit a variety of frames.

— Rick Graver, ATP, Medtech Services Inc.

Yamaha Motor Corp. USA, (714) 229-7959;

Proximity Closures

Proximity ClosuresThese innovative magnetic buckles have opened up a whole new word for the end user and caregiver.

These buckles are brilliantly designed to be super easy to open and to close for so many individuals with limited hand function,who previously had to forgo strapping due to the compromised independence they incurred.

[President] Ken Keim has also kept cost within necessary limits to allow for constraints of funding. I think this new product is the best thing since sliced bread!

— Mala Aaronson, OT, ATP, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

Complex Rehab Supplies, (708) 671-8955;

Superstand HLT

Superstand HLTNeed a stander for your classroom? Order the Superstand HLT from Prime Engineering with the adjustable depth and height supports. The trunk laterals and hip guides will be in slots that go in/out and up/down by just sliding. Also, upgrade to the metal wheels. This one unit can go prone, supine, upright, abduct, and accommodate almost any postural impairment.

For severe knee and hip contractures (20-90°), add the special system (get a longer bar for hip contractures). There will be no pressure on the patellae, and you can start to try to gain range. One study gained 3° a week! If you need more than 30° of abduction, order a longer bar and the rotational foot plates so you can align the hind foot with the tibia.

Superstand HLTFor the final touch, order the water-resistant covers. These look great, but also offer an additional level of cleanliness, as you can swap them out and wash them between users.

— Ginny Paleg, PT, DScPT, MPT

Prime Engineering, (800) 827-8263;

Axiom SP Visco & SP Fluid Cushions

Axiom SP Visco CushionThe Axiom SP Visco and SP Fluid, both coded as E2607/8, are available in sizes from 14x14" to 22x20".

Feedback from my customers has been overwhelmingly positive. Sometimes it’s difficult to judge the effectiveness of a seating interface; however, the follow-up comments I received were all good.

— Ralph Booker, ATP, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

Ki Mobility, (800) 981-1540;

i-Drive Control System

I like the new Stealth i-Drive specialty control module. It is basically a newer type of electronic interface device that allows you to set up, connect and program specialty drive and switch controls on complex, high-end power wheelchairs for people that lack the ability to drive with a traditional hand control joystick set-up.

With this new technology, the users can access input devices that will allow them to drive and use power seating functions through alternative switch access. We have been using a lot of knee abductor-mounted switches for our ALS [clients] and have had some successful outcomes.

— Frank Lane, ATP, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

Stealth Products, (800) 965-9229;

M3 Corpus Power Chair

M3 CorpusThe anterior tilt packages and Connected chair features are one of a kind, and the chair overall is unmatched in terms of quality, durability and positioning.

— Chris Bittner, ATP, Numotion

Permobil, (800) 736-0925;

6-Point Chest Harness

6-Point Chest HarnessBiodynamics’ standard 6-point chest harness is a great solution for the little “Houdini’s” we serve!

I have one such Houdini of my own, and previously had to have another seating company make one of these custom, which of course raised the pricing to a less comfortable level.

With a standard model, Biodynamics has provided a great, affordable solution for those that were able to find their way out of the usual 4-point harnesses.

— Mala Aaronson, OT, ATP, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

Biodynamics, (516) 777-2222;

Dynamic Footrests

Dynamic FootrestI love the Seating Dynamics Dynamic Footrests because these move in response to client force, removing leverage and helping my client to stay in position instead of standing in their wheelchair! This reduces overall extension and helps the client better tolerate the wheelchair seating system.

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

Seating Dynamics, (303) 986-9300;

M1 Power Chair

M1 Power ChairThe M1 is a new option in single-power that boasts Permobil quality at a great price point.

— Lindsey Rea, ATP, Numotion

Permobil, (800) 736-0925;

Liberty Wheelchair

Liberty WheelchairKi has, once again, listened closely to the needs of the consumer, therapist and supplier, and responded with a very well-thought-out and beautifully designed solution!

This chair is a great product for the manual chair user who wants to continue to self-propel with upper or lower extremities, but needs some extra positioning and/or pressure relief. The weight and ease of folding is impressive for all of the function it provides, and consumers and therapists find it attractive!

As always, Ki has also been mindful of our funding challenges, and has been able to provide pricing that aligns well with our current funding restrictions.

— Mala Aaronson, OT, ATP, CRTS, National Seating & Mobility

Ki Mobility, (800) 981-1540;

This article originally appeared in the July 2018 issue of Mobility Management.

In Support of Upper-Extremity Positioning