Resident OT Case Study

Recently, one of our customers contacted us, and brought up the following questions, and concerns.
"I bought a set of your finger weights for use in my school OT practice. I had a specific child in mind who has poor body awareness, and does not fully register proprioceptive input. My hope was to use these to give him the extra input to improve his keyboarding skills. However he found them to be too awkward and uncomfortable to use while keyboarding. I am wondering if you have suggestions of other activities that I could use the FingerWeights for...?"
Response from FingerWeights Resident OT: "Here are some suggestions of activities to do while wearing the FingerWeights. See if it’s less awkward for him to wear the FingerWeights on alternating fingers rather than all fingers. Try placing the FingerWeights in the proximal position rather than distal position on the digits. 
Try putting the FingerWeights on only digits 2 and 4 or on digits 3 and 5 during keyboarding or the other activities listed below.  
If working on the Three Jaw Chuck or Pad to Pad grasps, you can just place the FingerWeights on only digit 2 to see if it feels less bulky to your student. 
Try having him wear the FingerWeights while retrieving small manipulatives from a resistive material. I prefer using dried pinto beans as the resistive material as they are smooth (unlike rice which can be sharp), they tend to remain intact for a very long time, they’re not too small to get easily lost, and they make a pleasing sound when raked through by hand.  As for manipulatives, I’ve used fancy erasers, bolts, washers, decorative glass pebbles, smooth polished gems or stones, and decorative acrylic shapes. The Dollar Tree has some pretty decorative acrylic shapes for autumn right now.  If using this activity, get a nice strong plastic bin with at least 4 buckle latches and weather-stripping inside the lid so if the box ever topples, you won’t be sweeping up 8 pounds of pinto beans.  The box in the picture is a Ziploc WeatherShield box; I don’t know the size as it’s in the therapy gym. Manipulating the latches gives good proprioceptive input, too. 
I always have my patients use hand sanitizer before, and after this activity. 
Have him pop large and small bubble wrap while wearing the FingerWeight on digit 1. It’ll work on strengthening and his lateral grasp. I prefer the Duck brand bubble wrap over the Walmart brand in terms of popping quality. 
Organizing a junk drawer: have a plastic bin full of the contents of a junk drawer and have a drawer organizer that he can sort the pens, NON-sharpened pencils, highlighters, erasers, rubber bands, paperclips, etc. into. Office Depot and Staples used to sell a nice drawer organizer with removable dividers so I could configure the spaces to focus on problem-solving and such. 
Have a bin of D-cell batteries and flashlights. Have him put the batteries in the flashlights. Have him take out the batteries when finished, as the batteries can leak if left in a flashlight for a long time. You can mix up two different brands of flashlights to work on problem-solving as the parts won’t fit together.  It’s a good activity to work on cylindrical grasp and spherical grasp, too. (Ignore the battery tester components in this picture; some of my handy elderly gentlemen really enjoy it, but it wouldn’t be relevant to your student yet.)
You can buy foreign coins by the 1/4 pound on EBay. Scatter them on a boot tray and have them pick them up and sort them by colors (gold, brown, silver) into a 3-divided container (you can get at Dollar Tree).  I use a boot tray for this activity because the surface makes it easier to pick up the coins from. It’s very frustrating to pick up coins from a flat surface.  (Ignore the velcro strips; it's for another activity that my female patients adore.). The foreign coins are interesting, and have different sizes, weights, and textures around the rim. And many of them have the neatest images, like the cool critters on the New Zealand coins.  
Instead of sorting the coins into 3-divided container, you can use a combination coin safe.  I see stores now have a plastic combination safe, too. The one I have is metal and I put a piece of rubberized shelf liner on the bottom inside so the coins dropping in make a muffled sound rather than an annoying clanging sound. This activity involves more in-hand manipulation as he tries to get the coin into the slot. The bonus is at the end, he can open the safe’s combination lock, which is a good skill to work on as middle schoolers on up need competence in this skill. 
Playing Connect Four while wearing the FingerWeights. 
Sorting letter tiles while wearing FingerWeights, working on school skills at the same time. 
Inserting pens in a canvas roll-up pencil case while wearing the FingerWeights. He may use his other hand to stabilize the canvas roll, thus working on weight-bearing with the other extremity at the same time. Handmade Canvas Pencil Roll Wrap 36/48/72 Holes, Multi-use Roll Up Pencil Case Large Capacity Pen Curtain for Coloring Pencil Holder Organizer (72-Slots, Black)
Playing apps on a tablet like Ant Smasher (which unfortunately now has longer, full-page ads but at least it still does have different skill levels and satisfying squish sounds) or one of the music piano apps while wearing the FingerWeights. Great for eye-hand coordination and proprioceptive input. 
The FingerWeights can get wet!  Have him work on wringing out a bunch of wet washcloths or washing clean plastic bowls and plates at the sink.  He can even do this while standing on a balance pad to work on his standing balance at the same time. 
To demonstrate progress by activity grading or activity modification in your paperwork, this is an EXCELLENT reference:
Page 114 from the book: Activity Analysis, Creativity And Playfulness In Pediatric Occupational Therapy: Making Play Just Right, by Heather Miller Kuhaneck, Susan L. Spitzer, Elissa Miller, 1st Edition (2009).
There are many, many more activities to be done with FingerWeights." 
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