Canberra Education Program

Wednesday 24th November

  ROOM 1


NDIS Presentation Dr Lloyd Walker – Director, Assistive Technology Markets, Provider & Market Development Division, National Disability Insurance Agency

This session will give participants an overview of strategic reforms being progressed
by the NDIA in relation to assistive technology (AT). In particular it will highlight the
AT Action Plan that is being delivered to support better outcomes for participants as
they use their NDIS plans.




Segmental Asssement and Truck Control (SATCo) – Robert Norman and Amy Bjornson, Sunrise Medical

This seminar is focused on the application of a treatment approach called “Segmental Assessment of Trunk Control”, (SATCo) in the Paediatric Population. Many of our treatment paradigms in therapy and the application of Assistive Technology are based on facilitating proximal stability for distal function. SATCo is an alternative treatment approach that is based on targeted training to gain control of trunk posture. Therapist’s hands or therapy supports are placed on the child’s trunk directly beneath the segment where control is found to be difficult in the child. This support is gradually lowered as control is gained. Attendees will learn about SATCo and the underlying research that was led to its development, this will be discussed specific to the selection and set-up in standing frames and a therapy bench. Additionally, the SATCo can also be used as an outcome tool for justifying the clinical effectiveness in sitting and standing therapy.




Changes to the regulation of assistive technology – Rebecca Bateson, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

An update from the TGA on the latest regulatory changes impacting the assistive technology sector including:

  • An overview of the personalised medical devices framework that commenced on 25 February, including its impact on the regulation of custom-made medical devices; and
  • Information about the proposed exclusion of assistive technology devices under changes to the Therapeutic Goods (Excluded Goods) Determination 2018.




Providing safe and quality services and steps to improve your practice Melissa Moeaki, NDIS Quality and Safeguard Commission

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission will provide information on the role of and function of the NDIS Commission, an overview of the Positive Behaviour Support Capability Framework and share updates on recent changes and education resources to help improve your practice.




An overview of the standards, products and practices that promote safe restraint options for Australian children with disability and medical conditions travelling in motor vehicles – Helen Lindner and Emma Clarkson, MACA

Australian research shows that that 61% of allied health professionals do not have access to AS/NZS 4370 – the standard for the transport of children with disability and medical conditions, and 30% are unaware it existed. This presentation will outline this and other standards that promote the safe transportation of children with disability in motor vehicles. It will also provide an overview of the important work Mobility and Accessibility for Children in Australia (MACA) is doing to address the policy, research, product and practice gaps in this area, including a product safety assessment program (supported by the TAC) and national website.




Wheelchair Vehicle Transport and Injury PreventionAmin Akbarian, Mobility Engineering

From our experience in the mobility vehicle transport industry we have found that the majority of wheelchair occupants being transported are incorrectly secured in the vehicle. We believe this is due to a lack of education and understanding of what happens to the human body in an accident.

In this presentation I will detail the best practise guidelines for wheelchair vehicle transport as well as the Australian standards and regulations that apply to wheelchair transport. Just meeting a standard does not mean that you are safe and especially in the area of wheelchair transport, where the transport requirements are far behind that of able-bodied seating positions in the vehicle, we need to go over and beyond the standard to ensure transport safety inside of the vehicle.

This presentation will also cover the occupant safety restraints necessary to reduce the amount of injuries during vehicle transport.




Diversifying standing opportunities for children: What are the options and how do we clinically reason and provide justification for funding them? Jamie Cockle, Medifab

Prolonged sitting is regarded by many to be an emerging public health concern. Whilst the need for us to regularly move and change position throughout our day is now widely recognised, for those with a physical disability, access to positions such as standing or weight bearing remains a big challenge.

To achieve optimum outcomes, selection of appropriate equipment based on individual needs is necessary. Information gleaned from assessment tools can provide a wealth of information relating to biomechanics and physical evaluation. This data can inform selection of appropriate standing frames in relation to the function of the users well as highlight contraindications to use of particular devices on an individual basis.

This presentation provides an introduction to the different styles of standing/weightbearing that can be supported through equipment provision. The presenter will draw on case studies and clinical experience to explore these options and how one can promote optimum outcomes.


*Details subject to change

Wednesday 27th October

  ROOM 2


Supporting function through Power Seat Functions – Tracee-lee Maginnity, Permobil

Therapists prescribing powered mobility options are aware of the main power seat functions available on the market. Whilst each powerseat function has different benefits it is often the integration of these features working together that provide the required support for increasing functional capacity. During the trial process we need to be able to articulate and critique the AT to ensure it will meet the end users functional goals. This session will look at the considerations of various powerseat functions for both functional use and postural support and discuss how we can demonstrate the clinical justification and evidence necessary for best outcomes.




