Home Recovery Parent Info Adult Info Special Interests Your Contributions E-Mail


My AS son presses too hard when he writes, causing his hand to get tired, broken pencil leads, and holes in the paper. How can I help him not press so hard?

My Opinion:
This sounds like me. I press very hard when I write. For me, I press very hard because I have very little finger strength, and my hands do not close all the way. I have to hold the pencil very tightly, or it will slide up my hand, or I will drop it. So the tight/hard hold on the pencil also translates into pressing too hard on the paper. The best things that helped me were using a fat pencil and also a soft lead pencil. I went to an art supply place to buy a fat "mechanical" type pencil and leads. I forget which type of leads they were, HB or H or 2H or 2B or whatever, you can ask the people there to help you. I can use a regular pencil now, but if it is very cold or I am having a bad day, I do go back to my fat pencil. I don't need the extra soft lead any more tho.

Also, dark and shiny marking from pressing hard is a big stim for me!! Also it does help me to see it because I have vision problems also. Dark writing is much easier for me to read.

I do not like markers, especially thin line markers, because it takes even MORE energy and effort and concentration to not press too hard and to make the markings a uniform thickness. This may actually be a good OT thing to do, to require that extra effort, maybe that is why I don't like them.

It may be taking him more effort to try NOT to press so hard, but I know my hand did get very tired of writing too. You might want to try something like chalk, maybe even sidewalk chalk, to help him use more of his entire arm in the writing, rather than just his hand and fingers. If his arm is slightly holding his hand off the paper, it makes it easier to write. I know when I started using more of my arm, it did help me to be able to control how hard I was pressing.

It could also be that he enjoys the sound or feel of breaking leads, the shiny look of dark writing, etc. Like I said, I love the shiny look plus dark is easier to read. I don't do it with markers, because I do not like the mess it creates. Ink bleeding is a good idea too. I hate getting my hands messy, and I hate the look of a messy paper. If the paper is messy, it does not seem worth the effort to try to make it look nice. Is he left handed? That also can contribute to a messy paper and messy hands. Good idea about art store, see my comment above.

Here is a good link called Handwriting Without Tears, that might help you.


Home Recovery Parent Info Adult Info Special Interests Your Contributions E-Mail