Chris Ventura’s thoughts on the First International Symposium on Seating and Posture

Chris Ventura is an occupational therapist at Yancana Huasy, our partner organization in Lima. Eleanore’s Project sponsored her attendance at the First International Symposium on Seating and Posture in Buenos Aires, Argentina in August 2011. She shared the following perspectives with us after the conference.

The First International Seating Symposium in South America was held at the Pan American Hotel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 18-20, 2011. The topics and the workshops were aimed at professionals in the rehabilitation field, such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, doctors, physiatrists, manufacturers, nurses, technicians licensed in orthopedics, bioengineers, educators, etc.

The main purpose of the conference was to educate, train and update attendees with the latest technology, so as to provide a better quality of life for people with disabilities.

The symposium included presentation of scientific and clinical research forums, in-depth workshops and exposition of commercial products. Presentations were made on wheelchair mobility, as well as challenges and solutions for people with permanent disability and the latest adaptations to promote independence in activities of daily living.

The main objectives of the symposium were: understanding the proper characteristics of each structure of the wheelchair and the clinical impact of the correct posture and mobility, to discuss service delivery practices (in terms of postural adjustments and types of cushions) and to see results from recent research and apply them with our patients.

During the 3 days we heard outstanding professionals like Mark Schmeler, Bengt Engstrom, Kendra Betz, Simon Hall and David Brienza, who presented the research they have done and the important conclusions, for example, the importance of cushion materials, the importance of wheelchair training for the patient and a good amount of observation of the patient prior to placing the patient in the wheelchair. Also emphasized was how posture directly influences the alertness and the ability of the client to better appreciate the stimuli that the environment provides.

During the break, I visited the booths and I could see the design of new seating adaptations for children primarily in the area of feeding, although it should be noted that these adjustments also may be helpful to an adult with impairment.

Most  important thing is that I will share what I learned with the entire team of professionals who work with me, to improve the quality of life for our patients at Yancana Huasy.

In conclusion

My participation in this First International Symposium on Seating and Posture was a truly enriching experience on both professional and personal levels. It allowed me to appreciate the great contribution that Yancana Huasy receives each year through Eleanore’s Project (who made my participation possible), through the donation of wheelchairs and other biomechanical aids. During the course of the symposium I met many colleagues from South America who work in areas other than health care and therefore it was able to exchange information that will be helpful for children at Yancana Huasy.

It was also very satisfying to feel the friendliness and warmth of the teams presenting.  I could understand better the way in which you work thanks to the demonstrations of the manufacturers and the abundant printed material that we were provided. And it was nice and refreshing to find friends of Tamara and Caroline.

The stay in this country also allowed me to learn a little about the city, customs and food that is rich and varied. Although I cannot help mentioning, nothing like that of my beloved Peru.

– Chris Ventura

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