--- "DO IT YOURSELF" ENTRY -------DESCRIPTION: A thermoplastic cuff formed to the thigh which has a pointer attached to it. This device allows an individual to point on a communication board, play certain musical instruments, paint, etc.
PURPOSE: To offer students who have some control of hip movements (but very poor or absent head, arm, or hand control) a method for interacting with the objects in their environment.
MATERIALS USED: 1. Low temperature thermoplastic material, 14 inch x 3 ½ inches.
2. Piece of wood, 1 ¾ inch long x 7/8 inch high x 5/8 inch deep.
3. 3/16 inch diameter threaded metal rod, 15 inch long (available building supply stores).
4.Two 7/8 inch long flat head wood screws.
5.Two 3/16 inch diameter nuts.
6. Pressure-sensitive Velcro hook tape, two 3 inch long x 1 inch wide pieces.
7. Velcro loop tape or Velfoam strip, enough for a short strap.
Some types of low temperature thermoplastic materials require special solvent or light abrasion before bonding can occur. Please follow manufacturer’s directions.
TOOLS: Splinting pan or electric frying pan and water; sharp heavy duty scissors; measuring tape; coping saw; sandpaper; power drill
The thermoplastic cuff should be approximately 2/3 the circumference of the student’s thigh and about 3 ½ inches wide.
1.Make thermoplastic cuff:
a.Soften the thermoplastic material in a splinting pan or electric frying pan filled with wather, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Then cut out a rectangle in the material following the measurements above.
b.Re-soften the strip in the pan, wait until it is cool to the touch, and form it to the student’s thigh in the correct position.
2.Shape and drill wooden block:
a.With a coping saw, cut out a block of wood that is 1 ¾ inch x ¾ inch x 7/8 inch. Saw out a slight curve in one of the long sides of the block of wood so it matches the curve of the thermoplastic material where it will be positioned on top of the thigh.
b.Drill a hole the same diameter as the threaded metal rod, through the center of the block of wood (hole should not go through curved side of block).
3.Attach metal rod to wooden block:
a.Screw a nut a couple of inches onto the metal rod.
b.Apply some epoxy glue or hot glue into the drilled hole in the wood and put the metal rod through the hole so it extends ¾ inches through the back of the wood piece.
c.Screw a nut onto the part of the rod sticking through the back of the wood piece. Add more glue on both sides of the wood piece and while glue is still wet tighten both nuts against the wood. Let it dry.
4.Assemble the thigh pointer.
a.Center the wooden block on top of the thermoplastic cuff, with the curved side resting on the thermoplastic. Clamp block in place.
b.On the inside of the cuff, mark two spots on the thermoplastic about ½ inches from each edge of the block. Drill two piolet deep holes through the thermoplastic and into the wood block, using a drill bit slightly smaller than the screw diameter. Screw in the tow screws and remove clamp.
c.Attach a piece of pressure-sensitive Velcro hook tape to each side edge of the thermoplastic cuff. Add a Velcro loop tape or a Velfoam strap around the student’s thigh to hold it securely.
5.Bend the wire to the desired angle. Place a rubber tip, such as a pencil eraser head, on the end of the metal dowel.
Author: Robin Levy, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist and Val Greene, B.S. Ed., Industrial Arts Teacher at Cotting School.