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Problems with writing - pencil grip, any ideas?

(13 Posts)
NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Wed 21-Sep-11 11:17:30

dd is in reception.

she is doing ok, but has trouble writing. her tripod grip is good (well, she has a couple of issues, but we are working on that), and she knows how to form letters (ie where to start, which way to go, etc)

but, when she puts pencil to paper, her muscle movements don't seem to translate - she is gripping the pencil ok, but the mark she makes on thepaper (if any at all) is faint - there is no positivity to the movement, I suppose.

she has good fine motor skills - can thread, do peg boards, does French knitting (you know, with those doll things), can sew/lace etc.

so, what can I do about this? when she tries to write, the pencil literally just wobbles about, if she tries an upstroke, the point sot of drags on the paper, and the top of the pencil falls forward; if she tries a downstroke ,again the pencil point stays where it is, and the pencil falls back over her hand.

is this just a case of practise, practise, practise? or is there something I could be doing to help her? (am at a loss as to what, since her motor skills are ok)

IndigoBell Wed 21-Sep-11 11:31:56

Is it a problem with her gross motor skills not her fine motor skills? ie she has problems co-ordinating her shoulder and arm?

If so you need to do exercises to help this smile

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Wed 21-Sep-11 11:40:27

no, I don't think so.

motor skills all ok, and she is reasonably coordinated (as coordinated as any 5 year old is going to be but that's another story!). she can do all the action songs, does dance etc.

it's really odd. it seems as though she cannot get past the slight bit of resistance that you get when writing - I am not sure if this is because she isn't expecting it, or if there is a deeper issue with muscle strength/coordination confused

SoupDragon Wed 21-Sep-11 11:43:50

What happens when she draws, rather than writes? Does she have the same issues?

IndigoBell Wed 21-Sep-11 11:51:46

I think I would start with getting her to do a lot of 'writing' with her finger instead of a pen - possibly on sandpaper, so that she gets sensory feedback of how hard to press.

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Wed 21-Sep-11 11:56:40

yes, same issues when drawing using pencils or crayons (has better result with paint, obviously grin, and felt tips make marks, but still wibbly - not as they are supposed to be)

we've done loads of finger stuff - in sand, in lentils (ha! giving away my lentil weaver status there grin), and she can manage on my iPad ok (which is how she knows which way to trace/write letters, from letter tracing apps).

I might try her with gloop (cornflour and water),for a bit more resistance, but she is a bit messy averse, so not sure she would go for it.

IndigoBell Wed 21-Sep-11 12:00:01

The correct person to advise you on this is an OT. Not sure whether you want to wait another 6 months, or go for one now. (If you can afford it.)

What does school think?

SoupDragon Wed 21-Sep-11 12:00:45

If the pencils etc keep wobbling, i would imagine she's not gripping them tightly enough?

Can she do stuff like pick things up with tweezers or tongs? DDs reception class had a good number of activities that included that. I would imagine the pressure required to do that is the same as is required to hold a pencil firmly?

I'd ditch the iPad as you require no pressure at all.

SoupDragon Wed 21-Sep-11 12:02:22

How about those shaped things that go on pencils to help the child grip properly?

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Wed 21-Sep-11 12:06:32

I spoke to her teacher yesterday, and she has noticed an issue too.

we (school and us) are reluctant to call it a problem yet as she has only been in school 2 weeks. but then again...

teacher is going to send home phonics-linked worksheets for her, as part of her daily reading. dd doesn't need the phonics practice as much, and so we can use the time to do linked writing practice instead.

in the interests of not being a pushy mother I have backed off getting her to do more writing/drawing, and instead done things she has enjoyed while she was at home - the sewing/hama beads kind of motor skills stuff. so I'll see how we go with the writing stuff now that her teacher says she has to do it (as anything the teacher says is gospel right now), and if it causes trauma/she just isn't getting it, then we can see someone.

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Wed 21-Sep-11 12:14:03

x-posts SoupDragon.

tweezers are a good idea, thanks. I'll get her to have a go with those. chopsticks for meals could be fun too, I suppose.

her grip at the pencil end is ok - as in where her fingers actually grip the pencil. it seems to be more her hand, I think - so the subtle movements made with eg top of index finger, or the fine muscles along her thumb etc.

yes, iPad not really used for OT purposes, more as general entertainment at various times. she isn't often on the letter tracing stuff anymore - has moved on in the world <sigh>

we have used pencil grips before, when she was younger (I sound really pushy - I am not, honest grin - she wanted to be able to hold a pencil like her older siblings, and I had some pencil grips around due to OT issues in previous children), but her tripod grip is ok.

when writing (at home) she mostly uses the crayon version of these as a compromise - sorts out her grip, and is a balance between making a mark (the wax is nice and soft) but also not without some positivity being needed.

IndigoBell Wed 21-Sep-11 12:15:31

Not sure if this is useful - clever hands

I think the emphasis should be on yet. It's fine to wait and see for a bit.

So maybe agree with the teacher or your DH how long you want to wait before you actually will get concerned smile

I would have thought a term smile

NormalServiceWillResumeShortly Wed 21-Sep-11 12:28:35

Thanks, Indigo, that is interesting. there are definitely some things we can work on there - picking up coins, for eg, and holding some in the palm of the hand while posting one at a time etc - that would target the whole hand aspect that I suspect is missing at the moment.

my internal target for progress is half term grin - dd is likely to panic if she thinks there is an issue (perfection issues), and so don't want to leave this for too long at all.

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