Compass Chair



Gilbert Thomson, PT and Product Designer
I'm Gilbert Thompson, physical therapist and designer here at Rifton Equipment. Over the past few years, we've had many requests for a simple chair for mildly involved students, for students with autism spectrum disorder, and we decided to redesign the Compass Chair.

Carmen Melcher, PT
I'm Carmen Melcher and I'm the physical therapist here at Anderson Center for Autism. We're a residential school for individuals with autism and from a therapeutic point of view they present both with neuromuscular challenges and sensory integrative challenges. Many of our individuals, because of sensory processing issues have difficulties with seating solutions that are very restrictive. The Compass Chair provides just enough assistance for posture without being too restrictive.

Gilbert Thomson
We felt it was important that the new compass chair should blend in with typical classroom furniture.

We didn't want it to look like a special chair. The seat and back are contoured and there is subtle lateral

thigh support which together with the armrests gives physical support and also a sensory boundary to allow for a relaxed comfortable sitting position.

Kaela Banashefski, OT
One of the most important factors as an occupational therapist is the student's ability to learn and the access to the learning environment and one of the most important aspects of that is their ability to remain seated but also their access to their distal extremities, so if they have poor seating and poor posture their arms are not as available to learn.

Carmen Melcher
Posture really is the basis – the framework for how individuals use their eyes, their mouth and their hands.

Mary Lewis, Teacher
One of my students that's currently utilizing the Compass Chair – she has difficulty with her posture so the Rifton Compass Chair really helped her keep her head up because she tends to have her head down like this, so it really helps her with her hands up and her head up so that way she was able to focus on the task at hand better.

Kaela Banashefski
With the Rifton Chair we were able to adjust the height of and therefore now she has a stable base which then allows her to use her hands and stabilize her core more so now she's more engaged at the desk.

Asrrah Ahmed, Teacher’s Aide
I've noticed that it's helped her a lot with her posture and with leaning over onto staff. She's able to focus more during lessons, because she's not focused on leaning onto staff since she has the support now on both sides of her.

Kaela Banashefski
I've had to constantly prompt her to sit upright. Now she's able to remain upright independently because of the armrest.

Carmen Melcher
We have noticed some nice improvements not just when she's sitting in class attending to the lesson, but also in transitioning through the hallways we're noticing better head position for her.

Gilbert Thomson
We've also built in a bit of height adjustability and seat tilt adjustability to enable the best functional sitting position for each user.

Kaela Banashefski
One of the nicest aspects that I found from the Rifton Compass Chair is the adjustability. In this particular student has some very challenging neuromuscular difficulties, so having the support of where the chair could be reclined and so therefore he has the support of the backrest but also the armrests allowing him to remain seated which overall increased his quality of life, as he's able to be more independent within the classroom setting.

The Compass Chair is a very stable chair and has a wide base of support and the stability can be enhanced by adding the optional stability feet to the rear legs. We've also engineered the Compass Chair for durability because we know this is a group of users that may have repetitive movements.

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