Keeping Things Aligned and Preventing Breakage – the Tone Deflector

Kylie is a young adult who has cerebral palsy. She has used a power wheelchair and speech generating device from a very young age. She loves the theatre!

Kylie has high muscle tone and has a history of breaking items on her manual and power wheelchairs. One item that was chronically out of alignment was her head support. Kylie uses a Stealth Products i2i head support and, while this meets her postural needs, her extreme tone would result in movement of the mounting hardware.

As a result, her Mom was constantly adjusting the hardware, which was subsequently leading to wear and tear of the bolts. Eventually these would become stripped and require replacement. About once a year, Kylie would actually break the head support mounting hardware which then had to be replaced.

We ordered a Stealth Products Tone Deflector to mount between the i2i head support pad and the mounting hardware. This dynamic component is about the size of a hockey puck and is designed to absorb client forces exerted against the head pad. The Tone Deflector moves approximately 10 degrees in any direction, dependent on client forces. Elastomers within the Tone Deflector absorb forces and use the stored energy to return to a starting position.

Kylie has had the Tone Deflector for a number of years now. Since receiving this component, her i2i head support remains in alignment and she has no longer broken the head support mounting hardware. Her neck is also more comfortable, with decreased spasms and pain.

The Tone Deflector has also worked well in conjunction with other Dynamic Seating components. Due to her increased tone, Kylie eventually received a Seating Dynamics Dynamic Back and Dynamic Footrests. These three dynamic components work together – moving in response to her extensor tone, diffusing force, and returning her to a starting position without loss of alignment with the seating system.

Kylie no longer breaks her back canes or footrest hangers with these dynamic components!

The Tone Deflector has been a successful intervention for Kylie. It moves just enough that forces are diffused. It does not move enough to allow her to move into neck hyperextension, which can lead to increased overall extension, startle, and aspiration. When hyperextended, she also cannot visually regard her environment for driving her power wheelchair or visually regard her speech generating device for communication.

Gabriel Romero demonstrates the Tone Deflector’s movement.

Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS

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