Wheelchair Seating and Secondary Supports: Are We Promoting Function or Tying the Client Down?

Length: 2 Hours

All wheelchair seating systems have some sort of seat and back surface. We may add some lateral supports, as well, such as lateral trunk supports. But what about those secondary supports? Supports such as pelvic belts, anterior trunk supports, and ankle straps are often seen as limiting movement and function –and sometimes even labeled as a restraint. This course will explore secondary supports and appropriate clinical applications. We will also discuss what to do when secondary supports are required, and team members have restraint concerns. Case studies will be included.


  1. The participant will be able to define secondary supports as a part of a wheelchair seating system.
  2. The participant will be able to list 3 secondary supports and clinical indicators for each.
  3. The participant will be able to list 3 secondary supports which can be misconstrued as a restraint and why.
  4. The participant will be able to describe current restraint policy requirements.
  5. The participant will be able to describe how to prescribe necessary secondary supports within settings using restraint policies.

Instructional Level: Intermediate

Credits: 2.0 CCU / 0.2CEU
TPTA approved
TOTA approved


Michelle Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Michelle is an occupational therapist with 30 years of experience and has been in private practice, Access to Independence, for over 10 years. She is a well-respected lecturer, both nationally and internationally and has authored numerous texts, chapters, and articles. She is the co-editor of Seating and Wheeled Mobility: a clinical resource guide, editor of Fundamentals in Assistive Technology, 4thed., NRRTS Continuing Education Curriculum Coordinator and Clinical Editor of Directions magazine. Michelle is on the teaching faculty of RESNA. Michelle is a member of the Clinician Task Force. Michelle is a certified ATP, certified SMS and is a Senior Disability Analyst of the ABDA.

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