Rachel Callander

Life, Love & Awesomeness - Rethinking the Language of Disability - click here for abstract

After loving and losing her daughter Evie who was born with a rare chromosomal condition, award winning NZ Wedding and Portrait photographer Rachel Callander turned her talent to capturing the beauty and abilities of other children with ‘Super Powers’.  Rachel has travelled the length and breadth of NZ meeting ordinary families being made extraordinary through the journeys their children are taking them on.

As a result of her travels, Rachel's insights and images offer a fresh understanding and language regarding disability. The stunning photographs of the children alongside the conversations with their parents are presented in the Super Power Baby Project, a photographic art book launched in 2014. The book is being used and celebrated in schools, neonatal units and by health professionals around New Zealand and the world, where it is making real changes in the way people think about and work with people with disabilities.

“The Super Power Baby Project is a life affirming work. It does not shy from the notion that genetic syndromes bring with them their share of challenge, grief and difficulty. The strong message is that there is much that lies beyond that. Rachel demonstrates that these children have much to teach us about themselves and ourselves, which is to be celebrated as truly exceptional.” Stephen Robertson, Curekids Professor of Paediatric Genetics, University of Otago.

Maureen Story

Craniopagus Conjoined Twins: The Journey - click here for abstract 

Maureen Story is a Physical and Occupational Therapist who has worked in the field of Positioning and Mobility for over 30 years in both private practice and most notably at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children in Vancouver, B.C. She was part of the team that developed and implemented the Positioning and Mobility Clinic at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and is a clinical instructor at the University of B.C. She has presented at numerous conferences both nationally and internationally, and has been involved in a number of research projects including development of the Seated Postural Control Measure. She has been involved in international health projects in both India and China, and has most recently provided training and guidance to the staff at Guangzhou Children’s Hospital to assist them in developing and opening the first pediatric seating clinic in mainland China. Maureen has been a member of the International Seating Symposium committee since its inception in 1983 and has been Co-Chair since 2000.

Ben Lucas

The Improvement of Quality of Life through Opportunity - click here for abstract

In 1989, Ben Lucas was involved in a motorcycle vs. van accident which resulted in a burst fracture at L3. Following his injury he spent six months working hard on his rehab and consequently has the ability to walk short distances – something he is grateful for. Ben became a world ranked athlete, representing New Zealand in wheelchair racing at both Commonwealth and Paralympic Games, winning bronze in Canada in 1994. His passion for seating arose when working for Allied Medical in sales for 10 years, setting up both manual and power wheelchairs, and paediatric rehab equipment. He was also CEO of the New Zealand Spinal Trust for over four years. His own personal experience, coupled with his impressive work resume made him the ideal candidate for his current role of Voice of the Consumer with Accident Compensation Corporation, New Zealand. Ben is happily married to his wife Tracie with whom he shares two kids.

Jean Minkel

What Matters Most - Hosting a Difficult Conversation - click here for abstract 

Jean L. Minkel, PT, ATP

Ms. Minkel is a physical therapist and master clinician well recognized for her work in Assistive Technology. She is currently the Senior Vice President for Care Coordination and Rehab Services for Independence Care System, a nonprofit long term care program in New York City. Jean is also an independent consultant who provides educational and consulting service to all members of the A.T. team – consumers, therapists, suppliers, manufacturers and payers.

Prior to entering the private section, Jean was the director of the Seating and Mobility Program at the Center for Rehabilitation Technology at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstaw, NY. She produced the videotape series, Spending or Investing – Funding Assistive Technology. She is co-author of the Wheelchair Selection Guide: How to use the ANSI – RESNA Standards;  the Manual Mobility Training Guide and the Power Mobility Training Guide.

The A.T. community has recognized Jean for her contributions by awarding her the RESNA Fellow Award in 1995 and the Sam McFarland Mentor Award in 2012.

Bonnie Sawatzky

New Wheelchair Technology - Evaluating its Effectiveness - click here for abstract

Researcher and medical educator, Bonita (Bonnie) Sawatzky is passionate about all things wheeled and making research practical. An Associate Professor in Orthopaedics at the University of British Columbia and a Principal Investigator at ICORD (International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries), she focuses on the measurable physiological and biomechanical effects of wheelchair propulsion and explores new innovations which may help to decrease pain, fatigue and long-term overuse injuries in adults and children. She also helps to bring together therapists, engineers, students and physicians from around the world to present ideas, innovations and research to improve mobility at the Vancouver International Seating Symposium.

