17 October 2017

The Pencil Grip, Inc. A Homeschool Crew Review

I have talked a lot about The Pencil Grip, Inc. on my blog and I’m always excited to review their products. Recently, I received, The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors and The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit to try with my daughter.

The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit

Having a daughter with special needs and rheumatoid arthritis has made both of us very familiar with trying many types of pencil grips over the years. Trying to get her to hold her pencil correctly has been a challenge also. She currently has mastered the art of holding a pencil or pen correctly! Let’s just say that my daughter thinks she is a pencil grip expert and she may very well be.

Looking at the three I received is intriguing as I have never seen them presented as a three step process in a kit. Granted you don’t need to follow the steps they recommend. They want you to be comfortable with holding the grip that works for you. It makes me wonder if my daughter and I could have shed fewer tears with something like this.

The kit comes with 3 different grips. All of the grips are latex and phthalate free. The grips can be used by right of left handed children or adults. The grips come in an assortment of colors also. You can use these with either a pencils or pen and they slip on and off easily.

Step 1: The Crossover Grip is the Training. They call it the “Super Hero Cape” as it sort of looks like a cape that goes over your fingers to keep them in the correct position. That way you know you are holding your pencil in the proper position. Your fingers are snug in place while holding the grip. If you’re using this with your child you still want to supervise a bit to make sure they are holding it correctly.

Step 2: The Pinch Grip is the Transition pencil grip. This particular grip gives the user some freedom but, at the same time giving the user some structure. It has a partial cape or wing over the fingers. You can also observe your finger position better with this one to let them see the correct position to hold a pencil or pen.

Step 3: The Pencil Grip Original is the final step or the “Graduation” grip and hopefully the user will feel comfortable enough to be able to hold and pencil or pen correctly without the grip. For some the larger diameter with a pencil grip makes it easier to hold on the pencil or pen. It can be easier to grasp even after you have the correct hold. I know for my daughter when her arthritis is flared up and her fingers are  hurting her really bad I can slip on a pencil grip and it helps her hold and to control her pencil much easier. My daughter does feel that pencil grips are more comfortable using.

My daughter likes The Pinch Grip the best as she sometimes feels like her fingers want to slip off the pencil and it helps her control her grip onto the pencil better. She has a hard time grasping her pencil when she is hurting and yet at the same time she feels that she has the freedom or better control of her pencil.

You also need to keep in mind that you still have some basic handwriting positions when using the pencil grips. You can see the chart above with the correct and incorrect handwriting positions.

You can also purchase the pencil grips individually.

My daughter used all the pencil grips while doing her school work throughout the review period.

The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors

Using scissors correctly has been an extreme learning curb for my daughter. She has had therapist work with her for years with scissors. I have quite a few interesting scissors in my home. Yes, we have tried them all-or at least it feels that way when I have 12+ unique scissors in my supple closet.

The one disappointing thing about all those scissors is that they are dull. That can be a good thing when you don’t have the coordination or muscle strength to work scissors safely.

So what makes The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors different than those other scissors?

The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors are intended for ages 3+. The scissors aren’t dull and it will cut your paper without ripping the paper. Another plus is that you don’t have to worry about your child giving themselves one of those stylish haircuts. It would take a lot of coordination and planning to give yourself a haircut with The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors-seriously!

The blades are concealed in a plastic safety shield that is permanent. The scissors are regular scissors that aren't dull but, the safety shield protects those fingers from getting cut. I would still recommend you teach your kids to walk with these scissors with the blade down. One day they are going to graduate from The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors.

There is a training lever that you can flip over and it makes it so the scissors automatically opens after you squeeze them to cut. I really love this feature! I don't have to trade out scissors for this open and close feature. I think all kids struggle with trying to open and close scissors while learning how to cut paper. The whole strength and coordination thing is frustrating for kids first learning how to use scissors. If it’s hard for a child without any special needs just imagine the struggles that a kiddo has who does have special needs. At the same time when they have improved you can fold up the flexible spring for them to work on opening and closing the scissors themselves.

The scissors are designed with an ergonomic shape for the best results with holding. My daughter and I felt that the scissors feel comfortable holding.
You can see the different positions of the blades in the picture.

My daughter and I have mixed feeling with these scissors. We both love the ergonomic shape and the training lever that can be used in two different ways. We also love that the scissors are not dull.

The mixed feeling comes with the permanent plastic safety shield and how it impacts you cutting paper. The scissors cut great the length of the scissor blade. After that we both found it cumbersome when going past the length of the scissors. It was hard to navigate them to keep a straight line. 

You can see that the paper up against the ruler is straight which this is the length of the scissors.  I cut out the circle and you can see the snags in the paper. I can cut straight but, this makes it look like I can't cut straight!

When you pushed the scissors forward they seem to snag the paper. If we angled the scissors while cutting they tended to cut smoother. My daughter found that hard while I was able to do it fairly easy after I figured out how to manipulate the scissors. Which that requires more coordination then what most beginners have. What we liked about them was that we both felt that this feature would have been extremely beneficial for my daughter when she was learning how to use scissors. My daughter seemed to always find a way to nip her fingers with dull blades. This would have prevented many tears and less Band-Aids being put to use. My daughter pointed out that you can push the blade over with your hand to have access to the blades and may cut yourself. Like many things you need to supervise your child when using these scissors as kids tend to think outside of the box.

You have to keep in mind that most kids using The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors are beginners or those with special needs. That means that you’re not going to be expecting perfectly cut lines and in all honesty I’d rather them be safe.  

The permanent plastic safety shield is impressive and very durable. The shield is not going to come off as it’s attached PERMANTLY-we tried to see if we could somehow remove it!

My daughter has graduated into regular scissors after many years of trying to master them. It was a process with her first trying to hold them correctly without cutting herself, then working on strength opening and closing, and finally having the coordination to use scissors. In the end I think these are fantastic safety scissors for kids that are beginners or for kiddos with special needs of all ages!

My daughter cut up some paper hearts for a craft and tried a few other art crafts with the scissors.

She worked on cutting out some game pieces that she is creating for a game that she made up.

Other members from the Homeschool Review Crew are reviewing The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors and The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit  also so don’t forget to pay them a visit and see what they think. Also stop by and see what other products are available from The Pencil Grip, Inc.



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