Physical Rehabilitation Medicine/Toy design focus


Hello. I am the mother of a daughter who has low muscle tone. I have an idea for a toy that I hope will help with her fine motor control. I need to design pieces for this toy that would best benefit her by strengthening her fingers and improving her fine motor skills.

I want to make a building toy where you can simply squeeze one end into a hole or shaped cavity in the other. Or, I also have thoughts of a piece having a tab on each side, and you squeeze the piece to fit the tabs into the slots on the other piece. (Sorry about the poor description.)

Can you tell me ways to make the pieces connect that would be of best benefit to her muscle tone and fine motor control? This is the first time I've tried to explain this, so please let me know if this makes sense to you.

I would first put her into a pediatric occupational therapy program to try that.  Lots of times it comes down to core strengthening and various movement disorders, etc.  As far as the toy goes, it sounds like you are on the right track.  Fine motor dysfunction with prehension patterns is common and can be addressed with exercises involving both the intrinsic AND extrinsic muscles of the hand.  Your ideas on toys sounds like they will primarily address the intrinsic...which are easier to strengthen.  Extrinsic muscles of the hand are those that bend the fingertip and middle joint in the hand.  Wider grip activities will address those.

You really should see a pediatric OT somewhere to start and get their opinion...I hope this helps.  

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Brian Neville, OTR/L, CWCE


I can answer questions about both conservative and post-operative rehabilitation for UPPER extremity injuries. These include but are not limited to: fractures, tendon repairs, tendon transfers, nerve repairs, lacerations, tenolysis procedures, TFCC injuries, repetitive motion disorders, reconstructive procedures. I have an advanced knowledge of UPPER extremity anatomy and industrial rehabilitation. I have extensive splinting skills for injuries to the upper extremity. Although not a physician or a surgeon I have worked closely with world renowned upper extremity specialists for over 10 years. I can give general information on what some of the most common upper extremity surgeries involve. I can reference those procedures as well. PLEASE DON'T ASK ME QUESTIONS ABOUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE NECK, SHOULDER, ARM/HAND. I'M NOT QUALIFIED AND KNOW ABSOLUTELY ZERO ABOUT BACKS/HIPS/KNEES/ANKLES/ETC. THANK YOU!!!


10+ years working closely with orthopedic and hand surgeons and their patients. I have treated patients with small lacerations to major reconstructive procedures. My knowledge base includes both conservative and post-operative rehab protocols and care for upper extremity injuries. I have treated patients all the way from day 1 post-op to return-to-work status.

Kentucky Occupational Therapy Association American Society of Hand Therapy National Nurses in Business Association Roy Matheson and Associates

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Occupational Therapist former Certified Hand Therapist (license currently inactive) Deep Physical Agent Modalities Instructor Certified Work Capacity Evaluator

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