Category Archives: Assistive Technology

Unlocking Potential: Assistive Technology for Cerebral Palsy

As March unfolds, the global community prepares to observe Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month dedicated to raising awareness and understanding about this neurological condition. Among the myriad of challenges faced by individuals with cerebral palsy (CP), assistive technology emerges as a beacon of hope, offering innovative solutions to enhance independence, communication, and quality of life. For parents of children with CP, understanding the role of assistive technology is paramount in supporting their child’s development and well-being.

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a complex neurological disorder that affects movement, muscle tone, and posture. It is typically caused by brain injury or abnormal development during fetal development, infancy, or early childhood. The impact of CP varies widely, with some children experiencing mild motor difficulties while others face more significant physical and cognitive challenges.

The Promise of Assistive Technology

Assistive technology encompasses a wide array of tools and devices designed to mitigate the barriers faced by individuals with disabilities. For children with cerebral palsy, assistive technology offers tailored solutions to support their unique needs and promote active participation in daily activities.

Simple and Effective Assistive Technology Solutions

Let’s explore some assistive technology solutions specifically designed for children with cerebral palsy:

Adaptive Books and Learning Tools

Interactive Storybooks: These engaging books feature interactive elements such as sound effects, textures, and movable parts, catering to children with CP who may have difficulty turning pages or focusing for extended periods. Occupational therapist, Allyson Locke offers these pro tips for leveraging assistive technology to make reading more accessible:

Using wikki stix as a page lift

Wikki Stix!: Wikki Stix are simply wax covered strings that are often used in craft activities but they offer a simple and easy low tech solution for making page lifts.  Page lifts are used to ‘lift’ the pages of a book making it easier for those with fine motor difficulties to turn the pages of the book. To make page lifts with Wikki Stix simply roll a Wikki Stix into a spiral or ball shape and place it onto the upper right hand corner of the pages in a book.  Wikki Stix offer a non-permanent solution for making the pages of a book easier to turn.  

Communication Devices: There are numerous types of communication devices available, these devices are used to convey anything from a simple message to complex dialogs.  When leveraging these devices to enhance reading experiences I tend to focus on the simpler devices that have a record and playback feature.  For example, TalkingBrix2BIGmack communicator, or LITTLE Step-by-Step with Levels.   These can be used to record the words on the page of a book that can be played back by the “reader” with a simple hit of switch. This modification turns any book into an interactive one! 

Augmented Reality (AR) Learning Apps: AR apps provide immersive learning experiences, allowing children with CP to explore educational concepts through interactive visualizations and simulations.

Sensory Devices and Toys

Multi-Sensory Play Equipment: Sensory play is essential for children’s development, especially those with CP. Multi-sensory toys, such as vibrating cushions, textured balls, and musical instruments, stimulate different senses and promote sensory integration. Pro Tip: If decreased hand skills limits your child’s ability to hold these objects, occupational therapists Allyson Locke has a solution:

The Eazyholds silicone cuffs are a unique tool that gives children and adults the ability to hold onto many items with ease. They can be used on their own or in conjunction with the functionalhand when a more precise movement is desired (any Eazyhold with the large holes will fit over the handle of the functionalhand). Shake a maraca, bang a drumstick or wave a colorful ribbon with ease! To get more ideas check out Therapro’s Eazyhold, What Can I Adapt, handy guide

Switch-Activated Toys: Switch-adapted toys can be controlled using simple switches, enabling children with limited mobility to interact with and manipulate toys independently. Another pro tip from occupational therapist Allyson Locke; battery interrupters can be used to make most battery operated toys switch accessible! Learn how here!

Communication Aids

Schkidules visual schedule display

Picture Communication Systems: Visual communication systems, including communication boards and symbol-based apps, facilitate communication for children with CP who have difficulty speaking or expressing themselves verbally. 

QuickTalker 7

Voice Output Devices: Voice output devices allow children to communicate using pre-recorded messages or synthesized speech, empowering them to express their thoughts and feelings more effectively.

Supporting Cerebral Palsy Awareness

As we observe Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, there are several meaningful ways to show support and solidarity:

  • Educational Initiatives: Share information about cerebral palsy and assistive technology with friends, family, and community members. Raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by individuals with CP and highlight the importance of inclusion and accessibility.
  • Advocacy and Empowerment: Advocate for policies and initiatives that promote equal opportunities and access to assistive technology for individuals with cerebral palsy. Encourage schools, healthcare providers, and policymakers to prioritize the needs of children with CP and provide necessary support and resources.
  • Community Engagement: Participate in local events and fundraisers dedicated to cerebral palsy awareness and support. Connect with advocacy organizations and support groups to learn from and collaborate with other families affected by CP.
  • Charitable Contributions: Consider donating to reputable cerebral palsy charities and organizations that provide financial assistance, support services, and assistive technology to individuals and families in need. Cerebral Palsy Guidance is one such resource, offering valuable assistance to those navigating the challenges of cerebral palsy.

By embracing assistive technology and fostering awareness and support, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society where children with cerebral palsy can thrive and reach their full potential. Together, let us champion the rights and dignity of all individuals, regardless of ability, and build a brighter future for generations to come.

