Pencil Held Between Index and Middle Fingers

by Meghan
(Ohio)

Photo added by OT Mom: D'Nealian Pencil Grasp

Photo added by OT Mom: D'Nealian Pencil Grasp

I had a student that grasped a straight pencil between his pointer finger and his middle finger. He seemed to have the correct look to his grip by his finger tips so I didn't correct it. Now I am hearing that his current teacher is very frustrated with having to reteach his grip. I know his grip wasn't ideal, but was it wrong?

Comments for Pencil Held Between Index and Middle Fingers

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D'Nealian Pencil Grasp
by: OT Mom

Dear Meghan,

This is definitely not a "wrong" grip. Children who have low muscle tone or hyper mobility of the finger joints usually benefit from gripping the pencil in this way. It gives more stability, and is FAR more functional than writing with an overlapped thumb or a tight grip in the conventional way. The fact that he changed to this grip when given a straight pencil indicates to me that he needed the extra stability in order to control the straight pencil.

If you are able to, please let his new teacher that she will probably do more harm than good if she forces him to change his grip. It is a functional grip, just not a conventional one!

Children with good fine motor skills will get more mobility and function with a conventional pencil grasp, but for children with low muscle tone or hyper mobility of the finger joints, this is a good way to go. Usually kids with these problems end up using horrendous grips, so the D'Nealian pencil grasp is a preferable alternative.

Hope this helps!

easier on sore hands
by: Anonymous

I have excellent handwriting skills. I just tried the grip described and found no changes in the 4 S's. Actually, I found the grip easier and may continue to utilize it, due to arthritis.

Try it, you might like it.
by: Anonymous

I had seen this grip in action by a student the other day and I was very interested in trying it. I love it. My hand doesn't cramp as much and I have a lot more stability when using writing tools. Teachers shouldn't get so focused on "how" a student holds a writing tool. I really think it is about control. Who cares how you hold a writing tool anyway. We need to lighten up on kids. I have teaching for 10 years. There are other things that need our attention other than going ape whenever a student doesn't use a pencil in the way "we want they to".

its fine
by: Anonymous

I write like this because i find it is more comfortable and i can write neater

Whatever is comfortable for the writer
by: Anonymous

My son uses this grip. I've tried to have him write the traditional way, but his writing was so much worse. When his teacher tried to "correct" it, I did my research and told her stop trying to correct it as it wasn't a problem. They say that a proper grip is characterized by putting equal pressure on the index, middle, and thumb fingers. This grip does that just in a different way. Hopefully I won't have to tell any teachers in the future to not try to correct it as he does great with it!

25 years and counting
by: Anonymous

I have been writing this way since the 2nd grade and I am now almost 40. My penmanship is fine and I am also quite good at calligraphy. I was originally a lefty and my teachers felt it necessary to "correct" me in the first and second grade and this was the end result. I am also ambidextrous, so thanks teachers :)

scribe's grip?
by: Anonymous

I'm a physical therapist, and I had a brain tumor removed in my early 30s, with subsequent radiation. I already had essential tremor, but my tremor worsened following the radiation. I had to grip the pencil so hard it made my joints ache. A wonderful occupational therapist I worked with had me try out this grip. I highly recommend it--it really has made writing easier for me, and my handwriting, once I thoroughly got used to the new grip, has not changed at all. My OT friend called this a "scribe's grip." I was also asked, randomly, by another person with a tremor and a conspicuous dent in his head, if I was a scribe (I was writing). So I assume he'd had OT :) I also assume that at least some people call it a scribe's grip--does anyone know? I can't seem to google it.

child
by: Kim

My daughter got her little finger crushed in a door 2 yes ago. She is starting school in September and am unable to write I am considering attempting to change her grip primarily she is unable to write. If anyone has any ideas would be glad to hear them. Bonsork@hotmail.com. Thank you

Recommended by experts
by: Anonymous

It is an alternative grip recommended by the handwriting expert Nan Jay Barchowsky in her books. The conventional thumb-index grip is OK but worse for writing long texts. I am used to the conventional, but when I get sore hands I remember to switch to the alternative grip, and pain magically vanishes. In my case the legibility also improves.

dystonia
by: Anonymous

I ended up reading this while looking for alternative methods to handwriting because I have dystonia and handwriting is physically impossible. When I saw this it made my stomach clench because before I was diagnosed, in school teachers were mean to me and refused to believe me, called me lazy, took points off my grades for messy writing. After all "what kind of excuse is I just can't seem to write anymore"? That's what I was told. So there may be more to it than just holding the pen "wrong". If this is the case then the child may actually need to be commended for being smart and strong enough to find a way to cope with something that's going on and teaching himself a whole new method of writing, which is actually quite hard to do. Besides, whose to say what method is correct for anyone else?

My Way or the Highway
by: Anonymous

I'm 62 and have always held my pencil like this. Had a terrible time with the nuns who didn't like things to be different. I held onto my way! I never thought of it as strange. It just felt right even though comments were made.

writing tools suggestion
by: Anonymous

To Kim,
I also got a serious crush injury to my index and middle fingers less than a year ago and I'm doing my best to get used to it. As I cant avoid writing in my career, I've tried different hand positions to make it less uncomfortable (the one mentioned in this article is a lifesaver!). Of course, it took time and the capacity will not be the same. Because my injured fingers are different from your daughter's so I can only recommend you to let her try the position involved the least with her little finger. Try to figure out where's her discomfort from? Is that because she puts pressure on her pinky? If it is the case, a soft object like a handkerchief can be located underneath or between her fingers (depends on how she positions her hand). Consult with a hand or physical therapist to know if there is any tricks to help with it. You can also look for suitable alternative writing tools. 'Penagain' works for me, though it's not ideally. I've found this website and I think it may give you some ideas http://www.davidlnelson.md/articles/Alternative_Pens.htm . Or you can just go to your local pen shops and ask for their advice, that's how I found 'Penagain'. Best wishes for your family!

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