Development of Handwriting Grasp
Poor handwriting can be the result of an immature pencil grasp that results from a decreased ability to isolate the fingers, decreased hand strength and /or decreased fine motor skills.
Development of Grasp
– 12 mo-18 months: Children hold the writing utensil with a fisted grasp and thumb up
– 2 yrs-3 yrs: Children hold the writing utensil with thumb down but fingers extended
– 3.5yrs -4 yrs: Children hold the writing utensil with a mature three fingered grasp called a tripod grasp. At this age the arm moves as a whole and there is limited wrist movement
– 4.5 yrs-6 yrs: Children continue with the tripod grasp however at this age the wrist begins to move and separate from the rest of the arm.
**If various other pencil grasps can be seen in children please consult with an occupational therapist to determine a functional grasp for your child**
Importance of Finger Isolation and Pencil Grasp
-In order to develop a mature pencil grasp, children need the ability to isolate each one of their fingers. Children should be able to tell you how old they are on their fingers. For example, a one year old should be able to hold up their index finger. For a two year old, they should be able to hold up index and middle finger and so on.
Activities for Developing Finger Isolation
– Using tongs, chop sticks, or tweezrs to pick up smaller items like beads and little figurines
– Finding beads in Playdoh
– Stringing beads
– Playing a small piano or keyboard