Friday, May 27, 2011

Grid Wheelchair Seat Back: Positioning for Kyphotic Special Needs Kids with Low Trunk Tone

What is a Grid Seat Back for a Wheelchair?

A grid seat back is a seat back for a wheelchair made of a grid of 2"x 2"x 2" squares of Sun memory foam that can be altered to accommodate for trunk deformities and to assist weight distribution on the seat back to prevent skin breakdown.
Grid wheelchair back without cover.  Foam was removed on sides to allow for laterals to be adjusted.

Why a Grid Seat Back for a Wheelchair?

For kids who are going to grow and have severe physical involvement a grid back system is an alternative to a custom molded system like an OBSS or pindot.  Grid backs allows for relatively easy modifications.  Changes to seat back can be done easily if it needs to altered as is often the case with growing kids.

Sun Foam of grid seat back-getting ready to configure for child with low trunk tone and flexible kyphosis.

 Who makes Grid backs?
  • Freedom Designs
  • AEL

Who is the Grid Back System good for?

Grid system works well to accommodate kyphosis but for someone with scoliosis the grid back is more difficult to alter appropriately.  The grid system is most successful with younger kids with low trunk tone and no bracing especially if bracing or Harrington rods may be options in the future.
Forward view of a grid seat back altered for low tone, kyphotic child.

For people with scoliosis issues a custom molded system is more appropriate.
Side view of a grid seat back after being altered for kyphotic child.

Why is a custom molded system more appropriate for kids with scoliosis?

Sun foam with velcro.
A grid back is okay for someone with scoliosis, but much more difficult to configure.  Someone with scoliosis needs more aggressive positioning.  Grid back seating systems are designed more for accommodation than correction.

How is the grid seat back made?

The grid wheelchair back is a plywood base with velcro mounted to the plywood.  The grid is made of   2"x 2"x2" sun foam squares.  Each sun foam square has velcro to allow for proper attachment to the velcro on the plywood back.  Then of course there is a removable cover to allow for cleaning and alterations.

What is sun foam?

Ken Broz, the best ATP in West Michigan
Sun made foam is basic memory foam used in wheelchair seating systems.

How do you alter a grid wheelchair back?

Call an Assistive Technology Practioner (ATP) trained in seating and positioning, like Ken Broz from Wright & Flippis.

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