Seminar Programme

Tuesday 6 July

  ROOM 1
9.00 – 9.45

Mobility beyond 65 – maintaining mobility and independence for older adults – Tracee-lee Maginnity – Permobil Australia

As we age we may experience a range of impairments related to health issues. Cognitive changes, physical changes and co-morbidities can impact mobility and increase functional limitations. Accessing AT for the aging population is often met with funding limitations especially for those in residential care facilities. Assessment and prescription for this population should however still focus on the individuals needs and goals.
Best practice applications of manual wheelchairs; power assist technology; power wheelchair and power seat functions to promote safety, mobility and independence will be discussed. Wheelchair skills training techniques to ensure the client’s understanding of the equipment and to promote effective and safe use of the device will be reviewed.
Clinical evidence and case examples will demonstrate best practice for seating and mobility solutions for this population. Various client presentations and equipment choices will be discussed, highlighting the process leading to equipment recommendation, justification, and training by the team.


Inaugural speech by Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister Social Development and Employment, ACC, Arts, Culture and Heritage and Disability Issues (Virtually)

10.30 – 11.15

The Impact of MWC Propulsion: From the Paediatric to Adult Shoulder – Rachel Fabiniak – Permobil Australia

The shoulder was designed for mobility but not the kinematic and repetitive pattern that is required during MWC propulsion. There is extensive research on the adult manual wheelchair propeller, their propulsion techniques, their risk and onset of shoulder pain, and guidelines for prescribing manual wheelchairs, but can we utilise this same evidence for paediatric manual wheelchair users?
This presentation will begin with a look at the differences along the age continuum with the paediatric versus adult shoulders as it applies to the changes of the shoulder anatomically and its functional and biomechanical impact. We will then evaluate paediatric shoulder considerations during manual wheelchair propulsion looking at the current research, gaps in the current research, and how this research applies to our clinical practice. Discussion on areas for best clinical practice will include propulsion training, utilisation of functional outcomes measures, manual wheelchair configuration, and assessment of appropriateness along the age continuum.

11.30 – 12.15

Fit for Purpose: Assessment & measurement – considerations for people requiring bariatric wheelchair & seating support – Debbie Wilson – Seating To Go

The majority of literature around bariatrics and wheelchair use is around people who are obese and have decreased mobility as a result. We will meet in our practice many people with disabilities who also require bariatric equipment due to their size and weight and have the added complications of their disability or injury related needs. This session will look at the different body shapes associated with obesity and how specific measurements then translate to equipment solutions for mobility and function.

12.15 – 1.15 Lunch
1.15 – 2.45

Applying Standardised Wheelchair Measures to the Seating and Mobility Process – Lois Brown – ILS Rehab

This course aims to improve the quality and efficiency of the wheelchair service delivery process through the accurate use and application of standardized linear and angular measures of the body, seating system and wheelchair frame. Implementation of a common vocabulary of terms and measures will reduce errors, improve outcomes, and promote consistency of practice and communication between the therapist and the equipment supplier/manufacturer. Using the structure of the wheelchair service delivery process, from assessment to product preparation to delivery and follow-up, we will discuss when and why these measurements are taken, and how to translate them from the body measures to seating system, and to the wheelchair frame.

3.15 – 4.00

Complex Seating Case Examples and Anecdotes from around the World! – Bruce Mascull – Spex Seating

Faced with demanding caregivers of a client with advanced scoliosis and lacking head positioning… a very complex client with an almost-impossible goal to achieve a maintained posture for oral feeding… a devasted family emotionally distraught over their son’s wheelchair seating re-quirements being given up by the wheelchair seating service…

Join Bruce on an exhilarating expedition to discover the postures, the challenges, the solutions and the inspirational personalities and stories that have motivated us. This presentation will open your eyes and heart to wheelchair positioning outcomes around the world that you may never have imagined possible.

Discover a diverse range of individual case examples showing how positioning has been maintained and benefitted. Learn about unique experiences and outcomes achieved with asymmetric cases.

You will expand your seating and positioning knowledge and understand some of the methods that will make it easy for you when you are faced with a similar challenge!


  ROOM 2
9.00 – 9.45

Power Standing for Young People – Where Are We At? – Rachel Maher – Permobil NZ

Recent advances in technology have seen a large number of power stand up wheelchairs introduced to the New Zealand market, and have many of us contemplating their potential use, particularly for school aged students. Unfortunately use of power stand up chairs is limited in New Zealand due to their high upfront cost, where sound clinical rationale is required to justify their cost effectiveness.

In this presentation we will look at what we currently know about power standing for young people, looking at available research and feedback from therapists and end users.
Lastly will review funding for power stand up wheelchairs for young people in New Zealand, discussing potential clinical rationale and goal setting to provide optimal information for funding requests.

