What is adaptive seating?

What is adaptive seating?

Mobility impairment can be a disheartening experience that makes completing everyday tasks a complicated endeavor. There are solutions available. If you, or someone close to you, requires assistance with moving around, adaptive seating systems offer people with restricted mobility the chance to regain their autonomy and live more productive and enjoyable lives. 

What is adaptive seating?

Adaptive seating refers to the use of novel design techniques to create seating devices that offer the best in terms of postural control. Adaptive equipment helps people who have reduced mobility due to age or various conditions to live more active and engaged lives. 

Limitations of traditional lift chairs 


Who benefits from adaptive seating? 

Adaptive seating is devised mainly for use by mobility-impaired individuals, but mobility chairs provide a level of comfort and functionality that can be enjoyed by anyone.  

An active chair can help an otherwise sedentary person perform many tasks connected with keeping an organized and happy home, including:

  • Reaching contents of shelves, drawers, closets, etc.
  • Tasks related to cooking, including cutting and mixing ingredients, and operating an oven.
  • Setting a dinner table.
  • Operating a dishwasher and other household appliances.
  • Vacuuming the floor.
  • Lifting and taking care of small children.

Adaptive seating for independent living at home


Different types of adaptive seating 

Mobility chairs for adults

An ergonomic chair offers many benefits to adults of all occupations and walks of life. By providing proper support, adaptive seating equipment can minimize the physical strain caused by moving around, sitting down, or standing still for prolonged periods of time.

Innovative adaptive chairs also have electrical options to remotely adjust the height and positioning of the seat. The user can set the dimensions of the chair to tailor it to the needs of the moment. An adaptive chair can be raised or lowered to access shelves and other hard-to-reach places. It can be used to find the right sitting position at a desk or counter, and be adjusted to sit at eye level with others.

Adaptive seating for adults


Mobility chairs for children

Mobility impairment can be harmful to the emotional well-being of a child. Thanks to activity chairs, children with reduced mobility can still engage in a vast range of activities at home, at school, and with their friends. According to research, adaptive seating systems may be associated with gains in body function, social activities, and participation of children with non-ambulatory cerebral palsy (source).

An adaptive seat allows children to eat, play, and learn with greater ease. The adjustability features found in modern adaptive chairs provide the sitting support children need while still allowing them to move their arms freely. With this freedom of movement, children with reduced mobility can participate in all kinds of engaging and creative activities such as writing, drawing, and playing music. 

Adaptive seating for children


Bariatric Chairs

The benefits of mobility chairs can be experienced and appreciated by all people, regardless of body type. Individuals who carry extra weight put a strain on their bodies, which can result in joint, knee, and back pain. Bariatric chairs designed specifically for plus-sized users can provide people with the pain relief and comfort they need. 

A well-designed mobility chair can lift up to 605 pounds. The structural integrity of a modern mobility chair can be improved using a reinforced frame and a back mechanism developed specifically with heavy users in mind. With the help of these features, plus-sized users can easily change their sitting position. Additionally, chairs can be customized to include slow-release (memory foam) cushions plus other accessories to offer optimal comfort. 

Adaptive seating for heavy users


Clinical chairs

Adaptive seating is often used in clinical settings because these chairs can help place patients into the safest and most supportive positions. With a small frame, powered controls, safety features, and a modular design, adaptive seat options can be customized to the needs of both doctors and patients. This improves the patient examination experience and helps to ensure proper treatment can be administered.

Adaptive seating can assist patients in many ways in clinical environments, including:

  • Mammography chairs: By allowing a patient to sit still without restricting their movement, an adaptive seat option can reduce the discomfort and stress experienced by patients during a mammogram. 
  • X-ray chairs: Many challenges faced by X-ray specialists can be addressed with adaptive seating. For instance, conducting X-rays on elderly patients or those with reduced mobility becomes much easier when they have the proper support. Specially designed X-ray chairs possess radiolucent backrests, enabling medical professionals to X-ray the back and spine of seated patients.
  • Rehabilitation and therapy chairs: Adaptive seating can help people with reduced mobility or sensory processing conditions comfortably receive treatment and rehabilitation. Modern adaptive chairs are custom-assembled to cater to the specific needs of each patient, providing those who need them with better safety, maneuverability, and ease of use.


What are the advantages of adaptive seating systems?

More independence

One of the main benefits of adaptive equipment is the freedom of movement these items facilitate. When using a mobility chair, a person is less dependent on the assistance of others during their daily routine. Individuals using adaptive seating equipment are able to handle more tasks by themselves, which improves quality of life and encourages increased independence.  

Access to a special needs chair can give a person with limited mobility the freedom to leave their room and make their way around the house. If it takes a person a considerable amount of energy to move around, adaptive seating can help them conserve energy and become more productive. Independence can enhance a person’s mental well-being and help them develop a positive self-image.


A wide range of uses

Everyone has different needs, desires, and obligations. For this reason, the best seating options are designed to cater to people with diverse lifestyles. Mobility equipment can help people travel down the street, move around in supermarkets, and visit their loved ones. 


Intuitive and easy to operate

Mobility chairs are designed with comfort and ease of use in mind. Once the user of a special-needs chair is accustomed to using it, moving around the house becomes second nature. 


Improved accessibility

The tenets of universal design demand that public spaces are accessible to as many people as possible. To that end, public infrastructure systems provide accessibility features such as ramps and designated spaces for mobility equipment. A mobility chair makes traversing through public places and using public transportation easier than ever.


Accident and injury prevention

For someone who is physically impaired, the risk of falling can be a frightening prospect. People with reduced mobility are at a higher risk of experiencing injuries due to falling down. Even when taking precautions, the chance of someone having an accident increases if they are fatigued, have over-exerted themselves, or simply because they are having a bad day. 

Not only does a mobility chair help physically restricted individuals move with greater ease, it can also prevent an accident from happening due to weariness or carelessness. Safety features such as adjustable seats guarantee users have both comfort and protection when using adaptive equipment.


Find the perfect mobility or clinical chair 

Discover the best adaptive seating options with the REAL mobility chairs. More than just a chair, REAL mobility chairs provide customers with the very best that adaptive seating has to offer.

The benefits of REAL mobility chairs include:

  • Functional design: Functionality is one of the most important features of a good mobility chair. It is important for the user of a special needs chair to be able to move around safely and independently.
  • Electrically-powered features: Besides helping with sitting posture, REAL adaptive seating systems come with electrically-powered advantages. Special functions such as height control, seat tilt, back rest, and a safety brake make a noticeable difference when using and adjusting the chair.
  • Easy to use: REAL mobility chairs are intuitive and simple to operate. Moreover, they can fit through standard doorways, and maneuver into tight spaces in bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Safety: Special-needs seating must provide the maximum level of safety for its users. REAL chairs are designed with an ideal seating position in mind. They also come with a safety brake that can be engaged to keep the chair stationary when required.
  • Customizability: A mobility chair must adapt to the needs of its users. Many options exist for people to customize their REAL chair, including seat belts, harnesses, trunk supports, calf supports, leg dividers, and leg supports. Because special needs children and adults often require a particular adaptive seat option, REAL chairs can be customized to handle a wide range of support needs.
  • Multiple purposes: Adaptive seating systems must adapt to various situations and environments. REAL mobility chairs can fulfill the role of hi-lo chairs, standing support chairs, therapy chairs, rehabilitation chairs, and more.

Browse our adaptive seating systems

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