A Gripping ADHD Tip

I guess I’m in a tip-giving mood, because here’s another ADHD parenting tip!
ADHD Parenting Blog | posted by Kay Marner | Wednesday September 17th - 10:50am
Filed Under: Hyperfocus and ADHD, Learning Disabilities
Parenting ADHD Children blogger Kay Marner is mother to an ADHD daughter in Ames, Iowa

I guess I’m in a tip-giving mood, because here’s another ADHD parenting tip!

Natalie has been working with an occupational therapist, Summer Barber, at ChildServe (We love you, Summer!) for a couple of years, and one thing Summer works on with Nat is improving her handwriting.

One of Nat’s problems with handwriting is how she grips the pen or pencil. Natalie has tried several different types of pencil grips, and none seemed to make much of a difference. She even did a product test on a special pencil, the Penagain Twist-n-Write ergonomic pencil, for ADDitude magazine. Although she liked the novelty of it at first, it didn’t do much to correct her grip or make her handwriting more legible.

After ruling out all of the usual strategies, Summer came up with another suggestion. She cut a section of foam tubing 3-4 inches long, and slid it on a pencil. When Nat grips the pencil, the tubing cushions her entire fist, not just her fingers. The foam has enough give to it that it helps with Nat’s hyper-grip. (You’ve heard of hyperfocus with ADHD. I’m coining the term hyper-grip for the too-tight grip that ADHD kids often have on their pencils!) It also makes the pencil bigger around, sort of like those fat crayons made for toddlers.

I took a piece of foam to Nat’s special ed teacher today. She’ll watch Nat use it as a pencil grip, and if she agrees that it’s helpful, I’ll find some more for Nat to use in the classroom too.

I’ve already decided that I’ll ask Natalie’s regular classroom teacher, Mrs. Morken, if I can donate some extra tubing, and maybe a variety of traditional pencil grips, so that if the other kids see Natalie using something different, they can try something new too. Nat hates it when the other kids ask things like: “Why does Natalie get to chew gum and I don’t?” Or, “Why does she stop in the office (for meds) before lunch?”

Summer said the foam tubing comes from medical supply companies. It comes in one long rolled up piece, and you can cut off any length you need. She also said it’s cheap.

Has anyone tried this? Has it worked? Can you recommend where to buy it?

Is Summer as incredible as I think she is? Yes!

Thanks for the tip, Summer!

Bonus tip: Chewing gum helps Nat focus, and helps prevent her from drooling when hyper-focused. Summer says that sour flavored gum will help the most with drooling. When Nat was younger, chewing gum helped her keep her fingers and other objects out of her mouth. Even if school rules prohibit gum chewing, your child must be allowed to chew gum if it’s in his/her IEP!

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