What is Theraputty?
Theraputty is often used by Occupational Therapists and is resistive hand exercise material. Sort of like playdough but it isn’t sticky and won’t dry out.
It comes in various grades of firmness (or resistance) ranging from XX-soft to X-firm
Begin with the level of resistance/colour that your therapist recommends, or go softer rather than firmer. The level of resistance can be increased as hand strength improves.
The levels of resistance are colour coded as follows:
Theraputty takes the shape of whatever container it is in, and is often referred to as being “gravitational” – so just be careful to keep it on the table/work surface or in the tub as if it gets on carpet or into pockets it can be tricky to remove
Why use Theraputty?
It is often used in therapy (by Occupational Therapists, Hand Therapists, Physiotherapists and other professionals) :
- after hand injury
- to build hand strength
- to improve dexterity and fine motor
- It is often used in Special Education:
- to help improve fine motor for handwriting
- as a calming manipulative tool
- as a distraction/diversion tool
- as a fidget option
- to provide tactile sensory input
What do the experts say about Theraputty?
Theraputty is mentioned in loads of research articles, though most research is rehabilitation based and part of a larger therapeutic program. Even though it is often used in hospitals, clinics and as a tool in research there seem to be few specific studies on theraputty as a stand alone tool, especially in special needs.
Most professionals have exercise putty as an option available in their practice, and it is one of the most used items.
Many professionals recommend using exercise putty.
How is Theraputty a Gym for the Hands?
There are loads of ideas for getting the most out of your theraputty.
- roll a sausage with one hand
- roll a sausage with both hands
- use a pincer grip to make a sausage
- hide small objects (eg coins, counters, beads) in the theraputty and go on a treasure hunt to find the items. Make sure you count how many items you hide before starting!
- pop a ball of theraputty in the palm of your hand and squeeze the ball with just your fingers (eg holding a hammer)
- pop a ball of theraputty in the palm of your hand and squeeze the ball just using your fingers – keep the knuckles at the hand straight (eg holding a suitcase handle)
- pop a ball of theraputty in the palm of your hand and squeeze the ball using fingers and thumb
The above ideas are from the Ohio Medical Centre. Click here to get their pdf version to download.
What is Puttycise?
It is a patented set of tools designed to use specifically with theraputty, and is a recent addition to the occupational therapy range of treatment options.
The tools can be pushed pulled or turned through putty to produce specified exercises to stimulate functional activities (eg turning a knob, turning a key, twisting a cap etc).
The tools and exercises are easy to use. The set comes in a bag with instructions.
Puttycise is a helpful addition to the kit bag and extends the versatility and uses of theraputty.