Ahh, the pencil grip. So many different types and sizes. We’ve all asked the questions -
“What is the perfect grip for my child?” or “Is my child’s pencil grasp ok?” or “Why does my child need this gadget that will most likely be thrown at me or their siblings?”
Let’s first understand the importance of why the pencil grip is a HUGE writing saviour!
Handwriting is an important fundamental skill used and needed by all children and a necessity for adulthood. The ability to produce fluent and legible writing is important for expressing, communicating, and recording ideas, as well as for educational development.
The consequences of an improperly developed pencil grip are the poor formation of letters, the inability to join letters together to form words, lack of speed and endurance, as well as discomfort, pain and fatigue.
This is when pencil grips are recommended by Occupational Therapist’s to guide children to develop the correct finger placement when writing. However, please note that fine motor strength is also another factor when assessing a child’s writing and pencil grip. But we’re here to help you know all about the perfect fit!
What are the taboo grasps and how can we correct them? Never be ashamed here parents! Incorrect grasps are more common than you think.
Below are the most common grasps I come across when working with children and when I would recommend a pencil grip.
Thumb Tuck Grasp
The pencil is held in a tripod or quadruped grasp but with the thumb tucked under the index finger.
The perfect fit would be: The Pinch Grip, The Stetro grip or The Solo grip – These little weapons help support re-positioning of the thumb and keep the index finger properly on top of the pencil. Children will have individual preferences regarding how comfortable the different grips feel - this applies in most instances!
Thumb Wrap Grasp
The pencil is held in a tripod or quadruped grasp but with the thumb wrapped over the index finger.
The perfect fit would be: The Crossover Grip or The Triangular Grip - These grips prevent the thumb from wrapping around and the Crossover Grip looks like a cool superhero shield!
Tripod Grasp With Closed Web Space
The pencil is held with the tip of the thumb and index finger and rests against the side of the third finger. The thumb is rotated toward the pencil, closing the web space.
The perfect fit would be: This is probably the trickiest grasp which often requires more trial and error. I would recommend The Jumbo grip or The Egg Grip to support the thumb webspace and to assist children with difficulty grasping.
Flexed Wrist or Hooked Wrist
The pencil can be held in a variety of grasps with the wrist flexed or bent. This is more typically seen with left-hand writers but is also present in some right-hand writers.
The perfect fit would be: This is where Handiwriters or The Sportswriters really come out to shine! They really help to get the wrist into the correct writing position. Angled boards are a great idea too!
The perfect fit of a pencil grip has massive benefits for your child. A good grip allows your child to make small fluent, bending and straightening movements with their fingers. A good grip also enables your child to have endurance when writing so they can keep up with their fellow peers in class. Furthermore, it assists in avoiding fatigue or discomfort in your child’s hand when writing.
Another amazing thing about pencil grips is they come in an array of different colours! Some in pastel, glitter or maybe your child prefers a monochrome style!
Please be advised that pencil grips are a tool that should be advised and recommended by an Occupational Therapist. It’s important that a full biomechanical assessment of your child’s hand is done and their writing style is looked at to determine which would be the correct grip for them.
To buy the pencil grips mentioned in this post visit Pencil Grips Plus.
Discover the top 5 ways to help your child develop their pencil grip with this free resource.
If you want to help your child practice their pencil grip at home, we have activities that are downloadable to help enhance their writing skills.