Pencil Grips–Pros and Cons

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Most kids do not need to use a pencil grip. I rarely recommend having a student use a special grip, and when I do recommend it, it means that the grip really does help.

What are the determining factors for needing a pencil grip?

The student is not able to maintain the proper grip on a pencil once placed, and the student’s grip and or writing is improved with a grip. A grip could also reduce fatigue or reduce pain.

So what do I really think about specific grips? Most therapists have their favorite grip, and reasons for what they like and don’t like. I have my own personal opinions of course which are no better or worse than any other opinion.

I will tell you what I feel are the pros and cons to the different grips and I will start with my favorite pencil grip.

My favorite pencil grip is the The Pencil Grip JUMBO . It is a bulb that goes smaller at the finger area and has indentations for the fingers.

jumbo grip

PROS

  • It is large and cushiony
  • the size can help maintain the thumb web space
  • comfortable any way you hold it
  • has leeway for finger position (if you don’t grab it perfectly, it is still comfortable)
  • comfortable (did I say that already?)

CONS

  • I can’t think of any except that it may be too big for some people.

The Pencil Grip. It is the same as the jumbo grip, but smaller.

the pencil grip

  • PROS and CONS are the same, except that it probably would not be too big, but too small.

Stetro Pencil Grip. A tiny little grip with indentations that your fingers go in.

stetro grip

PROS

  • If you place your fingers properly, your fingers are placed properly

CONS

  • I have never met a child that can place or keep their fingers placed properly.
  • I find it uncomfortable

The The Pencil Grip Writing CLAW . 3 rubber cups that slips onto a pencil. The index, middle and thumb slip into the cups to be held in position on the pencil.

the claw grip

PROS

  • Can hold fingers in the right position for writing.

CONS

  • Uncomfortable for some people to be held in that position (I personally hate the position).
  • Very very limited position

HandiWriter Handwriting Tool. A wrist strap that has a charm to hold in the palm, and a loop to go over the pencil top to hold it in position

handi writer

PROS

  • Gives stabilization of the pinky side of the hand
  • Keeps pencil in the web space.

CONS

  • Uncomfortable around the wrist
  • Feels restrictive to write with the pencil held back.

Grotto Pencil Grips and The Pencil Grip Crossover Grip. Both have rubber that goes over the front of the grip to keep the fingers from crossing in front of the pencil

grotto gripcrossover grip (2)

PROS

  • Keeps fingers from wrapping over the front of the pencil

CONS

  • Can feel restrictive and limit needed movement for control

Writing Charms. Toy attached to the pencil to hold in the palm

new writing charms 3 web

PROS

  • Helps stabilize the pinky side of the hand
  • leaves only writing fingers available to hold the pencil

CONS

  • Confuses kids having the toy dangling from the pencil
  • Can be distracting

Triangular Pencil Grips. Rubber triangle on a pencil

triangle

PROS

  • Encourages proper finger position

CONS

  • None that I can think of

Weighted Pencil. Putting a foam padded weight onto a pencil

weighted-pencil-1

PROS

  • Makes kids more aware of the pencil in their hand
  • Helps to decrease extra movements in the hand.

CONS

  • Does not have an effect on finger placement

Egg Ohs! Handwriting Grips .  This is a large egg shaped grip

egg oh grip

PROS

  • Very large, so can be useful for students with very weak hands and difficulty grasping.

CONS

  • Too large for most students

There are a couple of other grips that I have never tried so I don’t have an opinion on them, but I think this is enough of an opinion to start with anyway.

What is your favorite grip, and why?

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Tonya is a pediatric Occupational Therapist, and loves creating things to work on skills and solve problems.

Comments

  1. Lynne Bullen says:

    Hi Tonya,

    Yes, I agree about the jumbo grip. It supports a hypermobile thumb and finger and should nestle comfortably between them in the webspace. Other pencil grips promote thumb-finger opposition, but don’t provide the support to sustain it.

    Lynne
    OT

  2. Hi Tonya,

    Thanks for your review of these pencil grips. I find that the kids who want to use grips are usually not the ones who could benefit! (the regular ed. kids with beautiful handwriting). My favorite is The Pencil Grip, but wish it were a bit less squishy. I’ve had success using the Egg with a child with CP.

    Just wanted to add a con to the Claw: I find that there’re very fragile and the little plastic pieces connecting the cups break easily. Also, in my 15 years of school-based practice I did find one child that really benefitted from a stereo. I was amazed! He always had it on his pencil.

    ~Meg