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  • Miss Farrah

Let's Talk Adaptive Scissors

Updated: May 22, 2022

It is that time of the year when school is getting ready to start, which makes it a great time to talk about different types of adapted scissors. I have picked the four types of adapted scissors that I use the most with my students to share with all of you.

Type #1 Loop Scissors

Loop scissors are a great tool to teach children how to open and close scissors. I like to use loop scissors with my students that have weak hand muscles to encourage hand usage. Having a student use loop scissors to snip different media (construction paper, straws, playdough, etc.) helps increase hand strength. It is also a great way to learn how to use both hands. One hand to hold scissors, and the second hand to stabilize the material being cut. Loop scissors can be found on Amazon or through companies that sell therapy equipment.

Type #2 Spring Loaded

Spring loaded scissors is similar to loop scissors, however they are a great tool in teaching children how to place fingers in the loops. The spring loaded scissors pictured below makes a great transition tool from loop to regular kid scissors. It has a small piece of plastic that acts as a spring, however it can be removed once a child gets comfortable with using the scissors. I also like using this type of scissors because they visually discriminate between the fingers holes making it easier to see where the thumb is placed. Sometimes I will go even further by adding a sticker or wiggly eyes as a visual cue for my students to know where to place their thumb. I find the spring loaded scissors are the most popular with my students because they look like regular scissors and much easier to use. The best part about using this type is that you can find them in most of the dollar stores.

Type #3 Push Scissors

These are perfect scissor for kids that love to cut but haven't yet mastered the scissoring skill. The Push Down Table Top Scissor design helps cut patterns and shapes without the frustration. I like this style to encourage engagement with the cutting activity for they are easy to use. When the student pushes down on these scissors the blades will close and then the spring will automatically reopen the scissors once the pressure is released, The scissor’s simple one-handed mechanism makes it ideal for both left-handed and right-handed kids. They also make a platform to use with the scissors allowing more support. This gives the child more options of using their whole hand, forearm, elbow, or whatever means necessary to operate. Working with your school occupational therapy department is a great way to ensure tools like this is being used if needed. They will be able to evaluate for tool placement and function.

Type #4 Switch Operated Scissors

I use switch operated scissors with my students diagnosed with physical and mental disabilities for they often have difficulty participating in activities of daily living (ADL). Luckily, there are many products and devices that can assist them with completing these routine tasks, including switch-activated scissors. With battery-operated scissors, students can create art and participate in classroom activities right along with their peers.

Cognitive and movement disabilities shouldn’t inhibit students from engaging in everyday activities. That’s why I am so happy they offer adaptive tools like battery-operated scissors as they help improve the lives of our students. With adaptive scissors, students are able to:

  • Exercise creativity: Whether we are making an art project, or a holiday gift the student can be actively involved.

  • Perform activities with ease: The student operates scissors with a hit of a switch. They make a variety of switches that can be individualized to meet the students needs. (Jelly bean switch, pillow switch to use with their head, and a pedal switch to operate with their foot, etc.) Just to name a few switches as there is many different options to trial. Again you will want to reach out to the therapy department to help with evaluating what the best type of switch to use and how to position it for access.

  • Learn real-life skills: When students learn how to use adaptive tools, they can apply those skills to their homes, schools and community environments.

  • Gain confidence: When my students successfully perform new tasks with switch operated scissors, they become more confident in themselves. This is evident by the big smiles that radiate from their faces, or the squeals of excitement we hear. Proud of their accomplishments as they should be.

  • Become more independent: Adaptive scissors help students to craft and cut paper with minimal assistance. Switch operated scissors can be a nice activity to increase peer interaction. I usually have children who want to help their peer by feeding the paper for the scissors to cut. This not only helps with participation but it teaches social skills to the whole class.

Again these switch adapted scissors can be purchased online through a therapy equipment company.

I hope you found this blog entry helpful as an introduction to a few different types of adapted scissors. Here is hoping everyone has a safe and wonderful school year! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding adapted scissors.

Miss Farrah

Would you like to know more about scissor skills? Check out my videos below, and don't forget to subscribe to Miss Farrah's Movement and Fun YouTube Channel for new content added periodically.

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