I have worked as a Pediatric OT for 18 years with 10 of them being in the school system. By far, pencil grip and handwriting (alone or combined with other areas of concern) are the biggest reasons for student referrals to OT in the schools.
But try to tell a teacher or parent that, while the student isn’t using the Dynamic Tripod Grip (the Holy Grail of grips), the grip that they are using is still efficient. Or that at 10 years old, there might not be much hope that the child would be willing to change the grip they have cultivated and developed for lo these past 7-8 years, even if they could qualify for OT 5 times a week. They’re not having any of that. The child MUST receive OT to change the child’s grip to the Dynamic Tripod Grip so the child will be able to access their education and achieve their goals and be successful in life.
(DISCLAIMER: If I get a referral for a child for handwriting and/or pencil grip issues, I take them seriously. And I address those that require treatment to achieve exactly what I stated above: access to education, attainment of goals, and success in life. But sometimes it’s obvious to me that a poor pencil grip isn’t going to prevent a child from these things.)
Hence the reason I was going to write a post about grips. I had done some research and taken some pictures of pencil grips. But, luckily for me, someone beat me to it. And from the looks of it, they did a much better job than I was probably going to do. So, I felt it would better serve any and everyone reading my blog to just direct you to the well-written and well-presented post over at The Anonymous OT.
But just to prove that I was going to actually write a post, I’ll leave you with the picture I took of my banker’s horrible-looking, but effective, pencil grip.
That, my friends, is a Fingertip Grip. And it’s painful to these OT’s eyes. But it’s effective for him. How do I know, because I “interviewed” him about it. He said that his Catholic nun teachers used to punish him for using this pencil grip. And that when he was in high school and college, he found taking written notes to be laborious. Fortunately, he’s moderately creative, so he just used a tape recorder to take notes. And now he has a high school diploma AND a college degree, a successful career, lives in his own apartment, and pays his own bills. So this ugly, inefficient pencil grip didn’t prevent him from accessing his education, attaining goals, or finding success in life.
To be honest, if I had gotten a referral for him when he was 8, I would have tried to change it to something more efficient to lessen the challenges he would have coming with written work. But, apparently this grip didn’t prevent him from achieving success. I know for sure because I asked.