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Rubber Bands Around the Fingers?!?!

Anyone that knows me, knows that rubber bands are my least favorite office supply. It's a sensory thing for me and a story for another time...

I am part of several Facebook groups that support the learning and instruction of students with disabilities. for the most part, these are very supportive groups, offering suggestions, camaraderie and a general "me too" when times get tough.

One comment, though, stood out from the crowd. Here goes...

A pre-school teacher posted a request for support on how to get one of her 4-year olds to hold a pencil.

Many of the supportive responses were extremely beneficial:

  • "Try using playdough to strengthen his hands." (This person is obviously one of my people.)

  • "Try using jumbo crayons."

  • "Try anything where he can use his hands, like legos or blocks."

And then there was this... Brace yourselves...

"Why don't you use rubber bands to hold his fingers in place to show him how to grip the pencil?"

Do you need a moment to digest that? I did... Take your time.

So, of course, that is a ridiculous and barbaric suggestion to make. And cruel at that. My response was quite simply, "His little hands are not ready to hold a pencil yet. Give him play activities to strengthen and develop his fingers and fine motor skills." I offered that she could DM me for some more support, but to no avail.

Bottom line here is this: Let's not force children in to something they are not ready for. Why do we do that? We seem to have some very unnatural standards for children that do not always match where they are developmentally.

There are prerequisite skills that support the eventual holding of the pencil. Check out this nifty chart:

Need support for your child? Not just for pencils, but for all things instructional, check out our workshops and parent offerings at:

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