This is a common issue in 'OT-Land'! Parents frequently bring their children along with a number of concerns, and often pencil grip is in there somewhere. There can be a number of factors contributing to this........
* Children these days are often expected to use a mature grasp when they're very young and their muscles aren't yet ready, so they adopt all sorts of awkward positions, which end up as habit. Developmentally, 3 year olds use a dagger grasp pattern because that gives them enough strength! We need to let them. At 4 years they start to move their fingers down into a more mature position, but they still often need to use all their fingers and haven't developed the ability to isolate the little muscles in their fingers for finer control. Occasionally children haven't been shown how to hold their pencil, or they've been modelling their parents creative grip styles!
* However, often there are other reasons...My child seems to have trouble sitting at the table for longer than 10 minutes at home for dinner, and his teacher says it's the same at school. She said it might be low muscle tone. How do we know and what do we do about it?
Muscle tone is the amount of tension in the muscles, achieved by a continuous partial contraction of the muscles. This helps us to keep our bodies in a certain position. Muscle tone is different to muscle strength. Strength is more so a component of physical fitness. For example, if we pick up something heavy, our muscles exert force that gives us the strength to pick up the item.
There are a number of signs that can indicate low muscle tone:
- Does your child seem to tire very easily?