Writing Forces and Pencil Grasps

The American Journal of Occupational Therapy published research on the writing forces associated with four pencil grasp patterns in 74 children in grade 4.The students completed a handwriting assessment before and after a copy task and grip and axial forces were measured. The results indicated the following:

  • no kinetic differences among grasps, whether considered individually or grouped by the number of fingers on the barrel.
  • when grasps were grouped according to the thumb position, the adducted grasps exhibited higher mean grip and axial forces.
  • Grip forces were generally similar across the different grasps.
  • Kinetic differences resulting from thumb position seemed to have no effect on speed and legibility.

The researchers concluded that interventions for handwriting difficulties should focus more on speed and letter formation than on grasp patterns.

Reference:  Schwellnus H, Carnahan H, Kushki A, Polatajko H, Missiuna C, Chau T. Writing forces associated with four pencil grasp patterns in grade 4 children. Am J Occup Ther. 2013 Mar;67(2):218-27. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2013.005538.

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