10.00 Opening in Foyer – Inauguration by Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Minister Social Development and Employment, ACC, Arts, Culture and Heritage and Disability Issues
10.30 – 11.15

Importance of Postural Care and Pressure Relief in Shower Commodes – Jacqui Abel – Specialist Rehab Services

Clients with postural asymmetries are difficult to seat on traditionally flat commode seats. They commonly use compensatory and/or destructive postures to remain stable when seated for extended periods as simplistically constructed shower commodes offer little to no positioning support. Clients often hook arms around push handles, sink into the large seat apertures or use belts or harnesses for stability. In the wheelchair, clients have the option of using a contoured cushion or backrest to accommodate for postural asymmetries i.e. pelvic and spinal asymmetries, limitations in hip range of motion, etc. Commode seats cannot be significantly contoured as an aperture is needed for bowel cares and hygiene needs therefore therapists need to look towards providing stability in sitting using external supports or with seat functions.

During the presentation we will consider the postural assessment findings and equipment prescription parameters to avoid destructive postures and provide stability when selecting shower commodes.

11.30 – 12.15

Enabling Good Lives – an update and where to from here – Julie Hook – Ministry of Health and a team from Enabling Good Lives

Enabling Good Lives (EGL) is a new approach to supporting disabled people that offers greater choice and control over the support they receive, so that they can plan for the lives they want.

Through Enabling Good Lives, disabled people and their whanau can choose to increase the choice and control they have in their lives and supports.

Enabling Good Lives is a partnership between the disability sector and government agencies aimed at long term transformation of how disabled people and families are supported to live everyday lives.

12.15 – 1.15 Lunch
1.15 – 2.00

Be Motiviated: ‘Do Not Let What You Cannot Do, Stop You From Doing What You Can!’ – My Story – Ian Walker 

I have always been an active person and was a keen marathon runner having completed 9 marathons with a best time of 2:57:31.
Fate, however, stepped in when in 2006 I cycled into the back of a truck and trailer unit resulting in the fracture dislocation of my T3 and T4 vertebrae, sustaining a spinal cord injury at T3/4 and being diagnosed an upper thoracic paraplegic incomplete meaning I now use a wheelchair for accessibility. The mission became finding an activity to maintain a good level of fitness and to satisfy the masochist in me, for it to have an endurance portion to it also. The search led me to and has bred in me a passion for long distance hand cycling with marathons a particular enjoyment with me so far having completed:

Life, as it often can, threw me a huge curveball on 09 January 2019 when while I was out training on my handcycle for the Buller Marathon of that year I was run over from behind by a 4WD vehicle.

I was given a 1% chance of survival by attending paramedics when placed in the ambulance due to blood loss and the severity of my injuries. I was immediately placed in an induced coma for 12 days whilst I underwent numerous surgeries to repair the fractures I had sustained.

As someone with a beat up and broken 56 year old body I know I’m unlikely to win many events but what I can guarantee is that I’ll train hard and give every event my best bloody shot! I also stress that everyone can and should challenge themselves, never dismiss things as being too difficult, or unrealistic at (almost), any age as my mission statement attests: ‘do not let what you cannot do, stop you from doing what you can!’

3.15 – 4.00

Understanding the use of belts, harnesses for postural support in seating – Henry Bertulfo – Medifab

The importance of achieving postural alignment and stability with wheelchair users cannot be overstated. This directly impacts their comfort and function, which in turn enables them to optimise engagement in activities of daily living. A good sitting posture is a result of balancing the body in relation to gravity. To achieve this, a well configured and appropriate wheelchair and seating is a must.

Effective seating starts by providing a solid base of support to promote pelvic and trunk stability, which is accomplished by stabilizing the pelvis on a firm surface with pressure distributed throughout the buttocks and the full length of each thigh, and the trunk is supported on the back or sides to maintain alignment of head and spine, and a level shoulder. Feet are supported, facilitating weight bearing on both sides as much as possible.

While this presentation will focus on the use of anterior trunk, pelvic, and foot support, it is important to consider this in the context of the whole seating system, understanding the critical role each of this seating components plays to achieve several broad goals of seating: (1) enhancing posture, comfort, physiological maintenance, and skin protection; (2) preventing injury; (3) accommodating existing deformity; (4) supporting activities of daily living, and engagement in meaningful activities.


Wednesday 7 July


  ROOM 1
9.00 – 10.00

Dating Life in a Wheelchair – Juliana Carvalho – Changemaker

Sexuality and disability is taboo raised to square. Juliana uses humour to explore the subject everyone is curious about but not many are willing to ask or talk about. She shares her journey of sexual rediscovery after becoming paraplegic and losing the movement and sensation of 3/4 of her body.  Be prepared for some honest, wide open and hilarious conversation.

10.15 – 11.00

Inclusive Tourism, Adaptive Adventure and the Makingtrax Movement, what is it all about? – Jezza Williams – Making Trax

Learn about the simplicity of inclusion in adventure tourism and once the freedom of travel returns, how you can experience the beauty of New Zealand the Home of Inclusive Adventure. Over the last 10 years Makingtrax has been opening opportunities, developing equipment, training tourism operators and more to make it inclusive for all. Let Jezza Inclusive adventure consultant and game-changer show you the magic

Topics include the difference between inclusive & accessible tourism, what experiences exist, what adaptions are there and how Makingtrax can assist.

