Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Get a GRIP! [part 2]

"What can I do to FIX that?!"   That's the question I get a lot at this time of year as kids head back to school and teachers meet their new students who hold a pencil with all sorts of "funky" grasps.  As you read in my earlier post "Get a Grip! part 1", the goal is to have students hold a pencil or crayon with an efficient grasp that minimizes hand fatigue.  Most commonly, this will be a 3-finger grasp with adequate wrist extension (roughly 30 degrees extension at the wrist instead of having the wrist flexed forward and curled down).  If you took a look at pencil grasps this week, you probably know that LOTS of kids do indeed have "funky" grasps.  So how CAN you fix this?  I've got a SUPER EASY solution for you! Start by breaking all of those new crayons you just bought for back to school.  I know this can put some people over the edge....who doesn't LOVE a brand new box of crayons?!   While brand new crayons ARE a joy of back to school, using small pieces of crayons will be a quick fix for kiddos who have less than efficient grasps. 

You'll see that some of the pieces are pretty small but small is fantastic for correcting grasps!  Give it a try~~when you use a small piece of crayon, it FORCES you to use an efficient 3-finger grasp. 

The same idea can be accomplished with very small pieces of chalk on the chalkboard or with sidewalk chalk.  I used to joke that my kids would be so surprised when they got to school and saw that new crayons are so "big"!  

I found these cute little stacking crayons in the dollar bin at Target.  It's a stack of bunny heads and you can stack them or take them apart and color with each individually.  They are small but the kids love coloring with the bunnies. You can find similar stacking pencils for kids to use for writing too.  The dollar store is usually  a great place to look!
I hope you'll give this a try : )  Using small crayons and pencils helps ALL children with fine motor development but especially those with poor grasp patterns.  I recommend this to early childhood teachers who are "on the front line" for a child's fine motor development.  Poor patterns form early so providing kids with techniques and tools early will lead to a happy writer down the road!

Jen Dermody, OTR/L 

1 comment:

  1. I plan on trying this with my dd(10) and ds(9).
    DD has been in OT for years and she has a horrible grasping technique still. I have never heard of this method until now. I look forward to practicing this with them. I have tried to get them to hold on to small toys but they seem to tire easy :(