Thursday, January 5, 2012

Get a Grip! 
           Does it really matter that your child may hold his/her pencil in a non-conventional way?  My answer is, "Absolutely!" A child's ability to hold a pencil properly is based on the development of his/her fine motor skills.  Having a proper pencil grasp (thumb and index finger holding the pencil and middle finger providing stability) is important for several reasons: First, it is through the pincer muscles (located in the thumb and forefinger), that the brain records dynamic information.  A proper grasp also provides more agility and flexibility for the child to form specific letters, which results in more legible writing. A poor pencil grasp is tiring and inflexible which often causes illegible handwriting.  As the child grows he/she may experience difficulty keeping up with writing and compositions. Also, an inability to write fluently can affect note taking in class. If the child's brain is concentrating on his/her ability to form specific letters, there is less ability to hear and understand what is being said.  

Researchers Berninger and Wolf (2009), listed 14 signs and symptoms to help detect if your child is struggling with handwriting (also known as dysgraphia):
  •  Cramping of fingers while writing short entries
  •  Odd wrist, arm, body, or paper orientations such as creating an L shape with your arm
  •  Excessive erasures
  •  Mixed upper case and lower case letters
  •  Inconsistent form and size of letters, or unfinished letters
  •  Misuse of lines and margins
  •  Inefficient speed of copying
  •  Inattentiveness over details when writing
  •  Frequent need of verbal cues
  •  Referring heavily on vision to write
  •  Poor legibility
  •  Handwriting abilities that may interfere with spelling and written composition
  •  Having a hard time translating ideas to writing, sometimes using the wrong words altogether
  •  May feel pain while writing
    For those of you who live in the Lakes Region of NH, Discovery Learning NH can help your child by using NILD educational therapy.  Check out our site:
Free consultations available
Berninger, V.W.; B.J. Wolf (2009). Teaching students with dyslexia and dysgraphia: Lessons from teaching and science. Baltimore, Maryland: Paul H. Brooks Publishing Co.. pp. 1-240.


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