Torn Rotator Cuff – one patient’s story. . .

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Thomas M. Clark, DDS practicing his new skills
Thomas M. Clark, DDS practicing his new skills on a simulated patient, after physical therapy.

Here’s a snippet from an inspiring blog by Tom Clark about his recovery from a Torn Rotator Cuff. We see many people starting over with their handwriting tasks and recovering from difficult surgery is just one example:

Handwriting For Heroes presents a 6 week long series of work book pages similar to the ways we were taught in elementary school, but written and designed for adults. Through the lessons of loops and swirls, coloring and copying; the authors provide you with exercises that strengthen both the fine motor muscles as well as the hand eye coordination needed to write. Just like the McGuffey Readers of the old days the repetition is not idle, most of the sentences that you copy offer encouraging words to brighten your day and strengthen your resolve.

I faithfully went through the book from cover to cover, and I can say that the improvement in my hand skills was dramatic. I still write like a doctor, but less so than before my surgery.

I give the book my highest recommendation. It should be on the list of must haves for anyone going though something similar to my experience.

You can follow Thomas. M. Clark, DDS and his ongoing recovery on his Facebook page as well as his blog.

Handless 7-year-old wins national writing competition

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Virginia first-grader Anaya Ellick, 7, has such good handwriting, she beat out 50 other youngsters from around the country to win a national handwriting contest.   Please read the full story here

Thixotropic, a Quality Pen for Arthritic Writers

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From time to time, we will feature posts about products and ideas that we think will help people with handwriting issues.  View the full Kickstarter campaign here

Thixotropic, a Quality Pen for Arthritic Writers

by Chad Wooters

A fine writing instrument elegantly designed for the specific needs of people with arthritis, hand pain, or tremors.

A fine writing instrument elegantly designed for the specific needs of people with arthritis, hand pain, or tremors.

About this project

THIXOTROPIC – A PEN TO WRITE WITH STYLE AND EASE

My wife has had arthritis since she was 13. For years she has tried all kinds of pens with foam grips, ergonomic shapes, etc. These don’t work. What does work are “Super Big Fat Pens”. Working users of weighted and wide barrel pens, I have designed a fine writing instrument specifically to meet the needs of people with arthritis – people who also value quality and appreciate aesthetics

Apart from its therapeutic value, a Thixotropic pen does not look like a medical device. Its elegantly curved profile and sleek black finish provides an attractive alternative to slide-on plastic pencil grips, foam tubes, odd “ergonomic” shapes, and mass market pens.

Thixotropic pens are fine writing instruments that patients can proudly use to recover their joy and pleasure of handwriting. Even if you do not have arthritis, this jumbo pen will be a sexy and unique addition to your pen collection.

The TECHNICAL STUFF

Several studies have shown that grasp patterns do not significantly influence handwriting speed or legibility. With a big fat pen, patients can choose the grip style best suited to them instead of “ergonomic” shapes that force their fingers into the standard dynamic tripod grasp. Using the Thixotropic pen, occupational therapists can guide patients to adopt comfortable grip postures that reduce concentrated pressures on the distal and proximal interphalangeal joints and relieve symptoms of fatigue.

Alternative Grips Using the Thixotropic Pen

Alternative Grips Using the Thixotropic Pen

Thixotropic pens solve the two main components that interfere with handwriting performance. First, their wide tapered grip area is approximately 1-inch (2.54 cm) in diameter. Most patients who have difficulty with grasping and/or pinching find this size easier to hold than other commercially available pens. The slightly textured powder-coat finish prevents the pen from slipping. Second, internal weights can be adjusted to alter the pen’s center of gravity. A forward balance passively holds the pen’s point to the writing surface so that patients are not required to exert excessive pressure. Thixotropic pens use a refillable Monteverde ballpoint ink cartridge that reduces friction between the pen’s tip and the writing surface. Less force is needed for fluid writing motions.

“YOU WILL NEVER AMOUNT TO ANYTHING IF ALL YOU WANT OUT OF LIFE IS A PEN!” 

A little background about me: For spending money my brother and I weeded Iowa soybean fields manually with garden hoes. It was hot, tedious labor and my 16 year old brother, tried to break the monotony by talking about the new car he was going to buy with his “bean-walking” money. When he was done elaborating on his plans, he asked me how I planned to spend my money.

