OT Activity of the Day:
Target Age Range: 4 and up
A question I get a lot is whether or not a child should use a pencil grip. In general, there are two types of ways children hold their pencil: functional grips (tripod) and non-functional grips (multiple finger grip or thumb wrap, just to name a few). While both can be used to write, the child using the "non-functional grip" may fatigue more and experience more writing issues. The time to promote, or fix, a grip is as soon as you notice your child developing poor grip habits. Once a child has become more comfortable with writing (First Grade and beyond) it becomes more challenging to fix a grip, though it can be done.
If a child comes to me with a non-functional grip the first thing we work on is improving hand strength. Non-functional grips are typically formed due to a lack of hand strength, or stability, so improving strength is a great starting point. The next thing I usually do is look for a pencil grip that will allow for more stability. In addition to stability I'm also looking at the child's preferences and this process can take a few weeks to work through to make sure that the match is a positive one. As you can see, there are so many different pencil grips to choose from. An OT can help guide you and your child to the right grip for your child's needs.