A grant to develop seating for children with cerebral palsy

A boy with cerebral palsy smiles in our dynamic seat as his mother looks on smiling

We have been successful in receiving funding to explore comfortable seating for young children with dystonic cerebral palsy.

Testing our new seating systems

The grant will enable us to test out the prototype seating systems we have developed for preschool children with severe dystonia who can’t speak or sit comfortably.

The funding has been provided by Sparks, the children’s medical research charity, which has now partnered with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Seating that offers freedom of movement

We first engineered a dynamic seat to offer comfort and function for young children aged 2 – 5 years who suffer from whole body spasms due to their disability.

Children with severe dystonic cerebral palsy cannot sit independently, so they are placed in specialist seats that provide all the support they need. But rigid seating prevents the child from experimenting with movement and learning how to control their own posture.

The aim of this new dynamic seat is to provide them with the confidence and freedom they need to sit independently.

Looking to discover how young children can participate in everyday activities

Dr Tim Adlam, head of mechanical engineering at Designability, said: “We are delighted and grateful to have been awarded this substantial research grant by Sparks.

“Our current project has enabled us to design and build six new dynamic seats for children with complex movement disorders. The grant will sustain our research for another two years, and enable us to test new research methods for finding out how well our new seat works in ways that matter to children and their families.”

It is hoped that the two year research will provide insight into how young children can participate in everyday activities despite their profound disability.

f you would like more information about the dynamic seat project, please visit the research page, call 01225 824103 or email