Types of Ther-A-Shapes TM

Ther-A-Shapes are air filled objects used for therapeutic purposes. They are constructed of 20 Mil PVC vinyl with a large air valve for rapid inflation and deflation. In areas of high stress, lap seam construction is utilized. Due to their resilient nature, they offer an enjoyable alternative to conventional equipment by providing increased sensory feedback. They can be used in obstacle course routes, group activities or individual treatments. Treatment ideas are described in the treatment ideas section of this website. Each piece can be adjusted to the desired level of firmness depending on the individualís need and activity. Ther-A-Shapes can be divided into five classifications: Air Tube, Air Pillow, Air Cylinder, Air Wedge, and Air Mattress.


These items are oblong pieces, which offer great versatility for treating individuals at different levels of motor development. The air tubes are more rectangular in shape than the air cylinder and offer more stability. They are also larger and constructed to withstand more vigorous activity such as bouncing. The large or medium air tubes are capable of supporting the weight of a therapist and client simultaneously. The air cylinders are suitable for infants and small children and make ideal positioning pieces, i.e. as an abductor roll between the legs, or back roll for side lying.

Air Tube                                               Air Cylinder


The air pillow is a square shaped piece, which provides more surface contact to the client than the air tube. It also allows for movement in two axes while maintaining a stable platform (as compared to a therapy ball) for therapeutic activities. The small pillow is ideal for the younger/smaller child while the large pillow will accommodate larger children or adults.
Air Pillow


These pieces are used primarily for static positioning and are not suitable for more vigorous activities such as bouncing or jumping. The air wedge offers the therapist several advantages over the traditional foam wedge. Because it is air filled, it is lightweight and relatively easy to move. Therefore, it is possible for one person to move the large air wedge within the treatment area. In order to move a foam wedge of similar size, two or more individuals might be required. Air wedges can be quickly deflated for transportation, they are ideal for the itinerant therapist who utilizes this type of equipment. They also provide a more comfortable resting surface because the wedge is able to compress and "mold itself" to the client. As a result, he/she is able to stay on the wedge longer without experiencing discomfort. The large wedge is an ideal surface for someone prone to skin breakdown.
Air Wedge


The air mattress is probably one of the few pieces of inflatable equipment, which will be familiar to the reader. Several types can be found in most equipment catalogs and they are available in several sizes and shapes. The major drawbacks to air mattresses are their cost and high degree of complexity. Most types require special blowers to keep them inflated, which are expensive and quite noisy to use.

Air Mattress

Comfaire Products has developed an air mattress, which eliminates many of the problems previously mentioned. This mattress costs less than most of the other types and can be inflated using any of the methods described in this handbook. The mattress consists of two chambers, an outer perimeter chamber and an inner flotation chamber. In order to increase the effectiveness of the mattress, the outer chamber must be firmly inflated first. This chamber stabilizes the mattress and provides a place for the therapist to sit. The inner chamber can then be inflated to any level of firmness. This item provides an excellent surface for rest and relaxation activities. The air mattress is available in two sizes; both are ten inches in depth. Because they can be easily inflated or deflated they are ideal for the clinic with limited storage facilities.