The very first blog...welcome! I'm starting with pencil grasp as handwriting is a very common reason OTs are asked to see school age children.
The way a child holds the pencil is one of the first components of handwriting that we look at. There is a predictable progression that most children follow from using their whole fist, to holding a pencil with a tripod grasp (that is, using their thumb, index and third fingers). Therefore, it is important to give your child an opportunity to try different grasps as their muscles develop and encourage age-appropriate grasps.
For effecient pencil control, OTs have for a long time looked for a dynamic pencil grasp (see photo below). The reason the dynamic pencil grasp is desirable is because the hand is positioned with an open web space (the nice circle made by the thumb and index finger) and it allows these fingers to move the pencil as required when writing. It is the preferred grasp for writing speed, control and letter formation.
Some grasps are seen as functional as they have the elements desired; an open web space; pencil held by first three fingers; stability of the 4th and 5th fingers. Some grasps are inefficient as a child is compensating for a lack of stability or applying too much pressure. This usually results in fatigue, pain, compromised writing speed, lack of mobility of the first three fingers and/or stress on the joints of the hand.
Can you see your child's pencil grasp below or have they got their own unique style?
It is not uncommon for a child to use lots of different grasps.
A few more things to consider:-
Teaching a dynamic grasp... I ask children to pinch the pencil, make a Harbour Bridge (coming from Sydney this is very appropriate) and to rest their wrist. I will discuss other ways to encourage a dynamic tripod grasp in future blogs.
Is your child using a functional pencil grasp? How do you prompt your child to hold their pencil?
*** EDITED*** Purchase a copy of the PENCIL GRASP REFERENCE SHEET HERE! MOST POPULAR PRINTABLE IN 2014.
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Hi, I'm Cindy and I am an Occupational Therapist. I enjoy working creatively with children to see them reach their potential. Read more about me here.
Disclaimer: The information on this site is general in nature and should be used for educational and entertainment purposes. The activities are safe for most children, however, you should consult an Occupational Therapist or health professional to address specific movement, sensory or other medical conditions. This blog does not replace formal therapeutic professional advice given by a health professional or medical practitioner. Reviews and endorsements of products will only be made based on my expertise and personal opinion; and deemed worthy of such endorsement. The opinions shared in sponsored content will always be my own and not that of the advertising company or brand. Content, advertising space or posts will be clearly identified if paid, affiliated or sponsored. Affiliate links may be found throughout this website in advertising. This means that if you follow through with a purchase from these links, Your Kids OT will receive a percentage of the sale. Your Kids OT undertakes to meet the requirements of the "Social Media Policy" as published by Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Further information about this policy can be found here.
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