Monday, October 8, 2018

Custom Touch Sensitive Glove

To be in the field of AAC you need to have a 'large bag of tricks' … an assortment of 'things you can try' in the hopes that something will be a great fit for your students. It might not be an adaptation that works for your current students but it's comforting to know that it might just 'do the trick' for a future student. I've always been interested in motor access as it pertains to AAC. Recently I've been devoting a lot of energy to creating Animated Step-by-Steps® as they are a wonderful way to address a variety of goals (AAC, language, literacy) in a range of resources. I like the fact that they can be flexibly displayed on a range of options. One of these options is the iPad or android tablet using the Microsoft PowerPoint app. When using this option, the animations can be triggered in three ways:

  • swiping to the left with a single digit (may be difficult if the child is not able to isolate a   finger)
  • touching an imaginary vertical bar on the far rightof the screen
  •  using a bluetooth switch(that communicates wirelessly with the iPad or tablet). 

Recently, I have been giving some thought to physical adaptationsthat might provide more reliable access when using Animated Step-by-Steps on the iPad. In earlier days : )  (before technology), we made simple mitts that allowed us to isolate a child's index finger to better decipher where the child was pointing on their non-electronic communication display. 

Today a lot of attention is being directed toward accessing the iPad or Android table. Here is an exellent blog (OT's with Apps & Technology) by CarolLeynse Harpold, MS, AdEd, OTR/L, ATPthat offer numerous fantastic suggestions

When using the Microsoft PowerPoint App on an iPad/adroid tablet, the older solutions would work but a more elegant solution for the digital age might be a custom 'touchscreen compatible' glove. So …..consider using an adaptive glove with only one digit that has been made 'touchscreen compatible' (e.g., index finger or side of thumb). This might allow the child to swipe left more reliably without the distraction of other gestures being triggered inadvertently by the other fingers.  

You can purchase 'toddler size' cotton Eczema treatment gloves  ( and make one digit 'touchscreen compatible' by 
a)  adding 'Any Glove' liquid solution  ( on the  accessing digit (finger or thumb) of the cotton glove; 

b) embroidering conductive thread ( on the tip of one digit on the cotton glove. (Sparkfun, Adafruit, Sternalb are cited as brand names that are reputable sources of the thread)

Hope this suggestion proves helpful for your students!

…’til the next post …  (new posts every Monday)

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©2018 Carol Goossens’, Ph.D.