Blades and Scissors

Cutting and slicing are skills Cindy can access with the use of adaptive blades and scissors.

In Situ

Cindy's left hand grips a 4 inch square plastic paper cutter. Its blade is encased on one corner of the plastic square, while the hand holds the open corner as a handle. The design makes it safe and easy for Cindy's shorter fingers to cut in a precise line.


Cutting and slicing are skills Cindy can access with the use of adaptive blades and scissors. Fortunately, there are a number of models on the market that are not only accessible to someone with atypical hands, but also easier to grip and handle for many people with weaker grips or arthritis. Shown on this page are the paper cutter, the loop scissors, and the “Easy Action” Fiskars scissors she uses for daily workarounds. She bought the white square paper cutter years ago, prior to her heart attack, and it had been advertised for gift wrapping or cutting coupons or articles out of newspapers (it is made by a company named Giftco that has gone out of business). Her favorite of these items are the Fiskars scissors; she bought them on an adaptive device website at the recommendation of her Occupational Therapist, but they are also sold at sewing stores (marketed for their “cutting control and comfort”). They work well for her because they do not require the insertion of fingers to get them to work. In fact, they have received an “Ease-of-Use Commendation” from the Arthritis Foundation.

These tools are both labeled and understood as assistive devices and as devices that are generally more ergonomic, like the legendary legendary OXO brand. You can find the Fiskar scissors marketed both to the assistive technology market and also at craft stores and other places for their soft grip in general, no medical language attached. Sometimes accessibility can be accidental— and sometimes “universal” design can result from looking closely at so-called “special needs.” (For a pedagogical approach to these issues, see Sara Hendren’s class Investigating Normal.)