We thought we would re-run this series of articles due to the number of questions we receive regarding pencil grips and what is OK or NOT.
What is an efficient pencil grip?
“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: Foundation of Paediatric Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, 2005)
The above publication, and those listed at the end of the articles, explain that there are three efficient pencil grips for handwriting:
1. The Dynamic Tripod Grip is still the most appropriate grip for handwriting (we looked at this last week using our ‘Drawbridge Flip’ method), for those with good fine motor skills, as it allows the fingers to move freely; so the writer can form the letters more smoothly.
2. The Quadrupod Grip, this grip is a little more restrictive because the fingers cannot move as freely as they would if using the Tripod grip.
3. The Adaptive Tripod Grip, developed by the Belgian Neurologist Callewaert in 1963 (cited, Ann-Sofie Selin 2003) is a functional though not conventional grip for handwriting. This grip is often more appropriate to use with children who have low muscle tone or hyper mobility of the finger joints. It can also benefit older children who continue to hold a pencil too tightly, or who hold the pencil lightly using just their fingertips (often writing using whole arm movements), as well as those children who hold a pencil with their thumb wrapped around and across the pencil and index finger.
Over the next couple of weeks we will look more closely at grips 2 and 3.
Ann-Sofie Selin, 2003: Pencil Grip A Descriptive Model and Four Empirical Studies; Abo Akademi University Press
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