Recently, The Pencil Grip, Inc. sent us two of their products to try out: The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors and The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit. I have a 3-year-old just learning to cut, and a 7-year-old whose pencil grip isn’t quite right. I’m also a former special education preschool teacher with degrees to match the old job. So I thought we were excellent candidates to review these products. We’ve used other products from Pencil Grip, Inc. and we loved them, so I had high hopes for these.
Let’s talk about The Ultra Safe Safety Scissors first. In my decade in special education classrooms, I was very blessed to work with some fabulous occupational therapists. They outfitted my class with a variety of special scissors to help children learn to cut with ease. I had never encountered scissors like these before.
These scissors have two features you don’t typically see in the safety scissors available at most retail stores. First, they have a little yellow spring built into the handle. The spring makes the scissors pop open with ease after the child closes them down to cut. I love that feature. It means the child only really has to concentrate on closing the scissors, not opening them. Plus there is less strain on the finger muscles which are most likely still gaining strength. This feature can help children experience some success with cutting quickly which makes them more likely to keep practicing.
The second feature is the plastic guard over that covers the bottom blade. This guard is designed to block little fingers for getting between the blades and cutting themselves (or I suppose clothing or other objects). I am not a fan of this feature. First, it seems unnecessary. In all of my years as a teacher and parent, I can only think of one time I’ve ever witnessed a child snip a finger with a pair of safety scissors. It wasn’t something a band-aid couldn’t cure. She learned a valuable lesson and never did it again.
Secondly, the opening with which to slide the paper in for cutting is entirely too small. It takes a lot of hand-eye coordination to slip that paper into that slit for cutting. A child who has that much coordination probably doesn’t need special scissors to protect them from cutting themselves.
In addition to the unnecessary and cumbersome guard which I feel makes the scissors harder to use, they cut terribly. I couldn’t get a smooth straight cut with them and neither could any of my older children (ages 7-11). Our best bet was to go very slow and carefully. Cutting at an average pace as you would with other scissors results in a very jagged edge.
If you have a child who likes to try and cut up their clothes or the furniture, then these scissors could be excellent for you. It will prevent damage in most of those cases.
I gave the other product, The 3 Step Pencil Grip Training Kit to my 7-year-old who has always had an odd pencil grip. She CAN and will hold a pencil correctly if I remind her. If I look away, she switches to her style. I had hoped one of these grips would sort of force her to hold the pencil right without my prompting.
The Pencil Grip Training Kit helps the student transition through 3 different kinds of grips until they graduate to the last grip which is more for comfort and a reminder of a proper grip.
Children begin with The Crossover Grip for training. It has wings designed to prevent fingers from crossing over. Next, the child would transition with The Pinch Grip which still guides the fingers to the proper place but doesn’t force them there. Finally, the child “graduates” with The Pencil Grip which offers comfort and assistance especially with extended writing.
I wish I could say I found great success with these grips. My daughter’s grip didn’t change at all. She just slid the grip out of her way or fisted right over it. She’s stubborn like that.
I’ve claimed the third grip for myself when I journal. I find it quite comfortable.
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