Hesperian Health Guides

Aids for Reading, Writing, and Drawing

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HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 53: Education: At Home, at School, at Work > Aids for Reading, Writing, and Drawing


For children who have difficulty holding a pen, pencil, or brush, or turning the pages of a book, you can think of all sorts of adaptations. Here are a few examples:

Pencil holder with pencil attached to wrist band, hand drawing with pencil.
piece of leather or stiff cloth fastened to a stick, with space to force a pencil through the hole
Velcro or buckle
Pencil attached to hand with fabric, strip of fabric indicating where velcro should go.
strap around hand
Velcro (sticks-to-itself strap)
long thin pocket to hold pencil sewed onto strap


A thick handhold gives better grip and control

Piece of rounded wood with screw at one end, and pencil going through it.
pencil-sized hole
piece of a tree branch
screw to hold pencil in place
Pencil inserted in a wider tube.
piece of hose or tubing
Pencil inserted in a ball.
rubber ball
Paintbrush inserted in a ball.

For other ideas, see "Prevention of Injury for Persons with Loss of Feeling and Strength" and "Homemade Equipment to Help Eating.

PAGE TURNER (Design for head)

Girl with elastic headband attached to thin rod tied to eraser side down pencil propped on book.
metal rod attached to headband
pencil upside down
wire to keep pages straight
rubber eraser used for ‘grip’ to turn pages.
wood book support
Girl in wheelchair using page turner on elevated table, girl in wheelchair with lowered table, eating.
Tray table lifts up for reading and writing, and down for eating
For writing, a pencil or pen can be taped with the point down
Girl typing with stick attached to elastic headband on head.

Many children who have poor hand control and cannot write clearly by hand can learn to write well on a typewriter—using their hands or a stick attached to their heads. A typewriter may be a wise investment for an intelligent but severely disabled child—and may in time provide a way for her to earn money.

A pocket calculator is much cheaper than a typewriter. A disabled person who is good with numbers can do many different kinds of accounting jobs.

For more ideas on special aids and adaptations, see Chapter 27 on amputations, Chapter 9 on cerebral palsy, and Chapter 62 on special aids.

Lupito’s family was afraid to let him go to school. They thought the other children would tease him. Village rehabilitation workers convinced his family to let him go to school, and to also lead a CHILD-to-child activity with the schoolchildren. Lupito now attends school happily and does very well.
DVC Ch53 Page 502-1.jpg
Lupito at school...
DVC Ch53 Page 502-2.jpg
and at play.

This page was updated:19 Jan 2018