Is it okay to use markers instead of pencils?

by Concerned Mom

My son (5 years old) has Sensory Processing Disorder as well as a variety of fine motor and gross motor difficulties.

We do a lot of hand/finger strengthening exercises, but his pencil grip is still so loose that he cannot control the pencil well enough to work on writing.

It "feels" like letting him use a marker would be cheating, but it would really allow him to not have to press down on the paper so hard. I think this might boost his morale a bit. Then again, I don't want him to always have to use a marker and never be able to press hard enough to use a pencil, you know?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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some ideas
by: OT Mom

Hi there,
I hear your predicament!

I don't think that using markers is cheating if doing so enables him to get a sense of accomplishment – I would advise to use the thickest markers that you can find, though – the “jumbo” kind.

If your child needs to practice forming numbers, letters and patterns, let him do it on surfaces that don’t need a pencil/crayon, like sand in a tray, writing on a wall with thick chalk. (see these activities for more ideas)

Another suggestion I have heard of is to give a child small sections of broken-off thick crayons, which forces them to hold on tightly in order to control the piece of crayon. I am not sure if that will work for you, but you can try it!

Asking your child to do rubbings – rubbing over a piece of bark, coins, or commercial rubbing plates, may help your child grip more tightly in order to get the pattern to come through. You can see a child doing rubbing plates on this page…

Hope this helps!

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