Category: Other Writing Aids

Spring-Grip Cylindrical Handle for Pointer & Drawing Implements

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Spring-Grip Cylindrical Handle for Pointer & Drawing Implements is a molded thermoplastic adaptive handle with a spring operated “gripper” which allows easy “click-in” and “click-out” mounting of dowel pointers, colored pencils, paintbrushes and other narrow ended tools.


  1. To enable those with severe motor impairments to hold a pointer.  Reinforces radial palmer grasp, making it especially beneficial for many students who exhibit a strong flexor pattern of the upper extremities, that is, those who attempt to grasp objects with a severely flexed wrist and adducted thumb.
  2. To enable those with severe motor impairments to draw and pain by mounting a thin marker, paintbrush, or colored pencil in the handle instead of a pointer.

The handle of this device is horizontal to compensate for the inability to adequately supinate the forearm (turn palm upward).  If a student can supinate his arm sufficiently, it may be preferable to simply build up the handle of a pointer by fitting a piece of cylindrical foam over it to require and reinforce supination.  The Spring-Grip Cylindrical Handle can be also held using a palmar-supinate grasp if used in conjunction with a vertical working surface.

Technical Specifications: 

1. Low temperature thermoplastic material, about 6 inches square pieces
2. Spring-operated door latch (located next to the bins of drawer handles at building supply stores)

Splinting pan or electric frying pan and water; heavy duty scissors; a dowel slightly smaller than the desired diameter of the device.

A 3 ½ inch (allowing for ½ inch overlap) by 5 inch rectangle of thermoplastic material makes an appropriate-sized handle for many primary school students. The most precise method is to first experiment with different sized dowels to discover which diameter is best for the student. Then use a measuring tape to determine the circumference of the dowel and add an additional ½ inch. The length of the dowel should be approximately 1 ½ inch longer than the distance from the outside of the index M.P. joint to the outside of the little finger M.P. joint.

1. Draw the appropriate size rectangle on the low rectangle on the low temperature thermoplastic material. Soften the material in the splinting pan and water, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and cut it out using heavy duty scissors.
2. While still soft, wrap one of the short ends of the rectangle around the spring-operated door latch, pressing it tightly around the metal extensions of the door latch without obstructing the operation of the latch.
3. Bond the long edges of the thermoplastic material together by overlapping the edges and pinching them together.

If preferred, the door latch can be attached to the side of the thermoplastic dowel using a small scrap of extra material.

If heavy pressure will be placed on the pointer or drawing implement, it be desirable to substitute an auto clamp for the spring-operated door latch. Auto clamps come in various sizes and have adjustable widths (accommodating various widths of pointers or drawing implements, including large markers). The disadvantage of the auto clap is that a screwdriver or dime is needed to change the implement (such as when switching marker colors). If an auto clamp will be used, make a dowel shape out of the low temperature thermoplastic material first using same measurements as above. Then use a small thin scrap of thermoplastic material to attach the auto clamp to either end or the side of the dowel.

Designer Unknown, discovered at Cotting School years ago.


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