Mal Turnbull

Skin and Shoulder Care - Lived, Observed and Applied Principles - click here for abstract 

In January 1980, at age 19, Mal Turnbull was a passenger in a motor vehicle accident which resulted in a complete spinal cord injury at T5 level. The experience of the acute post injury care, the subsequent rehab period and exposure to the real-life impact of pressure injury left a deep and abiding impact which resulted in some habits that are still a part of his daily routine. Since 1992 Mal has been involved in the Assistive Technology industry with a focus on equipment supply that deals with prevention of pressure injury and shoulder preservation. Having access to a worldwide network of therapists, clinicians, researchers, manufacturers and end-users, Mal has an exceptional understanding of evidence based best practice. Coupled with 36 years of lived experience of managing pressure injury risk and shoulder injury prevention, Mal has an all rounded approach to maintaining an active lifestyle. 

Lloyd Walker

There's More to Good AT Outcomes Than Froth and Bubble - click here for abstract

Dr Lloyd Walker, BE(Hons), MTheolSt (Bioethics), PhD(Bioeng), CPEng, GAICD, FIEAust.
Rehabilitation Engineer

Lloyd is a professional rehabilitation engineer who has been working in Assistive Technology (AT) for over 25 years. As a user of AT, he has always had an interest in improvements in technology and its application to enhanced participation. He has been actively involved in most aspects of the AT sector in Australia and internationally. He has established and clinically led new wheeled mobility services in Northern Queensland, established tertiary education programs, led Australia’s largest AT research and development centre, and continues to contribute to AT standards development in Australia and at the ISO level. In recent years Lloyd joined the Australian Government and is currently the Director of Assistive Technology with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

His presentations at the Symposium will be in his own professional capacity and will not necessarily represent the views of the NDIA or the Australian Government.

Debbie Field

Debbie Field is an Occupational Therapist with over 25 years’ experience in working with children, youth and adults with postural control and mobility needs. By working collaboratively with her clients, their families and others involved in their care, she assesses, makes recommendations and provides seating, mobility and other assistive technologies to empower her clients to engage in what they want or need to do in daily life. Working at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children in Vancouver, Canada has featured prominently throughout her career. She recently obtained her PhD degree in Rehabilitation Science at the University of British Columbia under the guidance of Drs. Bill Miller, Steve Ryan and Tal Jarus, where she investigated measuring participation in daily life with children who benefit from power mobility use. She is currently pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship to advance research evidence supporting power mobility impacts for children under 19 years of age. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences, and has been published in peer-reviewed journals on seating and power mobility. 

Ginny Paleg

Ginny Paleg is a pediatric PT from Silver Spring, Maryland. She has worked at NIH, HSC Pediatric Center, adult group homes and in schools. For the past 14 years she has worked for her local school system in their early intervention program. Ginny earned her Masters Degree in Physical Therapy at Emory University and her DScPT at the University of Maryland Baltimore. She is on the editorial board of the Rehab Management Magazine. Ginny is an active member of the APTA, having served as a state representative and reimbursement specialist.  Recently she has published several articles in peer reviewed journals; one on standing (BMJ, 2016), four on gait trainers (Clin Rehab 2015) and one on wheeled mobility. She became certified in 2014 for the General Movement Assessment, a tool which has a 92-98% success rate at identifying which two to five month old infants will have cerebral palsy. Ginny specialises in assessment and interventions for children at GMFCS Levels 4 and 5.  

Kelly Waugh

Kelly Waugh, PT, MAPT, ATP, is a Senior Research Instructor and the Clinic Coordinator at Assistive Technology Partners, a program in the Department of Bioengineering, University of Colorado Denver, USA. Ms. Waugh has 32 years of clinical experience as a physical therapist and educator, specialising in Wheelchair Seating & Mobility and Nighttime Positioning. Ms. Waugh has served on the ISO Wheelchair Seating Standards Committee for 17 years, with a focus on the development of standardised measures of wheelchair seated posture and seating support parameters.  She is the primary author of A Clinical Application Guide to Standardized Wheelchair Seating Measures of the Body and Seating Support Surfaces. Ms. Waugh received both her B.A. degree in Human Biology and her M.A. degree in Physical Therapy from Stanford University in Stanford, California, USA.

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