By: Debby Schwartz, Orfit Product and Educational Specialist North America, Physical Rehabilitation
I recently donated a box of demonstration splints to the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Daytona State University in Daytona Beach, FL. Shirish Lala, Academic Clinical Coordinator of the program and class instructor was delighted and wanted to incorporate these immobilization and mobilization splints into his class on orthotic fabrication. We collaborated together in order to conduct an online class using Adobe Connect so that the students and I could see each other in real time. Students actively participated by describing each individual splint: what joints it immobilized, what motions it allowed and possible diagnoses that might benefit from wearing it. I offered commentary about the material characteristics and properties for each splint. For example: why some splints might require more rigid material (against increased tone), why some splints might require more conforming material ( on the dorsum of the hand and over bony prominences) and why a specific splint might be made of a thicker or thinner material. The students nailed many of the possible diagnoses for resting hand splints, wrist thumb spica splints, wrist cockups- both volar and dorsal, elbow splints and others.
More challenging for them was figuring out what a selection of mobilization splints might accomplish. The students learned a little bit about the differences between dynamic, functional and static progressive orthoses through this process.
Towards the end of the class, I demonstrated two methods of orthotic fabrication for a thumb short opponens orthosis, using Orficast in 6 cm width as well as an Orfit Colors NS precut gauntlet thumb post splint. The students rated the experience as highly informative and enjoyed hearing from professionals in the field. This was an innovative and easy to manage format for classroom instruction and quite fun as well!
This is an opportunity that I would be happy to repeat to any interested groups of therapists and/or students.