What is it?
A pencil grasp is one component of handwriting. Children move through various stages of grasp which is important for overall development. Children usually develop a comfortable grasp (between 4-6 years old) that allows the hands and fingers to move freely and easily when writing and drawing.
If a child does not progress through the stages of pencil grasp development a referral to an Occupational therapist may be necessary. A pencil grasp is also a concern if the child has difficulty completing legible handwriting at a reasonable speed or they experience a sore or tired hand. Poor pencil grasp can be the result of many underlying factors such as joint hypermobility, weakness in fingers and hands and a lack of motivation to participate in pencil paper activities at a younger age.
What we can do….
If you or their classroom teacher has concerns regarding your child’s pencil grasp an Occupational Therapy assessment is recommended. This assessment would use informal and formal assessments and observations to determine the therapy goals. Occupational Therapy sessions may involve activities to help strengthen the muscles of the hand and to encourage correct pinch grasp across a variety of activities and games. To correct dysfunctional pencil grips there are a variety of pencil grips and other strategies available that may help.
What you can do..
To help your child develop a mature pencil grasp various activities such as practicing pinching pegs and picking up objects with tweezers will help develop the muscles necessary to hold a pencil properly. Provide your child with plenty of opportunities to scribble, paint and explore with different writing implements.