Monthly Archives: June 2022

Positioning and Mobility Clinic Overview

By: Allie Katsiris, PT, DPT

What Does the Mobility Clinic Do?

The Positioning and Mobility Clinic at Easterseals provides a comprehensive evaluation of a child’s adaptive equipment needs. It is a collaborative clinic consisting of a physical therapist (PT) and an assistive technology professional (ATP) from a durable medical equipment vendor. Of course, the child and their family members are also valued members of the team. The two vendors that attend clinics at Easterseals are Numotion and National Seating and Mobility. There are a lot of options for seating and mobility devices available on the market, so the PT and ATP will utilize their knowledge, experience, and expertise to recommend the most appropriate equipment for your child.

The Process

At the initial evaluation, the PT and ATP will complete a comprehensive evaluation of the child including assessment of posture, range of motion, functional mobility skills, home assessment, and child/caregiver goals. Recommended mobility equipment may include: adaptive strollers, manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, or power assist wheelchairs. The clinician will also assess the need for specialized car seats or adaptive bathing equipment.

Following the initial evaluation, the PT will write a letter of medical necessity for the device. This letter will be sent to the child’s physician to be reviewed and signed. The vendor will submit the order and the letter to this insurance company for approval. Once approved, the device is ordered then delivered to the child. The PT and ATP work closely upon delivery to ensure the child is positioned appropriately and that the family understands all features for safe and effective use of the device. We recommended yearly rechecks to ensure that the device continues to properly support the child.

Home and Environmental Factors we Consider

There are many factors that are considered when deciding on a mobility device. In addition to evaluating postural alignment and medical history, the team will ask about your child’s current mobility skills and goals. We will consult with primary therapists as needed to best understand your child’s abilities, functional goals, and endurance level in order to best recommend a mobility device. The team will also ask about your child’s home and school environments. Some considerations include: whether your home has stairs, location of the child’s bedroom/bathroom, and width of doorways.

It is important that the child be able to utilize recommended equipment in all environments to promote his/her best alignment and independence. Another important factor in recommending a mobility device is how the child is transported. Do you drive a compact car or SUV? Do you have an adapted vehicle? Does your child ride the school bus? The answer to these questions will help guide to whether a folding or non-folding option and transit accessories are required. Due to insurance limitations and expectations that mobility equipment will last 5-10 years, it is important that all of these factors, growth, and future needs are considered in order for the equipment to support the child for years to come.

Quick facts about the various types of equipment:

Adaptive Strollers:

  • Provide support for children who have decreased postural control, endurance, or safety in the community.
  • They are typically lighter weight than wheelchairs and fold more easily.
  • There are some limits to the customization of these devices.

Manual wheelchairs:

  • Provide postural support for children who walk with limited endurance or who are unable to walk.
  • A child can push/ move this device independently.
  • There are folding and non-folding options.
  • Can be customized to fit a child’s needs.

Tilt in Space wheelchairs:

  • Provide postural support and can tilt backward for rest breaks or medical needs.
  • Children are dependent on caregivers to propel the device.
  • There are folding and non-folding options; although they tend to be bulkier than manual wheelchairs.
  • Can be customized to fit a child’s needs.

Power wheelchairs:

  • Provide postural support and power control
  • Can be operated by the child.
  • These are unable to fold so the family should consider home and car accessibility.
  • Can be customized to fit a child’s needs.

How to Get Started

At Easterseals DuPage and Fox Valley, we appreciate the importance of providing children with a safe means of mobility. This allows children better access to their communities and increases overall participation with their family and peers. We also recognize that the equipment ordering process can be overwhelming, so we are here to support you and help your child obtain the equipment he/she needs to thrive! Please contact us to schedule an appointment: 630-282-2023 or click here to learn more.