As a nine year old, my wants were simple. I wanted a pen. Not just any pen though. I wanted the Flair UltraFine felt-tip which was introduced to the market around 1974-75. With its sharp, thin, and decisive line, it was something I just had to have. My brother didn’t see it that way. If all I wanted out of life was a pen, then as far as he was concerned, I wouldn’t amount to anything and he told me as much, right there in the middle of a field under the hot summer sun. I cried all the way home.

Since then I have drawn portraits with sepia taken directly from squid ink sacs and written love poems with a gold-tipped Mont Blanc. While there is no ‘perfect’ pen, each mark-making task calls for the most fitting tool. This is a pleasure I wish to extend even to those for whom the act of writing can be painful and difficult. This project matters and makes the world a little bit more elegant and joyful.

Please pledge your support.

Risks and challenges

WE’VE ALREADY STARTED!

Much of the ground-work for this project has already been completed. Users of the commodity pen that inspired this project have provided extensive feedback about their wants and needs for a premium product. The essential therapeutic features have been identified and incorporated into the prototype.

THE PEOPLE ARE IN PLACE!

Most of the project partners have already been identified. The parts will be manufactured by a Chicago-based precision machine shop with CNC capacities. A local not-for-profit that provides employment for the disabled will perform the final assembly and packaging. The supply chain for the advancing and retraction mechanism and ink cartridges has been secured.

ALL WE NEED IS YOU!

The scheduled ship date of final product to Kickstarter backers is expected to occur around August 1, 2016. The production schedule will be as follows:

April 1 to April 30 – pre-production prototypes to optimize mass production processes and for package design.

June 1 to July 30 – Initial production run of loose parts. Order packaging.

August 1 to August 31 – Assemble parts into final product and consumer packaging.

 

Feedback from Hand Therapy Week 2015

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Handwriting for Heroes, 3rd Edition
Handwriting for Heroes, 3rd Edition

It is our greatest privilege to give back to the Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) community through our participation in the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) sponsored Hand Therapy Week (June 2015).  As part of this, LHP gave away 30 copies of Handwriting For Heroes to randomly chosen participants of HTW 2015.

Porter Cole writes:

I wanted to share some feedback we received from an ASHT member. Please see below:

From Stacy Hite:

I received an unexpected gift for participating in Hand Therapy Week this year. Loving Healing Press, Inc. (www.lovinghealing.com) sent a copy of Handwriting for Heroes: Learn to Write with Your Non-Dominant Hand in Six Weeks. The book has been so much fun! It was a resource for my patients that I did not know was available. More importantly, I felt my participation in Hand Therapy Week was noticed and important, which inspires me to continue to contribute.

Advice for teenager with recent arm amputation

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Question:  Any advice for teenager with recent  arm amputation in regards to a  “one-handed word processing” program

Answer: The Dragon Naturally Speaking software is VERY good and VERY accurate once you train your voice to it.

The iPhone or iPad voice recognition is also fairly accurate if you annunciate your words clearly.

Many patients use a software program prior to regaining proficiency with handwriting in the previously non-dominant hand.
Thanks for the question,
Katie Yancosek

What can I do to improve after completing Handwriting For Heroes course?

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Handwriting for Heroes, 3rd Edition
Handwriting for Heroes, 3rd Edition

We love to get questions from readers:
Recently someone asked about what to do to keep writing after she completed the entire Handwriting for Heroes workbook. What a WONDERFUL question! This question means two important things: (1) she finished the program successfully and (2) she wants to write MORE!

A few of our writing activity suggestions include

  1. Copy a favorite quote, poem, or spiritual mantra each day. *You can choose a new one each day, or copy a favorite until you have it memorized!*,
  2. Copy a new recipe onto a large notecard and build your recipe library,
  3. Write a card to a friend or family member
  4. Buy a lovely journal and start to jot down your thoughts, dreams, ideas each day,
  5. Use that same lovely journal and write down 3 things each day that you’re grateful for
  6. Create a handwriting time capsule and mail it to yourself or a family member with a note on the envelope that states the approved OPEN date (it’s fun to make it at least 5 to 10 years in the future)
  7. Turn on an instructional or inspirational video on YouTube and take notes (*if you need to pause the video so you can keep up, feel free. There are SO many things to learn*)
  8. Copy down the lyrics of your favorite inspirational song
  9. Feel free to go back through Handwriting for Heroes and re-do any of the homework activities that interest you.

