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.
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 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.
The ability to independently complete essential daily living tasks becomes increasingly more important as individuals near the pre-teen and teen years. For teens with diverse learning profiles the ability to master these critical skills can be challenging. However, there are readily available tools that can help promote independence! In this post we are covering a few low to mid tech solutions that can be a game changer for teens struggling with the ability to independently complete critical self care tasks.
Elastic Shoe Laces. There is nothing more frustrating than a loose shoe or tripping over untied laces but asking for help can be even harder. The good news is there is a simple solution, elastic shoe laces! Simply replace standard shoe laces with elastic shoe laces. Once in place, secure with a double knot and standard bow. The elastic shoe laces provide enough stretch to simply slip on and slip out of shoes, eliminating the need for tying.
Schedules & Time Cues. Remembering when to do something or remembering the correct sequence of a task can be difficult for teens who struggling with executive function deficits. These teens often rely on a support person to provide prompts for task initiation and sequencing which decreases their overall independence. The good news is there is a variety of readily available assistive technology tools that can support a teen’s ability to manage time with greater independence. Check out our previous post, Assistive Technology for Time Management, for ideas!
Picture Adapted Cookbooks: Preparing a simple meal or snack is one of the greatest acts of independence for pre teens and teens. This simple right of passage can be missed for teens who struggle with reading or have difficulty with multi step tasks. Picture supported cookbooks can help users with limited reading abilities prepare simple meals and snacks. The Stepwise Cookbook series takes this concept a step further and truly simplifies the process. Each cookbook has a set of picture supported recipes that are presented in a simplified, easy to follow format.
Small modifications and the use of mid to low tech assistive technology can be a powerful tool for independence. Be sure to visit to assistive technology section of Therapro’s website to see all of the available tools!
The ability to manage time is an essential life skill that is critical to independence. When the ability to manage time is impeded by factors like decreased executive functioning abilities or cognitive limitations, independence can also be impacted. In this post we are covering a few mid to low tech assistive technology solutions that can support time management abilities.
Remembering to do a task at a scheduled time is one time management skill area. While smart devices are often loaded with ‘reminder’ features, there are times when a non screen option is preferred. The Time Cue and Voice Cue are great options! Simply record any message and set the time for the message to be played.
TheTime Cue allows for a single message, up to 10 seconds long to be recorded and played back at a set time. For example, record “go to gym class” and set it to play 1:25 (or whenever gym class is happening!). There is even a space to include a picture of the activity for additional support!
The Voice Cue can record up to five messages, with 60 seconds of total recording time. This is a great tool for tasks like remembering to take morning and evening medications.
Multi step tasks are another area of time management that present their own set of challenges including remembering the order of the sequence, remembering to do all of the steps in the sequence, and doing the steps for the correct amount of time. There are a variety of assistive technology options available that can help.
The Two Minute Turtle Toothbrush Timer helps cue the user through the steps of toothbrushing, ensuring all quadrants of the mouth are brushed for the recommended amount of time. It works by pushing a button on the top of the turtle which causes one of the turtle’s fins to light up. Each of the turtle’s four fins represents a quadrant of the mouth. Each fin will stay lit for the recommended 30 seconds of brushing time. When time is up, the light in one fin will turn off and the next fin will light up indicating it is time to move to the next area of the mouth! Pro tip, this is also a great tool for handwashing!
Visual schedules, whether written out or picture supported, can be a game changer for individuals who have impaired executive function skills and who need support managing multi step tasks. Schedules can be created for specific routines (like a morning self care routine), for parts of the day (like a morning classroom schedule), or the whole day. SchKIDules offers a quick and easy solution for creating picture supported schedules. The Home Bundle includes 72, 2”x2” magnets that depict common routines, chores, outings and extracurricular activities. The Education Bundle includes 66, 2”x2”, magnets that depict common school and special education activities.
Time Visualization Helpers
Conceptualizing the passage of time is a third area of time management and this can be tricky! Offering a visual repression of time and time passage can not only help with this concept but it can also decrease stress and anxiety. Visual timers are the perfect solution for this challenge area.
Time Timers offer a simple solution for time management. With the patented red disk, Time Timer makes elapsing time concrete by reaffirming the analog clock in its clockwise movement and provides the ability to judge how much time is left without having to know how to tell time. Simply move the colored disk to the desired amount of time, as time elapses, the colored disk disappears.
Resetea is a time management tool that offers the ability to sequence up to 12 related tasks. It is different from a typical schedule because of the unique light cue that marks the passage of time. To set it up, first use the included template builder to create a sequence of tasks (for example homework and then free time or math class, English class, lunch) and then place the visual in front of the light screen. Next set the desired time for each activity (up to 60 minutes) and press start. The activity schedule is back lit with progress colors; no light indicates future task(s), white light indicates the task in progress, and red light indicates task(s) completed.
There are a variety of tools available to support users ability to manage time. Helping users access and utilize these tools will support overall independence!