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Rubber Bands Around the Fingers Do Not Constitute a Writing or a Learning Support!

a large pile of brown rubber bands

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 for both parents and teachers that support the learning of students with disabilities.

Every so often, I come across a request for help or a comment that just has me saying, "Wait... what?!"

This request for pencil support 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 from both parents and teachers 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."

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:


Parents, If you have a kiddo with a disability or neurodiversity and need learning supports that make sense, grab a spot on my calendar HERE. Consultations are free, and I promise you'll walk away with some great tools!

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