Yours truly,

Katie Yancosek

 

Handwriting for Heroes 3rd Ed. now available!

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Thanks to the feedback we have received from everyone on the earlier editions of Handwriting For Heroes, we are pleased to announce the 3rd Edition. This edition is available now directly from the publisher.

$22.95

Amazon.com now stocks the 3rd Edition .  Bookstores can order direct from the publisher or from New Leaf Distributing.  H4H remains the only program specifically directed towards adult re-learners.

Highlights of the 3rd Edition include

  • Revised and updatd exercises structured for either cursive or print (manuscript) re-learning.
  • Positive psychology exercises to promote optimism and
    resiliency in your daily life.

As always, we invite Certified Hand Therapists to request a complimentary evaluation copy to learn whether Handwriting For Heroes is right for your clients.  Write to victor@LHPress.com and be sure to include your complete mailing address.

Positive Psychology and Rehab

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New: Positive Psychology Exercises in H4H 3rd Edition

Handwriting for Heroes, 3rd Edition
Handwriting for Heroes, 3rd Edition

In addition to the ‘Daily Dozen’ exercises, the 3rd edition of Handwriting for Heroes includes a special ‘Baker’s Dozen’ created by Dr. Amanda Sammons, an Army occupational therapist. This newly developed section helps you cultivate a positive attitude and “MIGHTY Mindset” throughout your course of recovery and handwriting skill development. Edward George Bulwer Lytton said, “The pen is mightier than the sword”. Writing is a very powerful tool, and gains more strength when coupled with a positive attitude to influence the thoughts behind your writing. The ‘Baker’s Dozen’ offers positive psychology exercises to promote optimism and resiliency in your daily life. One of the primary aims of positive psychology is to help people to discover, explore, and improve on their personal strengths. This can be done through a variety of deliberate exercises to train your brain to attend more to your positive experiences and focus less on the negative ones. Throughout this program you will complete a positive psychology exercise each day.

The word MIGHTY is used as a mnemonic to help you remember each of the positive psychology exercises that you will learn during your journey to change hand dominance.

M: Mindfulness
I: Improve your signature strengths
G: Gratitude
H: Happiness advantage
T: Three good things
Y: You at your best

Each week focuses on a different aspect of positive psychology. Apply each to your day-to-day life regardless of where you are in the process of changing your hand dominance. In fact, these exercises should become part of your daily routine for you to continually cultivate a positive attitude and mighty mindset.

We welcome your feedback at www.handwritingforheroes.com – Kristin, Katie, and Amanda

 

 

Relearning print writing – new for 3rd Edition!

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Cursive writing is easier than printing from motor and perceptual standpoints. Learning cursive writing also diminishes the challenge of having even spaces between printed letters. However, many have requested that the 3rd edition include instructions and visual demonstrations on PRINT writing. We have answered your request. To keep the workbook a reasonable length, we have placed both a print and cursive example at the top of each exercise page. Please feel free to do both or select the type/style of writing you wish to master and stick to it. Where space was limited, we placed the print example in parenthesis.

Handwriting for Heroes unique side-by-side approach for print and cursive retraining.
Handwriting for Heroes unique side-by-side approach for print and cursive retraining.

We welcome your feedback at www.handwritingforheroes.com – Kristin, Katie, and Amanda

Meet Amanda Sammons – our newest collaborator on Handwriting for Heroes

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Amanda_Sammons_400Amanda Sammons is an officer in the Army Medical Specialist Corps. She graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in athletic training, from Shenandoah University with a Master’s of Science degree in occupational therapy, and from Baylor University with a Doctor of Science degree in occupational therapy. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband.

Amanada’s contributions to Handwriting for Heroes: Learn to Write with your Non-Dominant Hand in Six Weeks, 3rd Edition include positive psychology exercises.  Her ‘Baker’s Dozen’ offers positive psychology exercises to promote optimism and resiliency in your daily life. One of the primary aims of positive psychology is to help people to discover, explore, and improve on their personal strengths. This can be done through a variety of deliberate exercises to train your brain to attend more to your positive experiences and focus less on the negative ones.

We’ll be exploring more about the positive psychology exercises in the coming weeks running up to the release of the new and expanded 3rd Edition.