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G is for Grasp !


As an OT and handwriting to tutor, one of the first things I look at is a child’s hand during writing.


Observing the hand tells me SO much about the child… from their actual pencil grasp to their fine motor control and strength, to their overall muscle tone, coordination, and dexterity.


Does the pencil look awkward in their hand? Are they gripping extra tight or super loose? Does their thumb wrap around the pencil? What fingers are placed on the pencil? Does the whole arm and wrist move or just the fingers? Are the movements smooth or abrupt?


Answering these questions will guide the remediation of the grasp in order to improve the legibility of the handwriting.


With that said, if the grasp is untraditional but the writing is legible, of appropriate speed, and causing no discomfort then remediation of the grip may not be necessary. Remediation focus may then be on other areas of handwriting.


Here is an example of a variety of pencil grasps:

(Grasp/Grip Patterns and When Do We Correct Them? | Occupational Therapy (team4kids.com))


When addressing pencil grasp, we look at the underlying cause of why a grasp may not be functional. Is it a strength issue, coordination issue, learned pattern, motor issue, etc? We attempt to remediate the underlying issue while occasionally using pencil grips to encourage and facilitate a more functional grasp.


This article sums up a variety of pencil grips: Types of Pencil Grips (and Why to Use Them) - The OT Toolbox. We recommend seeking out an Occupational Therapist or Handwriting Tutor to advise on the correct grip to use!


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