Aquatic Therapy & Transfer Tips for CaregiversCraig Slattery, Para Mobility

Having appropriate, safe, dignified access to a Pool ensures using correct equipment use:

  • Manual handling safety for Participant and Carer
  • Access to water for personal, social and community participation
  • Provides opportunities for independence, water therapy and exercise




Power or Manual Wheelchair? How do we decide what is best for our client? Rachel Fabiniak, Permobil

Power wheelchairs and manual wheelchairs both have their place within the industry. For some of our clients it can be an easy choice of which option might be best, but for others this decision can feel overwhelming. This presentation will focus on how to gather the information in the assessment to help guide this decision. We will look at the differences between power and manual wheelchairs and what questions are needed to be asked to achieve the best outcome for your client.




Bariatric Seating and Mobility Considerations – Nick Reginato, ILS Rehab

This session will look at the different bariatric body shapes and how these can influence seating and mobility prescription. The associated risks to this population will be outlined, and the importance of utilising a specialised seating assessment tool to address these issues.

We will explore what management techniques can be used to reduce the risk to this population through appropriate wheelchair and seating prescription, as well as review relevant assistive technological advancements aimed at facilitating independent mobility and community participation.




Does my client have a pressure injury or could it be something else? Rachel Fabiniak, Permobil

Stop guessing!

When it comes to determining if your client has a pressure injury or something else, arm yourself with knowledge! In this session we will be covering two classification tools that are evidence based and best practice recommendations. Pressure Injury Classification and GHENT Global IAD Categorisation Tool, abbreviated to GLOBIAD. Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (IAD) is often confused with a pressure injury stage 1 or 2, which greatly impacts treatment choice and outcome for the individual.

The aim for this presentation is to provide you with key indicators of IAD and PI staging with the hope you can implement in your work environment.




Using your head for success – ways in which head movements are the input accesses to functional mobility – Tracee-lee Maginnity, Permobil

When impairment impacts upper limb function we need to identify appropriate and reloiable input methods to facilitate access to independent mobiity. How do we then identify potential access method to mobility and seating? What do we need to consider when identifying? In taking a truly client centred approach, the capacity and relability of active movement, the individuals lived experience, their goals and types of input methods all need to be part of the decision making process.

This presentation looks at different alternative drive options and considerations, identification of active movements and a look at some of the potenial drive set ups that facilitate acess via head movements.


Thursday 25th November

  ROOM 1


Moving with Intent – What Power Tilt and Recline Can Do! Silvia Gonzalez & Lois Brown, ILS Rehab

We may be more familiar with the application of Power Tilt for our clients, but what about power recline? How do the two interact and what does this mean for posture and function?
As human beings we were made to move, and this applies as much to sitting as it does to standing and mobilising. Power seat actuators allow us to do just that. There is strong evidence in support of the combination of Power Tilt and Power Recline in helping to manage an individual’s medical needs such as pressure care, fatigue and pain. However, we often forget about the vast functional improvements these features can provide for an individual. This presentation explores the evidence, clinical considerations, interactions and applications of power seat functions for enhancing the medical and functional needs for individuals.




Prescribing Manual Wheelchairs for Function and Independence – Overcoming static sitting postures – Lauren Hunter, Linds Rehabilitation Equipment

Years of research has highlighted the sedentary complications that come to individuals with prolonged wheelchair use, including pressure area development and reduced tolerance to being in the wheelchair due to pain and postural abnormalities. The ability to change the end users position in a manual wheelchair using tilt in space technology to improve posture (20degree tilt) and off load pressure (45degree tilt) is not a new concept; however, therapists now have a range of model options available on the market to select the product for prescription based on the features and end user benefits; instead of defaulting to the familiar. Dynamic wheelchair seating and hardware options have taken on many forms in recent years, giving end users endless opportunities for movement within their manual wheelchairs. Dynamic wheelchair components are designed to absorb and diffuse force, protecting both the end user and the wheelchair seat and frame from damage. Join us to learn more about dynamic wheelchair prescription for function and independence.




OT’s Exploring Assistive Technology – Assessment, Prescription, Process and Funding Presented by experienced ACT Occupational Therapists including Lucy Coventry, Better Rehab and Kate Black, TADACT

The session will feature an overview from panellists on the critical role of occupational therapists in facilitating Assistive Technology solutions to achieve client centred goals. The panel will discuss the equipment assessment and prescription process including key factors for consideration. The prescribing of Assistive Technology within funding and scheme approvals processes and some of the challenges this presents will also be discussed.  A facilitated panel discussion focused on occupational therapy practice in Assistive Technology will conclude this session.



