When a child first grips a crayon or marker they usually hold it in their fist. This is because they have not developed the small muscles in their hands, and therefore the strength to hold it, in what is considered the “correct” grasp, also known as the dynamic tripod grasp where the thumb, index and middle fingers hold the pencil. In occupational therapy we engage the child in fine motor activities to develop hand muscles and finger dexterity needed for a functional pencil grasp.
To help the child maintain a functional grasp, while developing hand strength, at times they are given a pencil grip to use. This helps train their fingers to hold a pencil more easily and comfortably. The grips I use most frequently with children are:
The Cross Over Grip
A silicone grip which positions fingers correctly on the pencil and prevents fingers from crossing over each other while holding the pencil. This grip works well for children who wrap their thumb around the pencil while writing. It can be used by both right and left-handed children. The children I use them with often tell me they like the “squishy” feel of the grip and the softness helps prevent fatigue for those who grip their pencil too tightly. They are available from many online retailers, but I purchase mine from Amazon. Click here for the link.
The C.L.A.W. Grip
The CLAW grip has 3 small cups joined by a small ring. The ring slides onto the pencil and the child places their thumb, index, and middle fingers into the cups. The fingers are then in a dynamic tripod grasp for writing. It is easy to use and can even fit on a stylus for use on an iPad or other tablet. It works for either right or left hand. Again, I purchase mine from Amazon, but they are available from other online retailers. Click here for the link.
Elise Bondy, COTA