So I handed Elizabeth the pen and asked her to sign her name.

She picked it up and with a nice level of confidence and in cursive, signed her name on a form needed for college.

I loved it.

I was so proud of her.

I started thinking about just how long it took us.  And by us I mean me, her tutor and OT, to help her master the motor memory needed to do this skill.

And may I say, it was a long while.  A VERY long while.

And may I also say, in the interest of honesty,  there were tears involved.  Sometimes hers, sometimes mine.

Muscle memory, finger placement, focus and learning how much pressure to use are all factors in learning, what other simply take for granted.

With special needs, specifically Dyspraxia, these skills are ones that take work, practice and patience.

I can remember when we were just beginning to teach Elizabeth how to hold her pencil.  She would write a few words, stop, twist her pencil around a bit, hold it again, and begin to write another few words….and repeat.

At this time, it was very hard for her to write many words at one time. And truly this was okay with me. I understood that her special needs of Sensory Processing Disorder ( SPD ) and Dyspraxia where the reason why she did this fidget thing with her pencil.

But the thing that got me was how hard it was for her to find her finger placement to begin to write again.

If a I had a nickel for every time I  said “Okay, put your fingers on the pencil the right way.”

I guess I thought this verbiage would help her. It did not always.

So I would show her where her fingers needed to go. Then she would write a bit and stop. So you get the point.

We did try pencil grips and they helped a bit.  But they twisted around too, because they are attached to the pencil and she could not read the fine print that said ” Front” and ” Back” on the grip.

But there is something that I think really would have made a difference.

It is called the Writing Claw.

It looks like three thimbles attached.  One for you pointer finger, thumb, middle finger.

There is a small hole in the middle of the thimbles, in which you place the pencil.  So no spinning around!  It is held there tight.

You place your fingers in the right “thimble” and you are all set.

The Writing Claw teaches the proper grasp of a pencil and helps with handwriting.  Not to mention, this handwriting tool helps to eliminate the worrying over a proper grip!

I love how grip-able and well it holds a pencil, and it’s easy to use.

With the new school year starting and homework time upon us, why not take a quick peek to see if the Writing Claw might be something you can begin to use with your child.

It can be used to help a special need child use a fork, or spoon as well.

So I hope this will be a helpful tool for those who watch the struggle to grip the pencil correctly. Helpful for your child or student, and in return, SUPER helpful for the parent or teacher!

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti

Author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”