We explained last week, that this grip is classified as an efficient grip for handwriting.
I have to confess that I‘m not totally convinced.
This grip may not put as much stress on the finger joints as other inefficient grips but it does restrict finger movements and therefore the fluidity of the handwriting.
The Quadrupod Grip is where the pencil is held between the top of the thumb, index and middle fingers and rests on the ring finger with the little finger slightly curled in.
I would normally see this as a developmental transitional pencil grip in younger children as they then move on to develop a Dynamic Tripod Grip, considered the most appropriate grip for handwriting.
Older children who have not moved on to develop the tripod grip may require more focused support in developing gross and/or fine motor skills. It is important to check that they are sitting correctly at the table and that the paper is positioned and tilted correctly for them. If they have a poor sitting posture it may be that extra work needs to be done on helping them to develop their gross motor skills. If this area seems fine then it could be that their fine motor skills require additional attention. See our ‘Key strengths needed for handwriting’ section for more information: https://www.teachhandwriting.co.uk/handwriting-key-strengths.html
It can be very difficult to get an older child to change their pencil grip especially if the old grip, like the Quadrupod Grip, is very similar to the new Dynamic Tripod Grip. This is when it becomes difficult to know whether to continue to try and make a child change their pencil grip or not.
I think what we have to remember is:
“A pencil hold that provides speed, legibility is comfortable and will not cause harm to the joints of the hand over time. If a hold satisfies these criteria there is no need to change it”
(Benrow 2002, cited A Wagenteld, J Kaldenberg (co-editors), 2005: Foundation of Paediatric Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pub: Slack Incorporated, ISBN-10:1-55642-629-1)
So if the child is complaining that their hand or fingers hurt or ache when they use the Quadrupod Grip, or that it is hindering their handwriting fluidity and speed, then we do need to support them in changing their grip. For some it may be more appropriate to introduce them to the Adaptive Tripod Grip rather than trying to force them to use the Dynamic Tripod Grip.
We have to remember that every child is different and try our best to cater to their needs rather than our own preferences.
I have an 11yr old who has always insisted he use this quadrapod grip and yet handwriting is still a struggle and his hand will hurt. He pushes down hard on the paper as well. I like the link to the exercises I can do with him, but how do I go about transitioning to a tripod grip instead? Thank you
Due to your son’s age it can be quite difficult and take time for him to change this pencil grip. I would recommend that you keep working on supporting him in developing his hand and finger strength and dexterity as appropriate to his abilities. I would also suggest that you have a look at the adaptive tripod grip (see our website or last week’s blog) which he may find more comfortable and hopefully will reduces the amount of pressure he is applying to the pencil. It may feel a little strange to start with but it does not take long to get use to. I hope this helps Lucy Lamont
I am 40 years old and use quadrapod grip exclusively… Always have. I’ve also always been praised on my nice, neat handwriting… Even today.