Almost 9-year-old holds pencil like a toddler!

by Terri
(Michigan)

My almost 9 year old seems to have reverted back to holding her pencil with her whole hand, almost like a fist. What grip should i use to try to help her and correct it? We are starting cursive and I'm sure it would be easier with the right grasp.

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Gosh, hard one!
by: OT Mom

I don't think I have ever come across an older child reverting. That is very unusual. And so I am not sure what to suggest!

Do you have any idea why? Is she tiring easily? Is she stressed over starting cursive?

I would probably start with the obvious things -
1) strengthen or loosen up her hand muscles with simple exercises before every writing session http://www.ot-mom-learning-activities.com/fine-motor-skills-activities-for-older-kids.html

2) perhaps go back to a thicker pencil, eg the thick triangle ones usually used in Kinder and Grade 1 - even older children find them comfortable and hand-hugging! Sometimes they are just easier to write with, especially if she is getting tired easily when writing.

3) Try to check out if there are any emotional issues - is a sibling receiving lots of attention for a poor pencil grip?

Hope this helps!
Any other parents have any ideas?

a whole new grasp
by: Marti

I agree with all the OT mom comments. I would definitely follow up on finding a possible reason. If everything checks out, I've had a lot of success with the D'Nealian or "Monk's grasp". Basically holding the pencil between the index and middle finger. I use it a lot for energy conservation/ arthritis. The reason it's called the "Monk's grasp" is because it's what the Monks used to copy text when their hands fatigued way back when... Breaking the pencils into 1 1/2" pieces has also been successful for me with older kids. good luck!

More about that grasp
by: Tracey

Thanks Marti! There have actually been some other positive comments about that grasp over on this page.

Lots of people find this grasp a whole lot less tiring than the regular grasp, especially folk with low muscle tone and/or arthritis.

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