Instructables

Adapted Pen/Marker Holder

Featured
Picture of Adapted Pen/Marker Holder
Many disabilities such as cerebral palsy make it hard to grip a pen, pencil, or marker.  Some people can grab a pen in their fist and draw that way, but others lack the ability to keep their hand in a vertical configuration.  This means that can only hold a pen sideways; hence they can not use it.  This device is something we have used with several students.  It adapts to hold pens, markers, pencils, and even small paint brushes.  The student can then draw on paper.

These instructions will show a couple ways to make this, my preferred way (wood) and then a couple cheaper ways out of PVC for those with less money or tools. 
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Supplies & Tools

Picture of Supplies & Tools
Supplies (Preferred way):
1  x  36" dowel (I often use 1" or  7/8", based on individual)  (oak or pine, will make 5-6 holders) ($4)
Electrical tape or rubber tape
Hurricane Nuts ($5 for 50)  (or t-nuts with the smaller holes for screws)
1" Plastic headed thumbscrews (# 91185A554 @ Mcmaster-Carr) ($7.49 for 10)
Glue (Gorilla glue, E6000, etc.)
Spade bits
Sandpaper
Steel wire

Supplies (cheap way #1):
1/2" , 3/4", or 1" PVC pipe
"T" connectors
1/4-20 1" bolt    or 1/4-20 1" Thumbscrew
Electrical tape

Supplies (cheap way #2):
1/2" , 3/4", or 1" PVC pipe
"T" connectors
1/4-20 wingnut
1/4-20 1" bolt    or 1/4-20 1" Thumbscrew
Electrical tape
Duct Tape


Tools:  (Preferred way)
Drill press
Drum sander
Saw
Dremel
Pliers or ClampTite

Tools: (Cheap way #1)
PVC cutter or saw
1/4-20 screw tap
Drill

Tools: (Cheap way #2)
PVC cutter or saw
Dremel or File
Drill
caitlinsdad11 months ago
Maybe try and just put a rubber wedge driven in to hold the pen/pencil in the hole. It would save the cost of hardware if you are doing a lot of implements. Would the addition of a strap help someone with no gripping power, like the strap on the side of a camcorder? I imagine a big batch of oogoo would help form a more ergonomic or cushioned grip. Use pipe insulation foam pieces for the grips. Thanks for sharing.
shadowwynd (author)  caitlinsdad11 months ago
I like the rubber wedge idea, but I suspect they would get separated and lost more easily - the thumbscrews "stay in" unless deliberately removed.

A strap would work very well for some people. So far, I have not used one of these with someone who had no grip or a weak grip. Most of the people I have made these for have the opposite problem - Cerebral Palsy of a sort that involves very tight muscles. It is only with a lot of concentration and/or help that they can open their hand. Once the handle is inserted, the hand retightens and they then have a VERY good grip on on it.

If one needs a more ergonomic handle (for anything, not just these), I often use the foam bandaging tape (such as 3M Vetrap) or moldable material (Sugru or thermoplastic) shaped directly to the contours of their hand.

I do use pipe insulation when working with adults, but I shy away from foam pipe insulation because a lot of special needs children have oral motor texture issues. I have worked with many children who LOVE the texture of foam in their mouths. They mouth it and gnaw it (imagine a puppy with a Nerf football) and it quickly breaks down into pieces and becomes a choking hazard. When I do use pipe insulation around children (as a bumper or a soft handle), it is always completely covered with electrical tape to protect it.
Thanks, I did not know of these needs and conditions. One thing that I came across was I was shopping at the fabric store and a lady was browsing intently at rotary cutters. I had to offer my advice since I used them. Turns out she was thinking about getting one because her arthritis prevented her from using regular scissor because she couldn't grip them. But thinking about it, a rotary cutter probably needs some stabilizing wheels to keep it upright and maybe a two handed grip to guide it along with a press to cut. Idea for another ible.
shadowwynd (author)  caitlinsdad11 months ago
Assistive Technology is varied enough that there is never one solution. What works for one person doesn't work for the next.

Depending on what she was cutting, something like Adapted Scissors might work.  We have also seen people with arthritis use spring-loaded scissors with good success (the blades spring apart by themselves, which is the hardest part of using scissors).
I have never seen a stationary mounted set of scissors before. It might be clumsy to use if you have to gather and pull in the big bolt of fabric into the jaws of the scissor. Most long straight cuts are made by gliding a pair of really sharp scissors through the fabric with the jaws open. I will keep it in mind though.
rich_j_l11 months ago
What a great idea for enabling those with disabilities to get involved...top job!
Treasure Tabby11 months ago
Looks very handy. :)
redbadger13211 months ago
very cool, well done!
kerpowkid11 months ago
What an awesome idea! I saw that you work in Assistive Technology. What a blessing to use your creativity to help others who are challenged to do the things so many of us take for granted.
Kiteman11 months ago
Wow, those are excellent!
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!