In the world of speech and language therapy, we must do our best to identify items that work for our students, are affordable, and are rooted in evidence. At Speech Science, we will be reviewing these items truthfully to help you identify good products from the bad. If you missed our reviews on data collection applications for the iPad, click here to read about them.
Today, we look at DIGit Tape by Birdie. DIGit Tape is the brain child of Samantha Senack, a 20 year fashion design veteran turned inventor. Per Samantha, she came up with the idea of the DIGit tape because her daughter was a chronic thumb-sucker. She put her fashion design background to use and created the DIGit Tape. DIGit tape is made in the United States of America and its owner claims it is free of harsh chemicals. DIGit Tape is the only one able to print on the flexible, breathable, water resistant bandage.
Per the American Journal of Orthodontics, thumb sucking is a common habit occurring in about 17% of all children and it’s a definitive cause of dental irregularity. (Littlefield, 1952) This dental irregularity can carry on into adulthood if not treated. A quick Google search can identify hundreds of thousands of different ways to eliminate thumb sucking, which can include putting adverse flavors on the thumb, colorful tape, or calling attention to it. DIGit Tape falls under the category of a block for the habit.
Each pack of DIGit Tape runs $6.99 and comes with 24 tapes with 6 different designs. The designs range from Occupations, to Farms, to Dinosaurs, Sports, and More. The pieces of tape are just over 2 inches in length and each piece can stretch up to 7 inches before it broke.
I put two on myself and it fit snug around the finger and the thumb, it fit better than a Band-Aid. I could use my iPhone while wearing the tape and was able to text message and use my touch screen. As part of a real world test, I wore the tape to the grocery store. I was able to complete my shopping, pay, and load the vehicle without the tape wearing off. I believe the tape would survive a regular day of therapy or a school yard play fest.
I trialed it with my 4-year-old son as well. He left it on for about 90 minutes before he tore it off. He grew bored with it on his fingers and removed the tape easily. He liked the police officer and the doctor tapes in our trial box. When I showed him all the designs he wanted to try the dinosaurs and story telling ones of Little Red Riding Hood.
As a physical cue to not suck on your fingers, bite your nails, or pick at your fingers, it appears to be effective. I have a habit of nail biting during intense TV shows and the tape blocked me from being able to do so. The act of keeping it on the fingers could be difficult if you have a student who does not want to wear them. They will stretch and are removable and if used with a student who tends to eat or swallow foreign objects, this product could be swallowed.
DIGit tape founder Samantha Senack claims the tapes can be used as finger puppets during therapy as well. I did find that the tape could survive an extended period without losing its ability to stay on my finger. The colorful cartoons could serve as part of a social narrative about picking or thumb sucking. The cartoons are about a half inch in size and sit in the middle of the tape. This location is subtle enough that a classmate of the student wearing them may not notice that it is any different than a typical Band-Aid. This could cut back on bullying and the social stigmatism that comes with thumb sucking.
· Price $6.99 for 24 bandages means that for an SLP in the preschool with 5 thumb suckers, you may go through a pack every 2 and half days. This can be expensive. However, this product is in line price wise with other products.
· The choking hazard potential. This product should not be used by itself. It should be used in conjunction with therapy and under the adult supervision to ensure the safety of the student.
· The DIGit Tape is flexible and comfortable to wear.
· DIGit Tape could last hours under typical wear and tear without rubbing off.
· The cartoon designs are fun and engaging.
· The Tape can be used for a multiple of reasons including: thumb sucking, finger nail biting, picking of your fingers, and as part of story retell as needed.
· The tape is water proof and will withstand a typical preschool day in the classroom.
· The DIGit Tape did not interfere with my ability to access a touch screen.
Overall: 4/5. If the tape were to be in the $2-3 range, it would be a 5/5.
Littlefield, W. (1952). Thumb-sucking and its relationship to malocclusion in children. American Journal of Orthodontics, 293-300.