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Assistive Devices

Assistive devices or technology is an umbrella term for devices that are designed or adapted for people with disabilities or elder people to perform “activities of daily living” (ADLs) or for rehabilitation purposes. Some individuals with dystonia and/or related neurological movement disorders can experience difficulty performing certain ADLs, such as writing, using cutlery, using computer and mobile devices and more. Below is a list of some of the assistive devices in the market to aid in everyday life for individuals with impaired motor ability or speech. There is also an infographic that summarizes some of the information below.

Writing

Steady Writing Pens and Pen-Holders:

User's hand writing with the Steady Write pen-holder
Steady Write® Pen-holder

These may be helpful for anybody with limited control of their hands. The attached base of the pen helps stabilize  your hand on the surface of the page. One of these products is the Steady Write®, which is a pen holder that can be used with its own refills or pens and pencils of similar size.

Price Range Purchase Links
 

$9-13

Steady Write from Amazon
Steady Write from the Elderstore
Steady Write from Maddak Ableware

Grip Support Pens and Pen-Holders:

Image of the PenAgain, an ergonomic pen designed to require minimal grip
PenAgain® ergonomic minimal grip pen

There are a variety of pens and pen holders on the market designed to support gripping for individuals who find gripping standard pens and pencils difficult. Among them is the PenAgain®, which has been designed to require minimal gripping.

Price Range Purchase Links
 

$5-$16

PenAgain from PenAgain.com
PenAgain pack from Amazon
Ring Pen from Amazon

Weighted Pens and Pen-Holders:

Image of hand holding a universal weighted pen holder
“Universal” Holder with a pencil

These pens and pen-holders help reduce hand tremors by weighing your hand towards the surface and increasing thickness to provide a larger surface area to enhance grip. Some of these holders are “universal holders”, meaning that they can be used with other round and slender tools such as toothbrushes and razors.

Price Range Purchase Links
 

$10 – 25

Weighted Universal Holder from the Elderstore
Weighted Universal Holder from Amazon
Thick pens from Amazon

 

Cooking Utensils

Adaptive Utensils:

Image of set of 4 adapted eating utensils that are ribbed to improve gripping
Adapted eating utensils with ribbed grips

Adaptive utensils are typically standard utensils that have been adapted with additional components to make gripping and using easier. Some of these adaptations include additional weight, thicker ribbed handles to improve grip, bands to tighten your hand against the utensil as well as utensils that are curved to make easier to direct towards your mouth. There are also options for “universal” grips handles and straps that can be applied to a variety of utensils and other tools such as toothbrushes.

Price Range Purchase Links
 

$10 – 25

Set of 4 Adaptive ribbed grip utensils from Amazon
Angled spoon from Amazon
Utensil Strap from Amazon

Stabilizing Utensils:

Image of Gyenno Spoon, a utensil device for counteracting hand tremors
Gyenno Spoon

These products are more advanced, using sensors to detect and counteract tremors in the user’s hand by moving the utensil in the desired direction. Two of the more popular stabilizing utensil products are the Gyenno Spoon and Liftware, which both can come with several utensil attachments.

Price Range Purchase Links
 

$180 – 200

Liftware from the Liftware store
Gyenno Spoon from Amazon

 

Clothing

Magnetized Clothing:

Image of a folded blue dress shirt made by MagnaReady, a clothing store that uses magnetic buttons.
MagnaReady dress shirt

individuals with limited fine motor skills may have trouble wearing clothing with buttons. There are several manufacturers of magnetic button clothing, such as MagnaReady.

 

Computer and Technical Aids

Large Button Keyboards:

Image of Visionboard 2 in white, a large button keyboard
Visionboard 2 in white

Standard computer and laptop keyboards can be difficult to use for individuals with impaired fine motor ability. There are some options for larger keyboards, such as the Chester Creek VisionBoard. Some of these keyboards offer other adaptations to be more ergonomic.

Price Range Purchase Links
 

$55 – 90

VisionBoard from AbleNet Inc.
BigKeys LX from Especialneeds.com

Screen Reader Software:

Screen readers are software applications that can view text on your device and generate a voice to read it for you. These applications also function as “text-to-speech” applications, where users can type what they want to say and have the reader communicate it for them. There are several free options available, such as:

Additional Links

Below are some links to online stores that specialize in selling assistive products:

 

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