Therapro’s Low-Tech Assistive Technology Solutions Shine at ATIA 2024

The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2024 witnessed a bustling Therapro booth, where attendees were immersed in a hands-on experience with a diverse range of assistive technology solutions. The spotlight, however, was on the low-tech assistive technology solutions, which stood out for their simplicity, ease of use, and practicality.

Assistive Technology for Reading and Writing

One of the highlights at the Therapro booth was the Reading and Writing Solutions Station, where attendees explored assistive technology solutions for various reading and writing tasks. Attendees saw the multi purpose abilities of the slant board first hand. The slant board is designed to optimally position the wrist during handwriting activities but it can also be a great way to bring reading material closer while minimizing visual distractions. Notable tools at this station included various pencil grips and adapted writing paper. The “Get a Grip on Grips” handy guide and the “Which Writing Tool” handy guide garnered appreciation for their practicality in determining the most suitable tools for different situations. Attendees also explored devices like the ultradome for magnifying text and the Step by Step for recording stories, engaging emerging readers effectively.

Assistive Technology for Participation

The Participation Solutions Station aimed at increasing access and participation in daily activities. The Functionalhand, a popular tool at the station, impressed attendees with its ease of use in aiding grip and grasp. The Eazyholds also gained attention for their user-friendly design, making gripping objects more manageable. The station featured adapted scissor options, from spring-loaded to mounted scissors, catering to various needs.

Switch Access Tools:
Taking a step into higher-tech solutions, the Participation Solutions Station also showcased switch access tools. Attendees explored a range of switches, from the tiny Spec Switch to proximity switches and the wobble switch. The display included an insightful demonstration of battery interrupters, transforming battery-operated toys into switch-adapted devices—a hit among participants. The PowerLink, a versatile tool, was another assistive technology tool demonstrated at the booth. The PowerLink is used to turn corded devices, like blenders, into switch-accessible ones. Attendees were intrigued by PowerLink activity ideas, such as creating an adapted bowling game using the Powerlink and a fan.

Assistive Technology for ADL (Activities of Daily Living)

At the ADL Solutions Station, Therapro presented classic tools designed to enhance users’ engagement in self-care activities. Weighted utensils, a rocker knife, adapted cups, and scoop dishes were among the showcased items. These tools are essential for individuals seeking increased independence in their daily routines.

ATIA 2024 was a great opportunity for Therapro to showcase a wide range of assistive technology solutions that cater to diverse needs. The emphasis on simplicity and practicality, especially with the popularity of low-tech options, reinforces the idea that effective assistive technology can be both accessible and user-friendly. As Therapro continues to innovate, the commitment to empowering individuals with disabilities through thoughtful solutions is evident.

The functionalhand

Celebrating Independence Day: Tools for Independent Living

Independence Day is a time to celebrate freedom and the spirit of self-reliance. For occupational therapists, this occasion holds a special significance as they empower individuals to regain independence in their daily lives. In this blog post, we will explore three remarkable tools that occupational therapists use to support independent living: the FunctionalHand, EaZyHolds, and Sock Aids. These innovative devices have revolutionized the way people with physical limitations can perform essential tasks, enhancing their overall quality of life.

The functionalhand

Functional Hand: The FunctionalHand is a groundbreaking tool designed to assist individuals with limited hand dexterity and strength. Occupational therapists recognize the importance of hand function in performing numerous activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, grooming, and writing. Created by Linda Merry, OTR and Celine Skertich, PT the FunctionalHand is tailored to assist individuals who have difficulty with grasp, providing a means to hold objects for fun and function. Check out this video of Krista painting her nails using the FunctionalHand, By promoting independence in ADLs, the FunctionalHand restores confidence and autonomy to individuals facing hand-related challenges.


EaZyHolds: Another remarkable tool in an occupational therapist’s arsenal are EaZyHolds. This ingenious device addresses the difficulties faced by individuals with reduced grip strength or fine motor skills. EaZyHolds can be attached to a variety of objects, such as utensils, brushes, and writing instruments creating a strap that minimizes the need for grip strength. These handles ensure a secure and comfortable grip. By minimizing the effort required to hold objects, EaZyHolds empower individuals to engage in activities they may have previously found challenging. Whether it’s enjoying a meal, painting, or digging in the garden, EaZyHolds promote independence and enable users to pursue their passions with confidence.

Sock and Stocking Aid

Sock Aids: Putting on socks may seem like a simple task for most, but for individuals with limited mobility, it can be a significant hurdle. Sock Aids are assistive devices designed to make donning socks a breeze. Occupational therapists often recommend Sock Aids to individuals with arthritis, back pain, or limited range of motion. These devices consist of a flexible, sock-shaped cradle attached to long handles. By sliding the sock onto the cradle and using the handles to position it on the foot, individuals can effortlessly put on their socks without straining or bending. Sock Aids not only save time and energy but also restore a sense of independence in dressing, allowing individuals to start their day on the right foot.

As we celebrate Independence Day, it is important to acknowledge the invaluable role occupational therapists play in promoting autonomy and self-sufficiency. Through innovative tools like the FunctionalHand, EaZyHolds, and Sock Aids, these professionals empower individuals with physical limitations to overcome challenges and regain independence in their daily lives. By harnessing the power of technology and creative design, occupational therapists inspire hope, resilience, and a renewed sense of freedom. Let us salute their unwavering dedication and commitment to enhancing the quality of life for countless individuals, as we commemorate the spirit of independence on this special day.