Manipulation: Not the kind you think I mean

In-hand manipulation.  The ability to move an object from palm to fingertip and vice versa.  Think about it.  Or do it.  Place a penny in the palm of your hand and move it from palm to fingertip………….but don’t cheat.  Don’t use the table surface, or your shirt/chest, or your other hand to move it.  Use just your hand muscles (aka intrinsic hand muscles)  to get it from palm to fingertip.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Did you try it?  You may be thinking, okay…………..why do I need that skill?

Well, think about when you put money in a vending machine……… you slam the coin in with the palm of your hand?  No!!!!! You use in hand manipulation to move the coin from palm to fingertip and then you place it in the slot.  Where else do we use it?  Hmmmmmmmmmmm.  Grabbing a credit card out of your wallet, getting a string set up in your fingertips to string a bead or thread a needle or tie a shoe, getting your key set in your fingers to unlock a lock, putting an earring on, etc.

Our children need this skill, and we can help develop it.  Here are some great activities to help develop this skill:

  • Have your child pick up a bunch of pennies from the table, and then have him/her place them into a slotted container
  • Have your child hold tiny beads in his/her hand and then place them one at a time on a string
  • Have your child hold uncooked beans in the palm of his/her hand and slowly place them one at a time into a bottle.
  • Have your child place beads into an ice cube tray and take out, one at a time.

The hand is amazing……….it has so many parts……………….and engineered perfectly for so many things.

Get manipulating!

Mary L. Adolf, M.S., OTR/L


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Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS) Inc. provides advanced therapy staffing. The company integrates comprehensive therapy management with related services and program supports to streamline operations, reduce costs and improve classroom performance. The PTS approach combines: -Clinical skills with top-level case management abilities -Innovative technology solutions -Best practices honed from years in the classroom and the boardroom PTS also provides unparalleled supports to our therapists, creating a community which fosters growth and professional development.

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