[Source: The Anonymous OT]
When parents report concerns regarding their child’s pencil grasp or handwriting, we often hear that “they push SO hard!” In fact, children using too much pencil pressure might break their utensil or even rip the paper in half while writing.
So what’s going on in this situation? Well, per usual, the answer isn’t necessarily cut and dry. We’ll take a closer look at what we see in the clinic, as well as what the research says.
The Forces at Play:
When talking about the force used in a pencil grasp, we should separate it into two different categories:
- Grip Force – This is the force exerted on the pencil from the thumb and fingers. You might know of a child that can break a pencil in half just by the force of their grip.
- Point Pressure – This is the force applied downward onto the paper. A child might often tear the paper as they try to get the words down.