What About the Trunk?


Date: 1/20/21

Speakers: Lindsay Alford, BSc. OT & Cheryl Hon, B. A, M. OT

ATP Prep Content, Medical Terminology, Intermediate Level



The identification, assessment and management of spinal deformities when prescribing a seating system can be extremely complex. Scoliosis, lordosis, kyphosis, and rotation of the spine are not only difficult to assess and measure but their impact on a client’s function can be tremendous. Too much postural intervention can severely restrict function or cause pain and/or skin breakdown, while too little can also cause pain, worsening deformity and even compromise circulatory, nervous system and organ system functioning. Also, due to issues such as clinical time constraints, the trunk often takes a back seat during the assessment phase as so much time is allocated to assessing the pelvis and hips. The purpose of this webinar is to illustrate how to assess the spine during the mat assessment for the purpose of equipment prescription, and to provide strategies for intervention.

Learning Outcomes:

The participant will be able to identify the issues that arise when providing postural control at the level of the spine/trunk on functional performance.

The participant will be able to review trunk and spinal deformities and describe strategies on how to appropriately assess the spine during the mat assessment.

The participant will be able to name 3-5 equipment related strategies that can be used to control the trunk without compromising function.

Lindsay Alford, and Cheryl Hon, are both Occupational Therapists working in British Columbia, Canada. While Cheryl began her practice in community based pediatrics and Lindsay began her practice in spinal cord injury, their practice now consists of primarily specialized wheelchair seating and mobility prescription for adults with a range of disabilities in the community and clinic setting. Both have presented numerous times on the topic of wheelchair seating and positioning and pressure injury prevention and management.