Friday, June 28, 2013

Fine Motor Friday: Modifications

This is my final Fine Motor Friday post so soak it up. I've basically shared everything I know about improving fine motor skills with you. Told ya I wasn't an OT :)

Today we're talking modifications, as in how to modify your child's pencil grasp so he's using a tripod grip if he isn't ready to use it on his own. That was a lot of words, let me try that again. I'm going to give you ideas on how to force a tripod grasp if it isn't the grasp of choice. If you have no clue what I'm yammering on about, check out last week's post here.

Let's get personal for a second.

Neither of my twins would pick up a crayon or any writing utensil until they were almost 4 years old. Not that I didn't try... or bribe... They were not interested and despite my best efforts, I couldn't make them. I knew we were heading down the path of fine motor concerns because one w-sitting and the other held his crayon in his fist to color: both big no-no's on the road to a "healthy" grasp. It made me CRAZY. I don't mean that it bothered me and I was troubled by it. I mean it make me a special kind of CRA-ZAY. I knew how this was supposed to go down & that wasn't happening for us.

Let's take a second here & evaluate my overreaction.  I was a 1st time mom to twins & I was preggo again by the time they were 18 months old. Sanity & I were not friends then. This was straight up survival mode. I had a problem & I needed to fix it. Yesterday.

 After speaking to various professionals about my concerns many, many times, one of my OT friends said to me (so patiently), "Look, I know you're concerned about the fist grip & about the core stability in the boys but it's not impacting their learning or their ability to draw & write. Let it go, it'll work itself out."

When she said that to me, it was like someone lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I think I just needed someone to tell me that it was all going to be fine. So, I let it go. And you know what? It did work itself out. By the end of kindergarten, we had gone away from the fist grip. Now that they're approaching 3rd grade, I can honestly say that I completely overreacted. The boys function normally in the classroom. Their handwriting isn't pretty but most of the time it's legible & they can get their thoughts down on paper so someone else can read it. Is writing a highly desired activity for them? Probably not, but they have no issues with drawing. In fact, I'd say art is at the top of their list of fun things to do. I anticipate them being awesome at texting :)

What's my point in sharing this? Basically, if your child is struggling with fine motor & you're doing all the right things, don't sweat it so much. I can't speak for all, but things generally work out when your child is ready. You can't rush a skill that isn't ready to be developed- not just motor skills but any skill for that matter. A child who isn't ready to read isn't going to read. A child who isn't ready to ride a bike isn't going to ride bike. Stop watching what everyone else's child is doing & know that your kiddo will get there too.

So, what can you do in the meantime? These tricks helped my little darlings until they were ready to go on their own.

Ways to Modify a Tripod Grasp

Break Your Crayons

Or pencils, or chalk- whatever your medium, make it small. This forces your little one into the pincher grasp and creates the web in the hand needed for the tripod grasp. 

photo from

Use a Pencil Grip

There are a ton out there but I liked this one the best.

It's a little tricky on the set up, but it forces the fingers into the right places. Click here to order from

Use a Modified Pencil

My son had a lot of luck using this pencil. It looks kind of funky but it forces the grasp & the hand web. I think its a little easier for little hands to hold on to as well. 

The biggest negative to these is that you have to keep refilling the lead to keep them working. Click here to order from

Pip-Squeaks Markers by Crayola

These itty-bitty markers are just right for developing hands. My boys loved coloring with markers more than crayons, so these were a staple at our house for a long time. Again, the smaller size forces the correct grip.

Click here to purchase from

That's it for fine motor Friday's! Hope you have found this series helpful & informative. 

 Have a happy weekend :)

**I was not compensated or asked to endorse any of these products. I've used ALL of these & found them extremely helpful in building towards a tripod grasp. 

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