Pen Grip

Handwriting felt like an important part of life during my youth. We were taught handwriting in school. Working on the ability to make our writing legible. While at the same time, attempting to write quickly. These skills were challenging to master with my disability. Cerebral palsy causing my fine motor movements to be difficult. Though, I gave learning to write by hand every effort possible. Later on, in elementary school, the computer began making its appearance. Rescuing my life from the pain of handwriting. The computer also saved people from trying to decipher whatever I had written. As life, has moved forward, the need to use pen and paper dissipates. We might rarely think about handwriting much of anything today. Even the art of notetaking has found its way onto a tablet. Still, there remains something romantic about the pen and paper. Call me old school, but it seems to bring about a unique kind of creativity. Handwriting also helps with cerebral palsy improvement. Forcing me to use those fine motor skills that have been hampered. So, with the knowledge to use handwriting as another tool to advance my disability. I look for ways to make the handwriting process a little easier. In searching for ways to help my dexterity challenges. I came across a pack of small rubber like grips. They are intended to slide over the grip of the pen or pencil. Providing a more stable surface to operate the writing tool of choice. 

I have no idea of the features you look for in a pen. My guess would be with typically developed dexterity in your hands it’s different. The one thing seemingly certain would be everyone has their own test. Having a curiosity in pens, I have pondered the thought. Walking down the aisles of any neighborhood office supply store. Inevitable you will most likely come across the aisle of pens and pencils. They will most likely have pens of every size and shape. The Bic pens we all know and love, we find on every desk we have ever come across. They seem to pop up everywhere. In junk drawers, glove compartments, sofas, under chairs, it’s like they multiply in our world. The wild thing is, I can never bring myself to throw one away. If I find one of these pens, which CP has taught me to despise, I find a desk to set it on, or a drawer to toss it into. They are one of the most challenging things for me to use. The grip being sized so small that my fingers get tangled up trying to gain the grip. When I go walking down an aisle of pens, I’m looking for something easy to grip. A thicker handle that the other pens might possess. The other thing I notice is how slick the surface might be. I find myself looking for a handle with an ability to stabilize my fingers. Stopping them from sliding around or getting tangled with one another. 

The experimentation I have done with writing utensils feels extensive. Each time I walk down an aisle of pens, I find something different. Picking the pen out because of the unique shape. Often finding some with built in pads on the handle. Thinking those soft pads will help stabilize my grip. They travel home with me, but inevitably something about the pen isn’t quite right. The pen’s tip can also play a major role. Some pen tips feel like they promote a speedier writing pattern. The point reacting quicker to the motion of the hands movement. Wanting to glide across the page with more speed. It hasn’t felt helpful to use pens that quickly reacts to my movements. They send the pen markings all over the page. Leaving me concentrating more on controlling the pen than the message being communicated. The type of pen seeming to help with this complication has been the gel pen. The ink flows out of a gel pen with more thickness. Making it more challenging to move with the hands. The payoff becomes ease of control, making the gel pen easiest to use. The problem with these gel pens has been their handle size. They tend to lack the thick, sturdy handles, found on other pens. My frustration for years has been bridging the two types of pens. But, the rubber pen grips might be doing the trick. 

My favorite kind of pen has always been those with a thickness in the handle. Though, those types of pens often have a smooth finish. Forcing me to focus on the tension in my fingers. Allowing for them to remain stationary on the grip.  In order to use this type of pen, I needed a solution. For years, I simply struggled with attempting to keep my fingers in place. The slow movement of the gel pens were nice, but the small grips were bothersome. I found myself preferring the battle with the thicker pen handle. Until I came across these rubber pen grips a few months ago. They were sold in a small pack of about eight. Coming in a variety of colors with different riveting patterns on each. The rubber would cause the soft surface, while the riveting pattern might stabilize the fingers. The package of eight was realistically priced. So, I thought, it was worth taking the chance. When the pack arrived, I slid one of a gel pen I had, and one on a slicker pen with the smooth surface. During my trial with each pen. The grip on the gel pen only made things worse. With the added grip, the pen felt like it now moved too slow. But, with my preferred pen, the grip worked really well. Adding the soft feel of the gel grip and the stability of the thicker handle. It has worked out to be the best combination of the two. 

Finding the grip to be a positive cerebral palsy tool. I decided to share the knowledge with my trainer. He has a young son with cerebral palsy, who is learning penmanship. Like me, he was struggling with gaining a good grip on his pencil. After relating my story to Bernard. He took up my offer to bring in one of the pen grips. Following his idea of taking it home to his son as a tool. His son also benefited from sliding the grip over his pencil. Making it easier for him to concentrate on learning to write. The searching for tools to help cerebral palsy improvement has been rewarding. When things like the pen grip can be found, and put to good use. Not only helping me become more comfortable writing. But, help someone else who might be challenged with something similar. The search for these small pleasures will continue. Helping me come up with solutions for my cerebral palsy circumstances. There isn’t a way to make the disability disappear. But, spending some time to find ways of making it easier feels productive. The satisfaction gained by spending time writing can continue, a little easier. Even in an age, where the computer makes things easier for our disability. There remains something comfortably natural about a pen and paper. 

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