Finger strength training

I may have found a little exercise to help Orangeboy kill two birds with one stone. The two birds being: 1. his tendency to bite and pick violently at his fingernails and cuticles and fingers, and 2. his tendency to have a weak grip and weakness in his hands in general.
Orangeboy usually can't open a jar even if it has been previously opened. He often can't manage to open a snap top like on a syrup bottle, squeezable jelly, etc. He struggles and struggles to pop open a soda can. He struggles with door knobs, twist locks on door knobs, clips, latches, and fasteners of various kinds, and snaps on his jeans. These things were understandable when he was three or four of five, but now that he is ten years old it is a little frustrating for him and his antagonists. So a few days ago when a Sunday school teacher gave him several strands of yarn, I was a little excited to discover that a certain activity might be helpful for all of these challenges.

When Orangeboy was given the yarn strands in Sunday school, he sat and twisted, wadded and knotted them in his hands. After the yarn was transformed into a large tangled wad, Orangeboy spent the worship service time trying to untangle it all again. He picked and pulled at it for awhile and then I showed him (discreetly) that he would have to first loosen the knots and then carefully pull the strands apart. Orangeboy sat for about half an hour picking at knots and loosening and untangling the yarn. I joined in to help (because I was sitting there and couldn't stand it any longer) and we finally got all the strands seperated. It was after helping untie those tight knots that I realized it takes some manual strength and dexterity to do that, AND that Orangeboy had sat still and quiet during the whole service and concentrated on picking at something other than his fingers!

Maybe next time when Orangeboy may have to do some sitting and waiting, I'll give him a tangled bunch of yarn and let him practice strengthening his fingers and hands while giving his nails and cuticles a break.


  1. Great discovery! I love when circumstance and need meet and by accident you have a perfect therapeutic tool!

  2. Yes, what a terrific way to keep the hands busy.

    The Sunday School teacher must have a lot of insight.

    (I used to pick at my fingers too, but probably not violently).

    By the way there are some good Amazon books in the sideline, especially Arnie and his School Tools, the Art of War and Weapons of Choice. Why, some of them are even free!

  3. Thank you, everyone. I so appreciate your validation!

  4. Further to the validation:

    Are there any crafts which Orangeboy can practise at school or home?

    One of the crafts I have been reading about since yesterday is called Lanyards/Scoobiedu (depending on whether you live in America or Europe). It is basically making knots into bracelets.

    If Orangeboy is very visual, he might find the YouTube videos helpful. Here is the Square Stitch from the Lanyards blog. I am sure that you and he can break them up into bits.

    Making tight knots is a contrast, of course, to the loosening he had to do with the wool.

    Here is more of a beginner's site with verbal instructions:


    And there is a forum there too.

    (Again most of the forum is in Dutch, so find the English forum. I'm sure you can find an English forum should it catch your eye/interest).

  5. I am going to see about borrowing the yarn idea. my newly turned 10 year old son is back to biting his shirt and what nails-he does not have any. This has been an issue since he was a baby and though we have tried chew tubes the school says is makes him "different" or they are "distracting". But with all the flu stuff going around and a son who definitely needs oral input, I will suggest the yarn idea. Gum, other sour candy doe snot do it for him neither does hte velcro on his desk.


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