Using the MOVE™ Program and Active Seating for Great Gains

Deborah Corradi-Scalise, PT, DPT, MA | February 2019
Justin walking down a school hall in a Rifton Pacer gait trainer

Justin attends the Children’s Learning Center in Roosevelt, New York, on Long Island. He is now 19 years old, and due to the implementation of the MOVE™ Program Justin has gained significant mobility skills in the past two years.

Prior to MOVE™, Justin typically sat in his classroom chair with both feet up on the chair with his head down between his legs. He was unmotivated to move out of this position. We trialed many seating devices with Justin, but each time he managed to return to his preferred seating position or he would just wiggle down and forward in his chair so that his seat belt was almost around his chest.

To move from sitting to standing, Justin required maximal assist of one person as he was learning to perform a stand pivot transfer. He could take steps with the use of a gait trainer, with all supports, for about 700 feet, inconsistently and with moderate cues to remain upright and maximal assist for steering and turning corners.

Justin’s physical therapist saw the Rifton Activity Chair and thought that the tilt forward mechanism, coupled with the hi/lo base and the pelvic harness, was just what Justin needed to help him with upright posture and set him up for successful independent transfers from sit to stand. She was right! The components of the Rifton Activity Chair allowed Justin to be tilted forward and to secure his pelvis upright and therefore allow his feet to be on the floor. This pre-positioning allowed the optimal set up for a sit-to-stand transfer, which he was then able to practice throughout his school day.

Additionally, with his head up, Justin was able to focus on his learning. As Justin practiced his sit-to-stand transfers, he was also encouraged to take steps for functional walking within the classroom to the sink, or bathroom or to visit with a friend. By the end of the school year, Justin was able to transition sit-to-stand independently and then walk with two hands held within his classroom, giving him both greater independence in school and reportedly in his home environment as well.

Once Justin became motivated to walk for function, he was encouraged to walk for endurance by increasing his walking distance so that he could negotiate his school environment outside his classroom. His motivation was to walk with his classmates to his gym, art, and music specials. Again, with lots of practice each day Justin progressed from walking with full supports to being able to walk with no additional supports on the gait trainer.

Justin is now able to walk using the most basic gait trainer throughout the entire school building with adult supervision. He is motivated to walk and keep up with his peers! He can also walk up to 1000 feet with two hands held.

Justin also now can sit in a typical classroom chair without added supports! This increased mobility and improved upright postural control has changed Justin’s life and is a reflection of the things that are possible when using the MOVE™ Program.

If you are new to MOVE™, watch this half hour introductory webinar.

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