11.15 – 12.00

Initiating Independent movement in Early Childhood – Tracee-lee Maginnity – Permobil Australia

Human development is most rapid in our first few years of life. Multiple analogies such as describing human newborns brains too sponges in the first 3 years are common in human development discussions. But what happens when we don’t have access to mobility or the ability to move? Can access to movement opportunities impact on other areas of development? What kinds of early mobility opportunities are available? How young is too young?
There is a significant body of research that correlates early movement to ongoing development. This session will summarise some of the latest and relevant data as well as look at some of the various devices and programs that look to break down the barriers to independent initiated mobility.

1.00 – 1.45 Lunch
1.45 – 2.30

Lying and Seating: More Linked than you think! – 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 and need to be skilled in assessment as well as knowledgeable about postural management and the equipment available. 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.

3.00 Expo Closes


  ROOM 2
9.00 – 10.00

The Seat Cushion Micro Climate: Cushion Surface Temperature, Moisture and Humidity – What is the effect on Skin Integrity? Current Research Findings. – Amy Bjornson – Sunrise Medical

Historically, the term Microclimate has been used in weather or topographical context, but as of late it has made its way into the complex rehab industry to describe the mini-atmosphere of increased skin temperature and moisture at the seating interface.  Because of their limited mobility and sensation, wheelchair users are at risk for tissue injuries. We’ve known for decades that pressure and shear are clear culprits in these injuries, but continued research is determining that higher skin surface temperature and moisture are also contributing factors and management of this climate is also critical in healthy skin promotion.

This session will investigate the existing research on the contribution of temperature and moisture in pressure injuries, the body’s response to heat stress in common mobility disorders and the overall effect on skin integrity.  We will also discuss the research currently underway at Southern Cross University in Australia.   This study is investigating clients using several common wheelchair cushions.  Performance parameters being investigated include cushion surface temperature, cushion humidity and client body temperature.

10.15 – 11.00

I.Lead – The Social Change Movement For Youth with a Disability – Kramer Hoeflich – I.Lead

I am a strong believer in the unique ingenuity that young people possess and the unlimited potential that is tapped when we work together as a community. I am passionate about working to change perceptions of what young people of all abilities can achieve and contribute. One of the ways I plan on doing this is by building awareness and acceptance around mental illness and breaking the taboo that surrounds youth suicide. I am a strong voice for both the Pasifika and disability sector, my aim is to bridge the gap between disability, youth, community & government.

Because I am such a believer in dreams and the value’s we all bring, my ultimate goal is to lead from the front as a Minster of disabilities one day. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Instead, go where there is no path & leave a trail”.

11.15 – 12.00

Changing Places – Changing Lives: Lets Talk About Fully Accessible Bathroom Facilities in Public Places Throughout New Zealand – Jenn Hooper MNZM- Changing Places

Changing Places – changing lives & addressing inclusion:  Developing a network of fully-accessible public bathrooms for profoundly disabled people and their carers.
Here is your chance to hear all about Changing Places NZ from the founder herself, Jenn Hooper. These fully accessible facilities are larger than our standard accessible public toilets and vital for people with severely impacting conditions like cerebral palsy, motor neurone disease and multiple sclerosis. They include specialised equipment such as adult-sized change tables and hoists, height-adjustable toilets and basins, as well as a cutting edge security access system.

Changing Places NZ address those in our communities who have been overlooked; including family carers and those who work to provide the best quality of life. They increase independence, improve health & safety and result in everyone having the dignity to access a toilet when they need one.

Becoming isolated in society is a real challenge for those affected by severe disability. It’s often our lack of accessible man-made infrastructure that creates this isolation. Changing Places provide a solution to the most basic of human rights – toileting.

Make sure you check in with Jenn to learn more about what makes these rooms change lives and bring about inclusion for all.

This presentation is one to not miss!

12.15 – 1.00

Releasing Ourselves from our Physical Prisons and Challenging Ableism – Dr Huhana Hickey MNZM, MInstD

Living with disabilities can be difficult, although made even more difficult when we don’t accept our changes in life, yet all of us in life go thought life changes and it comes down to how we react to those changes and how our attitude can effect good outcomes.

Life is hard for everyone, the difference for disabled is that we are constantly waiting for non-disabled to give us the tools for inclusion. For us to get the change and be included, we need to advocate, which can sometimes be held back by non-disabled not meeting accommodations for disabled to be included. Disabled in NZ also tend to be passive and don’t speak out against inequities, injustice, yet we become the casualties of not speaking out. My talk today will be a personal journey outlining how disability forced me to review my life choices, to accept life changes and how it has helped me to become a voice for advocating for changes in our lives.

1.15 – 1.45 Lunch
1.45 – 2.15

Living with a Disability and Breaking Stereo Types – Jordon Milroy, Disability Advisor

  • Going beyond the borders set by other people?
  • Living a normal life in an abnormal society?
  • How equipment enables me to do things that people don’t expect me to do?
3.00 Expo closes