Today I have the exciting opportunity to share with you about a therapeutic fine motor tool from ARK Therapeutic called the Tran-Quill Pen and Writing Set.
My goal with this post is to walk you through the benefits of using this vibrating writing tool, as well as highlight all the different ways you can use it therapeutically with the children in your life. This post is sponsored by ARK Therapeutic, however, all opinions are my own.
Guess what? We are hosting a GIVEAWAY at the end of this post! So be sure to pin this post for future reference AND make your way to the end so you can enter the giveaway. Alright, let’s get to it!
YOUR GUIDE TO ARK THERAPEUTIC’S TRAN-QUILL PEN WRITING SET
1. The Textured Z-Vibe Handle That Turns Into a Pen, Pencil, or Crayon
As you may remember from my other ARK Therapeutic post last month, the Z-Vibe is a vibratory tool that is used to provide varied sensory input for therapeutic use. The Z-Vibe was originally designed for use in oral motor therapy to help build speech, feeding, and oral sensory skills needed for everyday function. However, it has now been INGENIOUSLY reinvented to help students with their fine motor development and handwriting skills!
Just as you can twist in various tip attachments to each end of the Z-Vibe in order to work on different mouth skills, you can also use different Tran-Quill tip attachments to help with writing and concentration! To activate the vibratory feature of the Z-Vibe handle, simply twist the knob end of the handle in a clockwise direction until it begins vibrating. To turn it off, twist the knob counterclockwise until the handle is no longer vibrating. Just like the Z-Vibe, the Tran-Quill Pen handle comes in a variety of colors, and there are several tip attachments available to make it an extremely diverse fine motor tool.
So why a vibrating pen? Glad you asked.
Vibration in general provides a particular kind of sensory input to the nervous system that is known to be calming, focusing, and organizing. Vibration to the hand and fingers in particular can help “wake up” those hands that have low muscle tone or low sensory awareness (also known as “low registration”). The cool thing about this Tran-Quill pen is that, unlike squiggle writers, the vibration does not affect one’s ability to write with control. I was actually kind of shocked at how non-squiggly the pen was the first time I tried it with the vibration turned on. Watch this short video clip below to see what I mean:
2. The Tran-Quill Pen Writing Tip Attachments:
• Pen Tips. Simply twist in the color of your choice – black, blue, red, or green — and get right to writing.
• Pencil Tips. Twist the yellow pencil adapter into the Z-Vibe tip and then push in the pencil tip of your choice. FYI, these are regular pencils, not colored pencils. Mini pencil sharpener included.
• Crayon Tips. Twist in the crayon adapter and then push in the crayon color of your choice. Peel back the paper and sharpen the crayons as needed (mini crayon sharpener included).
If you are working on pencil grasp with a child, you can double up on the benefits of these tip attachments by using them on their own, without connecting them to the Tran-Quill Pen. Remember, shorter writing implements promote a more mature grasp (this is one of my top tips for helping kids learn to hold their pencil!), so don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try them on their own for additional fine motor practice!
• Weighted Tip. Adding weight to the end of a writing implement provides increased sensory input to the hand and can be helpful for students who write with too little or too much pressure, or who demonstrate overall poor fine motor control. Additional weight (especially when combined with the vibration) can also help increase focus when there is a need to pay attention and filter out extraneous stimuli.
• Bite-n-Chew Tips. The Tran-Quill Pen writing kit includes three Bite-n-Chew tips. Have you ever known a “chewer”? You know, that kid who chews on everything? Chews their pencil to splinters, chews the strings on their sweatshirt, and chews the top off their water bottle. That chewing may actually be their body’s way of trying to calm, focus, organize, and regulate itself, so that means these Bite-n-Chew tips might be REALLY helpful for them! It can help them focus and calm their body, while also preventing them from destroying their personal belongings. Score!
4. Tran-Quill Pencil Grip:
• ARK’s Butter Grip. ARK has this cool pencil grip called a “Butter Grip.” It’s named after the OT who invented it (I bet you were wondering about that, weren’t you?) and can be used on the Tran-Quill pen or pencil. I’ve also been able to use it on an iPad stylus during therapy sessions. The Butter Grip helps place the fingers in a natural “rounded” position while grasping the pencil, as opposed to hyperextending the joints in the fingers. This also helps open up the web space (that fleshy area between your thumb and index finger) to encourage a more dynamic writing position for the fingers.
You’ll notice in the photo that the child has a natural tendency to hyperextend the thumb (the IP joint) and press the pencil into the underside of the index finger (stabilizing on the PIP joint with flexion) in order to compensate for fine motor weakness. In addition to working on strengthening the fingers and web space, I have been using the Butter Grip as a means of encouraging practice of improved finger position, as well as extension of the wrist as opposed to wrist flexion which leaves the hand “floating” while writing (which is where this student started out). In case you’re wondering, the iPad app being used in the photo is the wonderful Dexteria Jr!
So, are you ready for a giveaway?
ARK Therapeutic has graciously offered to team up with Mama OT to give ONE lucky winner a FREE Tran-Quill Pen gift set! This includes the Tran-Quill Pen (Z-Vibe handle in the color of your choice and the Bite-n-Chew tips), PLUS the pencil tips, crayon tips, weighted tip, and Butter Grip. Basically, everything you’ve read about in this post. WOW!
This ARK Therapeutic Z-Vibe Giveaway will run from 12:00am PST on 5/27/2014 to 12:00am PST on 6/3/2014.
Enter for your chance to win (and earn multiple entries!) by submitting your entry in the Rafflecopter entry form below. Please be sure to read the terms and conditions in order to make sure your entry is valid.
Would you like to earn a discount on ARK Therapeutic products? ARK has created a coupon code exclusively for Mama OT readers…hurray! Earn 10% off storewide at http://arktherapeutic.com with the code MAMAOT10 between now and August 1, 2014!
A big THANK YOU! to ARK Therapeutic for creating this giveaway opportunity. I hope you find these fine motor tools to be helpful for you and the kids in your life. Best of luck to all of you who enter the giveaway!