The Right Fit

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woman in wheelchair being attended to by two therapists - one standing behind her and one sitting in front of her taking notes
 
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At Cerebral Palsy Alliance, we provide a service called TASC (Technology Solutions for Computer Access, Seating and Communications) for clients requiring custom seating, alternate access to powered mobility, or interfacing or powered mobility with other assistive technology.

Our workshop technicians operate from Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s sites in ACT (Scullin), Newcastle (Stuart Centre – Croudace Bay) and Sydney metro (Allambie Heights).

Due to the postural support needs of many people with cerebral palsy, a customised seating system is often required to help improve an individual’s comfort, safety and independence.

It also needs to be suitably matched to the individual’s intended use of the equipment and their functional abilities (such as physical strength, balance, pain etc).

What is TASC?

TASC employs a team of skilled professionals (including occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and technicians) to carry out the assessment, manufacture, trial and implementation process for the recommended seating.

TASC comprises two services, which work closely together:

  1. TASC Consultative Services – an assessment and training consultancy
  2. TASC Equipment Services – a workshop that manufactures custom seating

The majority of seating system building and modification is done at the workshop located at the Allambie Heights site (187 Allambie Road, Allambie Heights). However, the TASC team regularly travels to clients living throughout NSW.

Steps – Assessment to Delivery

Due to the complexities of manufacturing made-to-measure seating, the process from assessment to delivery of your seating system will take several months to complete.

Referral

To utilise the seating services of TASC, your primary occupational therapist (OT) will first need to provide you with a referral.

At this stage, they will identify your functional and postural needs (e.g. comfort, pressure relief and positioning for access to technology etc) to ascertain the most appropriate seating system. They will also make a note of any particular features you would like to incorporate into your wheelchair design (e.g. tilt for transfers).

TASC Assessment

A Seating Consultant from TASC will then evaluate your needs in order to prescribe a suitable seating system. During this evaluation, they will be looking at:

  • Need (motivation, functional needs such as roles and routines, potential goals)
  • Skills and limitations relative to using the seating system
  • Physical requirements of the system e.g. does the seating need be customised (where parts of the seating need to be moulded to your body shape – best option when a commercial system is not able to provide adequate support for the individual) or commercial (where standard parts can be purchased – usually appropriate for the majority of children and adolescents

Quote & Funding

The Workshop Technicians at TASC will then collaborate with you, your OT and Seating Consultant to co-ordinate the moulding, manufacture, modification and upholstery requirements of your seating system.

Your occupational therapist (OT) will prescribe the wheelchair base and the technicians will provide a quote for the seating system.

Your OT will then assist you and your family to complete the necessary ENABLE NSW funding paperwork. When ENABLE NSW approves the funding application, TASC will begin work on your seating system.

Manufacture, Fitting, Trialling & Delivery

The TASC workshop technicians will assist you during the manufacture of your seating and help you trial the equipment.

Once funding is approved, a series of fitting appointments are made to measure and develop an initial mould, and adapt the seating you require. The seating system will then be given a temporary cover so you can take it home to trial in as many different environments as possible over one or two weeks.

Several assessment, fitting and trial appointments may be required over several weeks until the seating system has been fabricated and completed.

After the trial period, workshop technicians then make any final alterations required before fitting the upholstered cover and delivering the completed system to the client.

TASC will provide you with instructions on how to care for and maintain your new seating system.

Other Considerations

How Long Will My Seating System Last?

A typical moulded seating system may last up to five years. However, this is dependent on how the individual cares for and uses their seating system.

Some people may require re-moulding after a shorter period of term because of changes in their posture. Others may need to replace material more often because of the length of time they spend in their seating system each day.

Timing

You may have to postpone your initial seating assessment if you are due to have surgery or have recently changed your medication (which may affect your posture).

Support Networks

Can your support networks (parents, teachers, carers etc) help you use your seating system in different settings?

It is recommended that a parent or carer also attends the initial assessments to ensure the seating system is a practical solution that can be used by anyone who has regular contact with you in daily life.

TASC services are FREE for children and adults with cerebral palsy who live in NSW.

TASC also provides seating services from Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s rural and regional sites.

TASC charges a fee for service for the following:

  • compensable clients (e.g. medico legal, Lifetime Care and Support, YPIRAC, WorkCover, etc.)
  • travel costs to visit non Cerebral Palsy Alliance clients in regional/rural areas
  • lecturing and training
  • technicians’ labour costs for manufacture of equipment

In addition to custom seating systems, the team at TASC provides specialist knowledge and skills in the assistive technology areas of:

  • Alternate access to the computer (hardware and software)
  • Alternatives to handwriting
  • Speech generating devices
  • Environmental control systems
  • Switch access to technology
  • Mounting and positioning for devices and switches
  • Powered mobility.

For more details about Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s TASC service email our TASC team or phone : 02 9975 8472.