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Writing and pen grip...

(25 Posts)
survivingsummer Tue 13-Sep-11 20:20:39

My 4 yr old dd has just started school and can't really hold a pen. I'm wondering what I need to discuss with the teacher regarding support with this? Her grip is too tight (due to mild CP) and I don't know what if anything, would help her? She loves colouring and 'writing' but I can see it is really physically hard for her. Has anyone got any advice or know of products that would help?

TheNinjaGooseIsOnAMission Wed 14-Sep-11 07:29:03

does she have an ot that can assess in school to see what help they can give? My dd3 has the opposite problem so I'm not much use but her ot did go into school, just the once mind!

intothewest Wed 14-Sep-11 07:31:51

Hi- If she has CP does she see an occupational therapist-or can the school refer her ?My DS has problems with fine motor skills and the OT comes in to advise school (he goes to a SS,but there should still be some help available.)

intothewest Wed 14-Sep-11 07:32:34

AH- cross post

Triggles Wed 14-Sep-11 07:52:36

DS2 has difficulties with fine motor skills as well. The OT has come in to the school a couple times, and apparently this year is sending someone in regularly to provide more input to help out. They should be able to suggest some things to help (DS2 has pencils with different shape to them, pencil grips, special scissors that the TA can help him use).

I'd also ask the OT if there are other things they can do to help with the grip and pen-hold. Our OT recommended that we encourage DS2 to do anything with fine motor skills, simply to help develop them further, rather than pushing writing all the time. So things like threading chunky beads on wool, aquadraw, writing on chalkboard, write-on wipe off board with dry-erase markers, paper and markers, colouring, threading cards, threading penne pasta on wool, playing cards, painting, playing piano, picking up coins and putting them in a moneybox (you'd not believe how many times I've had DS2 do this - he loves it!), typing on computer keyboard, puzzles. Basically anything that he might enjoy, find challenging, that encourages the pincher grip.

Thereitis Wed 14-Sep-11 08:10:12

We encountered the same issue - again CP the root cause. We persisted with handwriting until the age of 11 and still wonder if we waited too long because of the frustration that occurred when DS struggled to get his written work done. When he learned to touch type (and truly touch type where he didn't have to look at the keyboard at all) it transformed his life. Before that time, we "discovered" Stabilo pens - curved and with a soft handle for grip. This was a very good pen but not erasable although it might be now. Also there are soft "grip sleeves" you can slide onto pencils which help with the "gripping too hard" problem. There are special needs learning aid catalogues which you can google that include a number of other compensatory products. Unfortunately for us the "sand play" and other fine motor skill developing play was too frustrating for it to be at all enjoyable for my DS when he was young - the OT provision in our area was also very poor - something we only came to know later when we discovered what was available in other areas. Good luck.

IndigoBell Wed 14-Sep-11 10:28:28

While waiting for the OT, the school should be able to try her with various pencil grips....

cornsylk Wed 14-Sep-11 10:37:19

My ds uses these here as he finds pencil grips annoying.

cornsylk Wed 14-Sep-11 10:40:37

I was also looking at this here

TheNinjaGooseIsOnAMission Wed 14-Sep-11 12:17:31

cornsylk, potentially daft question but how is a pencil left handed? Genuinely interested as have 2 left handers and have never come across that.

IndigoBell Wed 14-Sep-11 12:21:47

It's left handed because it has indents for your thumb and fingers etched into it.

Normal pencils aren't left handed smile

TheNinjaGooseIsOnAMission Wed 14-Sep-11 12:32:52

ahh thanks indigo, had wondered what the marks were grin

cornsylk Wed 14-Sep-11 12:48:02

I didn't actually know why it was left handed myself - just knew it worked for my ds (who is left handed) thanks Indigo! grin

survivingsummer Wed 14-Sep-11 13:23:00

Thanks all!

I've been looking at some of the aids and think we'll try a few out with her. We have had OT in the past but were signed off a year ago with some exercises. School are putting dd on a fine and gross motor skill programme which is good. Fortunately, she loves playdoh, sand and playing with things like coins so we've always done lots of this and it is improving her fine motor skills slowly! Physio seems to think in time she will learn to write but she has slightly fluctuating muscle tone so won't be easy for her and in addition she is very hypermobile - not a good combo! School are also getting special scissors for her.

Anyone tried silly putty? Was thinking of ordering some but wondered if any better than playdoh?

IndigoBell Wed 14-Sep-11 13:36:18

Theraputty is better than playdoh as it's stiffer and harder to manipulate.

It comes in different strengths. And it's what OTs always seem to recommend.

survivingsummer Wed 14-Sep-11 13:42:28

Theraputty - that's the stuff! Am thinking of that stuff my ds has that makes farting noises when you put your hand in it blush

zzzzz Wed 14-Sep-11 13:44:27

I've been looking at a finger-pen it is shaped like a wish bone and so you put it round you finger. Sorry no idea how to link but our problem is flexible joints rather than cp so pressing too hard hurts. I thought it might take the need to squeeze out of the equation all together?

http://www.taosgifts.co.uk

or medicdrug.com

MrsMagnolia Wed 14-Sep-11 16:54:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Marne Wed 14-Sep-11 16:58:36

Dd1 uses these , we were given them by her OT.

angelPeacock Wed 14-Sep-11 23:21:51

This thread has been of so much use thanks MN-ers.
My son recently has an OT assesment and it was confirmed about the hypermobility i knew he had.
This is partly why he struggles with his writing, and although she didnt think he needed any aids from them (special cutelry, etc) i have been looking into anything i can do to help.
thankyou for all the links i will be sure to look xxxx

Claw3 Thu 15-Sep-11 00:08:09

OT recommended that ds be given a laptop, for more extended pieces of work.

survivingsummer Thu 15-Sep-11 10:12:40

angelPeacock - my son also has hypermobility (dd probably has it more of a result of her genetics than her CP!). His teacher suggested putting an elastic band around the pencil which has been simple but effective for his writing.

Claw3 - I think dd may ultimately end up as a computer user although she struggles to control the mouse at the moment. Will your ds be able to take SATS etc using a laptop?

Marne Thu 15-Sep-11 10:59:55

Surviving- we use a rollerball mouse here, expensive but one of the best things we have bought for dd2 (hypermobile and ASD).

survivingsummer Thu 15-Sep-11 11:46:40

That looks good Marne - thanks!

angelPeacock Thu 15-Sep-11 21:07:30

good idea, thanks.
I asked about using laptop in the future becuase of the nystagmus, but it will also help the HM too. will keep pushing for it now hes in year 3 and closer to exams and more writing x

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