Assessing the Seating Needs of School-Aged Children

presented by Roberta O'Shea & Ann Jackson

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Clinicians in school settings are often asked, “Is this student in need of a wheelchair?” There are many considerations that accompany this question. School-based therapists may or may not be skilled at evaluating and recommending a wheelchair for a specific student. There is no set formula for every student, but there is an organized and systematic approach for assessing each student. This module is designed to assist Physical and Occupational Therapists who work in schools and may not have vast amounts of experience with assessing wheelchair needs for students in a systematic way. This course will provide an organized way to gather the necessary information to answer this question regardless of the clinical profile or functional status of the student. Identifying the stakeholders and understanding the environmental challenges some students face in accessing points of interest in school, home, and community settings are where this course begins. Understanding a step-by-step assessment of systems and tools to create necessary documentation are also covered in the course. Clinicians are encouraged throughout the process to maintain a client-centered approach. This course ultimately highlights the multiple steps and sources of input that are involved in answering the question regarding the need for a wheeled mobility system.

Meet Your Instructor s

  • Roberta O'Shea, PT, DPT, PhD

    Roberta Kuchler O'Shea, PT, PhD, DPT has been a pediatric physical therapist for over 30 years. She practiced in a variety of environments before joining the faculty at Governors State University. Dr. O'Shea earned her Bachelors in PT degree from St. Louis University, a Master’s degree in Public Service from DePaul University, a PhD in Education/Special Education from University of Illinois at Chicago, and a DPT from Governors State University. She has written books, book chapters and articles regarding many aspects of physical therapy and maintains a research interest in the impact of Conductive Education for individuals with neurological impairments.

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  • Ann Jackson, PT, DPT, MPH

    Ann is a physical therapist who has spent her career focusing on optimizing the functionality of individuals across the lifespan impacted by neuromuscular disorders. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Therapy from Georgia State University, a Masters of Public Health from the University of South Carolina and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Rosalind Franklin University. She has been in practice for 30 years, with 18 years in pediatrics. She has worked in varies clinic and community settings. Dr. Jackson is the owner of Legacy Healthcare Solutions, a healthcare consulting and support agency. She currently works with children, adults and their families in varies settings throughout the Chicagoland region to provide direct therapy services, navigational support and community based resource identification. Ann is committed to practicing within an Evidence Based framework to address the short and long term needs of those she works with.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Where to Begin

    1. Where to Begin

    This chapter details why we would do an evaluation, who should be involved, and what variables must be considered. It details that the assessment should begin at the moment of initial contact and as much information as possible should be obtained from the student via observation, communication, and handling. The student should be placed on various surfaces to assess their relationship with gravity over time as well as their musculoskeletal abilities.

  2. Completing the Assessment

    2. Completing the Assessment

    This chapter details specific components of assessment, starting once the student is placed on the mat.This systematic review includes functional/sensory assessment, clinical examination of musculoskeletal system, and the development of componentry recommendation list. The types of funding sources will also be covered.

  3. Putting It All Together: Justification, Documentation and Delivery

    3. Putting It All Together: Justification, Documentation and Delivery

    This chapter focuses on creating the evidence-based documentation to support the recommendations generated from the evaluation, supporting the fitting and dispensing of prescribed mobility system and family training, and reassessing the effectiveness of the equipment.