ISS 2017 Program


Pre-Symposium Workshop dot Symposium Day 1 dot Symposium Day 2 dot Symposium Day 3

PC14: Powered Mobility Training for First Time Users

Children are not small adults. Training strategies cannot possibly replicate the strategies used with adults. Children who have cognitive challenges, visual processing problems, complex bodies, who are non-speaking need desperately to be independently mobile, yet are frequently not considered candidates for powered mobility as the standards used for “candidacy” are identical to adult paradigms.
Children cannot be tested for skills as they are developing them, and how to use powered mobility within their environments takes very different knowledge and teaching strategies to support their quest for mastery.

The chair's physical configuration must be different. The programming must be different, and frequently altered as experiences are supported. The seating must also be different, and very different than the seating most children are utilizing for being fed or for safe passive transport to school programs.

Driving skills are also completely different than what is expected for adults, and judgement cannot be “judged” as judgement in children does not develop until extensive experience has been attained.

These sound like simple principles, yet all of them are compromised and many children do not become adequately independent or never receive a powered chair as they don't “pass the test” for candidacy.

This session will share strategies in all these areas that work. Clinical experiences have been accrued over time, so that real standards of practice can be shared. Multiple case studies will be shared as well as actual tracking forms and training strategies which can be used.

All powered chairs will be discussed, as each manufacturer's electronics function a bit differently from each other's.

How to work with very young children, and also older children who have “failed” in the past, or not been considered candidates for power in the past will be shared. This course is challenging and is not for beginners.

This session is supported by a company with reported interest in the sale of Assistive Technology products. The content has been reviewed by ISS personnel and determined to be appropriate for continuing education purposes.


Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this session, attendees will be able to;



Karen M Kangas, OTR/L
Private Practice
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
United States

An occupational therapist practicing for 43 years, an AT specialist for 30 years, an adjunct faculty member, Misericordia University for Seating in Pediatric Practice, in private practice specializing in individuals with complex bodies throughout the state of PA, for seating, mobility and access to AT (including AAC devices, computer access, powered mobility and environmental control), and a clinical educator, teaching workshops throughout the United States and other countries..

Lisa Rotelli, AS.Sc
Adaptive Switch Labs, Inc
Spicewood, TX
United States

Lisa is the Director and Education Coordinator of Adaptive Switch Labs, Inc. Lisa trained in physical therapy in rehabilitation. She became a manufacturer's representative in powered mobility and was one of the first women in the industry. For over 20 years, she has been a key developer, inventor, and manufacturer at ASL for alternative access to assistive technology. She teaches therapists, suppliers, and manufacturers on product use, programming of powered chairs and integration of systems.



    1. O'Brien, J., & Lewin, J. E. (2008). Translating Motor Control and Motor Learning Theory into Occupational Therapy Practice for Children and Young Adults, Part One (Continuing Education Article). OT Practice, 13(21), 1-7.
    2. O'Brien, J., & Lewin, J. E. (2009). Translating Motor Control and Motor Learning Theory into Occupational Therapy Practice for Children and Young Adults, Part Two (Continuing Education Article). OT Practice, 14(1), 1-7.
    3. Hansen, L. (2008). Evidence and Outcomes of Powered Mobility Intervention with Young Children. Casemakers Journal, 4(1), 1-5.
    4. Nilsson, L., Durken, J. (2014). Assessment of Learning Powered Mobility Use-Applying Grounded Theory to Occupational Performance. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 51(6), 963-974.
    5. Jones, M., McEwen, Henson (2003). Use of Power Mobility for a Young Child with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Journal of American Physical Therapy 83(3), 253-262.
    6. Ragonesi, Chen, Agrawal & Galloway (2010). Powered Mobilitiy and Socialization in Pre-school; A Case Study of a Child with Cerebral Palsy. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 22(3), 322-329.
    7. Wiatt, Darrah, Cook & Hollis (2003). Evaluation of Powered Mobility Use in Home and Community Environments. Physical, Occupational Therapy, Pediatrics, 23(2), 59-75.
    8. Deitz, Sunth & White (2002). Powered Mobility and Preschoolers with Complex Developmental Delays. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56(1), 86-96.

Pre-Symposium Workshop dot Symposium Day 1 dot Symposium Day 2 dot Symposium Day 3


Updated | 11.08.2016      Facebook logo  Twitter
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