Occupation-Based Hand Therapy!

I LOVE to bring occupation into the clinic!  Obviously you must trust your clinical judgement here - there are definitely some folks who like to treated by very methodological and medical-model-based ways: stretches, modalities, strengthening with weights or the BTE - period!  But there are many others who embrace things that might be considered "outside the box"!  Many of my ideas are pediatric-based (because I love little kid hands!) but you'd be surprised what works with adults!  After 2 very "run of the mill" treatment sessions I had with a 48-year old man, I mentioned having a model airplane that he could put together if he wished.  He was THRILLED with the idea and LOVED working on that plane!  I welcome new additions to the site so if you've found some exciting and interesting things that have worked in the past with you and would like to share them with the rest of the world, just drop me a line and I can get to work on posting them!

Sculpting Clay and Splinting Materials

Sculpy is great - you can bake it and it hardens!  The other Crayola clay is a no-bake clay.  Fave of older kids, teens, and some adults.  To up the ante - use splint material to make "tools", as shown in the picture below.  You can fashion to ends of each tool to the person's capabilities and what you want them to work on - lateral pinch, tip-to-tip, etc.!


Models come in all shapes, sizes, and difficulty levels.  The easier ones are great for kids or those with real fine motor issues.  You can even buy a few of them to keep in your clinic and grade them so you have some sort of order to go by!  Or have clients put parts of models together using tweezers [pad tips with Coban to enhance 'stick']


These kits can be purchased for less than a dollar!  A person can thread the beads on the metal twine and make a necklace, they can work on pinch and create a picture on paper [just add some glue], or a great way to stretch the DIPs into extension is to have the person push down on an individual bead until it sticks to the pad of their finger and then transfer it to whatever surface they wish it to be on!

Finger Soccer



A favorite past-time of many of my clients.  Having a golf club in the clinic is a great tool.  It can be used for strengthening [just velcro some weights around it], for ROM, and for coordination.

Cheap Art for Kids

Bug-shaped magnets that you can etch!  Each pack will cost you less than a dollar at a craft store AND the kids can take home their work!  To up the ante - you can buy an entire picture to be etched and keep it in the clinic until the individual completes it!


LURES: One word: Walmart.  You can get ANY size lure AND hook here - just be weary of the barbs!  Make sure your patient is doing this activity SAFELY (ahem - sensory precautions!).  This is a FANTASTIC fine motor activity and I find that a lot of older men tend to like to fish.  It's a great way to engage them in conversation about their hobby and learn a little more about fishing yourself!  PLUS - go the extra mile and bring in tools to have them MAKE their own lures! 
POLES: Have the individual bring in his own pole, attach weighted objects to it, and set up a target.  Great for shoulder ROM!