A pencil grip is considered dysfunctional if it blocks the movement of the fingers, causes discomfort, causes fatigue, and leads to untidy work.
In order to control it, the child stars controlling the pencil with wrist or arm movement which becomes tiring and less effective. Such children complain pain in hand and arm and maybe found excessively rubbing or shaking the hand or arm. The child fails to complete the task because of tired hands which leads to untidy work.
It is therefore important to keep a check on whether a child is developing an appropriate pencil grip and to correct it as soon as it starts to appear.
What Are The Reasons For Poor Pencil Grip?
It is very important for the adults to understand or know the reasons for poor pencil grip. Understanding the root cause can help the teachers and parents to be prepared to address the problem of poor pencil grip.
Most of these reasons for poor pencil grip are easy to identify and correct.
The various reasons for poor pencil grip in children are as listed below.
Weak Finger Muscles
In some children, the muscles take time to develop which is why the fingers do not have the strength or offer support for writing long term.
Creative play, coloring, scribbling is important, as these activities help develop fine motor control for the correct pencil grip and also to carry out various fine motor tasks.
Lack of Coordination
Children with underdeveloped muscles get easily tired while writing making them fatigued and frustrated easily. This leads to lack of coordination which becomes a reason for poor pencil grip as a child tries to control the pencil in the way he can.
Though it may be difficult for them to read what they have written as it is not at all neat, an enthusiastic child can do some good coloring with a poor pencil grip.
Weak Shoulder Muscles
In the act of grasping and writing muscles of shoulder and arms are involved. The weakness of these muscles can lead to a poor pencil grip.
Signs of Poor Pencil Grip
To correct the condition it is important to know about the signs of poor pencil grip, which are as follows:
- Poor Handwriting: Poor grip lead to lack of control and the ability to hold the pencil. The child pays more attention to holding the pencil that they forget to focus on the letter formation. Poor handwriting results when the child is not able to control the current grasp which results in poorly formed letters and inability to write in between lines.
- Red and White Fingertips and Knuckles: This is an easily identifiable sign of poor pencil grip. Gripping tightly can lead to pressure in the finger and hand muscles which can harm the muscles and joints. This can lead to tiredness and pain in finger, hands and shoulder muscles.
- Poor Posture: This sign is often overlooked by many. Holding the pencil incorrectly blocks the view of the paper, causing the child to move their head to the side, rest their head on the desk, stretch themselves, or sit very close to the paper. Such an awkward posture can cause soreness and tiredness of hands and shoulder muscles.
- Holes In The Paper: Due to poor pencil grip the child applies too much pressure on their pencils. This may cause holes on the paper they are writing.
- Frequent Tip Breakage: Poor pencil grip causes the children to hold a pencil and write with it by applying too much pressure. This extra pressure cause pencil breakage.
- Incomplete Work: If the child spends too much time on trying to fix the grip, or gain control of the pencil, the hand and shoulder, muscles get tired. The attention in writing is interrupted, resulting in insufficient time to complete their task on time.
- Lack of Confidence: Children with poor pencil grip while struggling with their own writing see other children excelling in written work and start questioning their own abilities. The child starts keeping away from tasks and other activities due to the low confidence level.
Tips to Correct Poor Pencil Grip
Focus activity not on the pencil or the paper.
Use some support such as a pom-pom or coins in the last two fingers. The fingers not involved in holding the pencil can be kept closed by putting a pom-pom or a coin. This reminds the child of keeping those fingers closed in hand.
Use small or fat pencils as they promote a good grip.
Use pencil grip as the last resort. It is said as a last resort because many children lose them or they become a distraction for many. If the other tips do not work, using pencil grips can prove to be of help.
If your child has a poor pencil grip it is always good to consult an occupational therapist, as he can assess the child’s situation better and advice the best solutions.