--- "DO IT YOURSELF" ENTRY ------- A thermoplastic “hat” with an attached wire which is bent down around the face and under the chin. The switch is attached with Velcro to a small thermoplastic square at the end of the wire under the chin.
PURPOSE: To stabilize a switch for activation using jaw movements.
MATERIALS USED: Low temperature thermoplastic material, 18 inch x 6 inch sheet, preferably colored, stiff wire, such as hanger wire, about 20 inch long, plastic welder glue, pressure-sensitive Velcro hook and loop tape, 1 inch x 4 inch strip, TASH Cap Switch or other appropriate switch.
TOOLS: Splinting pan and water, heavy duty scissors, small clamps.
1.Draw and cut out two strips of thermoplastic material using the measurement guidelines above. If unsure of needed dimensions, make strips of paper the size which seems right and check for fit.
2.In the splinting pan and water, heat the strip that will be formed over the top of the head until it is soft, following manufacturer’s instructions. Let cool until it is comfortable to the touch, and form it over the head. Cut off excess material so it rests just above the ears.
3.Heat the second strip of material until soft, let cool until comfortable to the touch, and form it horizontally around the head from ear to ear. Cut off excess material. Bond this strip over the first strip according to manufacturer’s instructions.
4. Form a deep longitudinal groove in the center of the vertical strip by spot-heating the thermoplastic material with a heat gun and pressing the wire into it. Continue the groove downward into the horizontal piece of thermoplastic material where it is bounded with vertical piece. Remove the wire.
5. Shape the wire so it fits snugly into the groove with an extension long enough to curve under the chin. Apply the plastic welder glue into the groove, and then press the wire back into the groove. Clamp.
6. When dry, form the free wire extension into the desired position under the chin. Sandwich the end of the wire between two same-sized squares of thermoplastic material large enough to support the switch. Do this by softening the thermoplastic material in the splinting pan, applying plastic welder glue to the wire and then bonding the squares of thermoplastic material together over the wire.
7. Attach pressure-sensitive Velcro hook tape to the underside of the switch, and pressure-sensitive Velcro loop tape to the top surface of the switch support. Mount the switch.
Ways to Adapt this Activity
If salvia is a problem, protect the switch with a plastic cover (a plastic baggie will do).
Author: Sheryl Zelten, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, while working at Cotting School.