Around town: The 32nd International Seating Symposium—Imagine the Possibilities

Around town: The 32nd International Seating Symposium—Imagine the Possibilities

CC BY-SA 2.0 from Flickr user Marcel Oosterwijk


It’s something that most of take for granted, and we’ve even covered the basics here on the blog. As writers, we benefit from an ergonomic set-up that doesn’t lead to stresses and strains on the job. We’ve even taken a look at standing desks and other tricks to stall the sedentary creep that goes with the writerly way of life.

As I said, we take sitting for granted, but for some there is only sitting. There is no getting up: mobility is the chair.

Back in 1982, the Vancouver Seating Special Interest group started planning a conference that would bring experts and practitioners together to learn more about seating and mobility for people with disabilities. This planning eventually established the International Seating Symposium, which brings researchers, clinicians and industry representatives together to develop excellence in seating the disabled.

I found out that there is a lot to learn about seating people. From scrolling through the conference program, I found workshops and presentations on equipment maintenance, positioning aids, automation, accessories that help with balance and prevent injury, and research into making sitting safer on transit. I learned that correct positioning and set-up helps reduce pain, and that balance is a big confidence booster for users. I didn’t realize that pressure is as much of a problem for wheelchair users as it is for patients confined to bed.

And smart wheelchairs? Apparently, yes—they’re coming soon!

PS: You are invited!

If you use mobility aids or care for or know someone who does, you may want to take advantage of free entry to the exhibit area on Tuesday, March 1. No registration is required to view the exhibits; check this flyer for more details.

The 32nd International Seating Symposium: Imagine the Possibilities
March 1–4, 2016
The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, BC

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