HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ACPOC ANNUAL MEETING, VANCOUVER, BC. MAY 11-13,1995

Dinah Stocker, OT


Beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia was the setting for this year's Annual Meeting. Participants had the pleasure of enjoying the dramatic scenery of a harbor front with snow capped mountains in the background. To magnify this spectacular view many people during the boat cruise or who were on the waterfront enjoyed a huge rainbow, although I don't think anyone found the pot of gold!

The two high points of the Annual Meeting are always the Hector W. Kay Memorial Lecture and the Presidential Guest Lecture. This year was no exception. Dr. Mary Williams Clark presented an excellent talk on Communication Issues: Past, Future, Present. The great thing about the Hector Kay Lecture is that the speaker leaves us with some food for thought, reminding us about the roots of ACPOC and the population we work with - the children; those people who are always listening to our every word, who like to be dealt with eye to eye, and who we should love just the way they are. Dr. Clark reminded us of these basics of communication in a way that gave us a little insight into some of her past times: reading and enjoying nature. This years Presidential Guest Lecturer, Dr. Peter Rosenbaum came from Hamilton, Ontario's McMaster University. A Professor of Pediatrics shared his expertise in measuring outcomes in childhood family, or a change of function. We must be clear about what purpose we have in mind and then choose a measure that can perform the task. This talk was very timely. After Dr. Rosenbaum spoke I heard a lot of people expressing the need for someone like him to return to ACPOC to provide us with more direction.

The submitted papers were presented on Thursday, Friday morning and Saturday morning. They began on a surgical note looking at lawnmower injuries, Boyd amputations, train injuries, and osteotomies. These were followed by a lively discussion which seemed to set the tone for the rest of the meeting. As usual the ever so interesting debates surrounding external powered prosthetics was present. Saturday focused more on orthotics with an interesting study looking at a functional review of patients with myelomeningocele following spinal fusion. The conference program has all the abstracts listed. It is well worth reviewing these.

One of the concerns of the scientific committee was the lack of submitted abstracts. As a result we tended to see more special or different styles of presentations throughout this years meeting.

"Withstanding Ovation" was a video presentation made by the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. This professional video featured two special individuals, both teens; one young lady who uses her feet and has special artistic talents and one young man who showed us how he plays football, catching and throwing with his arms which end just at or below the elbow and with no leg prostheses, just boots for the end of his legs which end at about the knee level. This video showed the audience how well an individual can cope with multiple limb deficiencies and fit with friends and family. This video lead into a symposium discussion of the management and socioeconomic issues related to multimembral amputees.

On Friday, Todd Houston, presented a somewhat humorous look at his experiences of climbing mountains. Todd traveled across 50 states climbing the highest points of each state. He set a record for completing this in the shortest time ever. Some of the climbs were extremely high, cold, snowy and windy, some of the climbs were rather flat and hot. Todd used slides

and video to illustrate his talk and also brough posters and books to sign.

We heard from Dr. Fielden's son about a proposal to create an ACPOC Database and the basics of how a database might run and become useful to us. One of the comments from Dr. Rosenbaum was that a database which recorded information on individuals with some of the more unusual, complex disabilities such as Mobius Syndrome, would provide a very powerful form of information. A survey was passed out and information collected prior to the end of the meeting. Look for something more in the future.

As well as patient presentations by Dr. Beauchamp and team we also had a session where challenging cases were presented by various clinic teams. The patient presentations featured two youngsters who were present with their families. The challenging cases were presented by video and slides. Both of these sessions were well received.

This year's meeting was quite eventful, not only during the discussions, but socially as well. Dr. Hugh Watts displayed his fitness skills by leading the dancing on the tables at the banquet/dance. He also helped stir up some lively discussions during our daytime sessions. Start sharpening your pencils and preparing to submit abstracts for 1996. Put on your dancing shoes - be prepared for Margarita Ville - the Atlanta Scottish Rite team are already working on plans for ACPOC 96 in Atlanta. See you there.

- Dinah. -

Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Fredericton, NB