Get me out of here, Manual Wheelchair add on Devices – Mitchell Stone, Sunrise Medical

This highly engaging workshop will describe the diverse equipment available to manual wheelchair users to get out in the community. We’ll also discover what add on devices make it possible to visit places that would otherwise be too difficult to access. The workshop will cover options that can be attached to a user’s manual wheelchair, what to look out for when scripting these products and restrictions that may apply to both the wheelchair and add on devices. Benefits of the use of power add on devices will be covered as well as how it can help users interact in the community; getting them out and about without the fear of being “stuck”.

Products available on the market, such as Smart Drive, Smoov, Freewheel, Front Wheel, Batec, F55, Street Jet, Claxon, Tri-Ride, Extender, I-Express, E-fix, E-motion will be reviewed including their and unique applications and benefits.




Paediatric Powered Mobility: Earlier Intervention – Rachel Fabiniak, Permobil

Motor skills develop rapidly during a child’s first three years of life, providing a means for exploration and socialisation necessary for development. For children with neuromuscular or musculoskeletal impairments, power mobility devices may be necessary for independence within their environment. Research shows that functional, independent mobility in children with disabilities can help to improve cognitive and perceptual skills, reduce learned helplessness, increase confidence, and facilitate participation with peers in everyday activities. This lecture will discuss the current evidence for early powered mobility as well as what medical and commercial products are available for use with this population.


*Details subject to change

Thursday 28th October

  ROOM 2


Reducing Repetitive Strain Injuries and Pain Syndromes of Wheelchair Users Through Optimal MWC Configuration and Posture Promotion. Amy Bjornson, Sunrise Medical

Upper limb and cervical back pain are daily occurrences with the majority full time wheelchair users. It’s perceived as a normal consequence, but should it be considered unavoidable? This session will look at the etiology of this pain syndrome and discuss various strategies to reduce the incidence and severity: including proper postural support, wheelchair configuration and assistive add on devices.




Collapse or support: The impact of materials in providing best outcomes for seating for wheelchair users. Tracee-lee Maginnity, Permobil

Seating requires a multidimensional approach. Once you have determined the points of control and support required within a seating system its time to identify potential options to trial. Can you critically analyse the design and materials used within the seating to identify the best potential outcomes? Do you understand the different materials used in manufacturing seating and how they will impact the overall solution? Understanding the way seating materials work and matching them to a users goals and specific postural needs plays an important part in determining the most appropriate solution to trial. How can we provide appropriate support or off loading with materials that are by nature often encouraging immersion and or envelopment. What kinds of testing is done to seating to determine that it meets ISO requirements? Understanding of seating from a holistic perspective and being able to articulate the concepts, enables us to provide the information end users need to make informed choices around their AT needs. Attendees will be encouraged to use critical analysis as part of the clinical reasoning process whilst maintaining a client centred approach.




The role of occupational therapy driving instructors and orientation mobility specialists in the bioptic driving framework – Belinda O’Connor, Bioptic Drivers Australia (BDA) & Chuck Huss, COMS

Bioptic driving in Australia is building momentum as more people with central vision loss become aware of the technology. Bioptic driving has a long history of practice and research internationally and practice in Australia. This presentation will present the bioptic driving framework for the Australian context with a focus on the role of occupational therapist driving instructors and orientation and mobility practitioner support. The presentation will draw from success frameworks from the USA, Canada and The Netherlands and there may be opportunity for room participants to ask questions from an international practicing expert. BDA hopes the presentation will inspire Australian practitioners to consider learning more about teaching bioptic driving.




A Systematic Approach to Night-time Positioning – Joana Santiago, Medifab

Poor postural care can have severe and life-threatening complications for people who have a limited ability to change position. Wrong postures combined with the force of gravity impact the body shape negatively and can be linked with the development of postural deviations.

There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that night-time positioning is beneficial to people with mobility impairment, particularly when considered as part of a 24-hour postural management programme.

Occupational therapists have a distinct role in the assessment and provision of night-time positioning equipment. One can argue that a successful intervention is highly dependent on a careful, systematic assessment process. With this session we will support clinicians with their clinical reasoning by highlighting crucial steps and considerations to reference throughout the process. A practical and useful tool will be provided to assist with data collection.




Wheelchair and Seating Assessments. Tedious and Time Consuming or Worth the Investment in Time? Amy Bjornson, Sunrise Medical

Juggling approved hours, report writing and limited resources including equipment, assistance and time in the community can be difficult. Therapists often feel that they are unable to, or do not have the resources to complete a seating and wheelchair assessment for their clients prior to an equipment trial.

In this session, we will review the key components to an assessment, barriers which make these assessments difficult in the community – and ways to overcome them. Finally, we will discuss the benefits of using the wider community to develop this area of practice.

After this session, attendees will feel confident in choosing which aspects of an assessment to prioritise and understand the positive impact that a good assessment will have on a successful trial, script and report writing