If the only problem a child presents with is a pencil grip and writing posture, we will often make a referral for occupational therapy. However, many children that require visual therapy also present with pencil grip and writing posture problems. If the parent wants us to address this we will deal with the sensory motor aspects of holding a pencil and sitting at a table early in the therapy. Towards the end of therapy we then address how to apply these new sensory motor skills to handwriting. In most instances the sensory motor skills need to be practiced at a fundamental level for several months before they can be applied directly to handwriting.
It is our experience that most children do not learn an efficient pencil grip or are allowed to use an inefficient grip as long as they are at least copying something down and doing their work. Frequently, individuals with poor grip abilities are instructed to have a laptop or a scribe. It is understandable why these compensations are created as teachers have enough responsibilities and challenges keeping their students attending to the task on hand and dealing with multiple individuals with varying learning challenges; however, we feel it is very important that each child develop these skills properly as at some point in their career, they will be required to do some handwriting for a length of time.
Many children who have developed poor pencil grips are often found to lack the finger dexterity required for efficiently using a pencil as a writing tool to express their ideas. At Calgary Vision Therapy, when this is shown to be an issue along with other inefficient visual skills, our office will add finger dexterity developmental procedures to their program. As vision leads the hands and directs where the pencil should be placed on the page, training in this area can overlap.
Eye Tracking can be thought of as a super-fine motor coordination skill. If overall motor coordination skills are not well developed, it is likely that fine motor (handwriting) and eye tracking skills will be poor as well. When writing, the eyes have to lead the hands. If the eyes don’t move accurately and reliably, handwriting may become slow, messy and inconsistent. One approach to training the eye tracking system includes training the overall motor coordination system.
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Suite 130, 2880 Glenmore Trail SE | Calgary, AB T2C 2E7 | Phone: 403-242-1800