Drawing aid pen holder

Project  / Project number: 2363  /  Status:

Pen Holder finished small

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The challenge

The client is 20 months old and has arthrogryposis which causes him to have limited movement in his wrists, hands and fingers. His mum and OT wanted him to start holding a pen and drawing but this was not possible without help.  His left arm was stronger than his right but there was significant rotation of his hand.  Initially it appeared to be that this rotation was fairly constant but experience showed that it actually depended on what chair he was sitting in, and whether he was drawing from right to left or left to right.  It was made all the more challenging as the consultations were all being conducted via Zoom.  The initial attempt was to make a wrist and hand splint with a pen holder attached.  This was very difficult to fit and didn’t hold the pen at the correct angle.  A variety of other pen holding devices were tried, each strapped to his hand with alternative fixing mechanisms, angles of pen, and different shapes of guide plate to help him keep the pen in contact with the paper.  None of the prototypes worked very well but they provided a learning curve from which to build.

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The solution

The version that finally worked is shown here.  It consists of an inverted mushroom shape that holds the pen at roughly 90 degrees to the paper no matter how he moves his hand, and a support handle that fits into the palm of his hand set at the correct angle to the pen (in this case 40 degrees).  The handle is cushioned with foam for his comfort and the strap that attaches it to his hand is made from soft plastic that is looped over buttons to make it easy to attach and remove.Here is a photo of the device being used with enthusiasm.

The benefit

The client has limited strength and movement in his hands so doing anything with them was difficult.  This device has provided him with an independence to be able to create something by himself.  Which is exactly what his mum and OT wanted for him and what he appears to be really happy to do.

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