Therapist Thursday…..Pencil Grasp 101 – Finale

By: Amy Bumgarner, OTR/L

While your child is writing or coloring, here are some tricks to help facilitate the appropriate grasp.

  • Use broken crayon pieces or golf pencils cut in half.  When using small writing utensils, your child has no choice but to hold the crayon or pencil with his thumb and first two fingers.  Large crayons and pencils are often provided to young child to help with grasping.  However, these utensils actually make it trickier to facilitate a dynamic tripod grasp.  The more pencil or crayon you give  child, the more hand he is going to use to stabilize.  So, think small to elicit a tripod grasp.
  • Have your child stabilize a special trinket in the palm of her hand with the ring and pinky finger.  A button, penny, or cotton ball work nicely.  While your child is stabilizing the object in the palm of the hand with the ring and pinky finger, this encourages use of only the thumb and first two fingers to stabilize the writing utensil.
  • Finally, we have often used the HandiWriter to facilitate the appropriate grasp.  This is a nice tool, because it helps position the pencil appropriately in the hand, but does not prevent the child from using his fingers to stabilize the pencil.



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