These pencils help students with the following handwriting issues:
- They use too much force while writing, and the pencil tips break frequently.
- They need more tactile information to achieve and keep a mature pencil grasp.
- They rarely notice that they need to sharpen their pencil to improve legibility.
- Getting up to sharpen a pencil distracts or disorganizes them so much that it extends the time to complete assignments.
I usually do not recommend mechanical pencils for the earliest writers, but that changes after the first half of second grade. Once a child is facing the volume and speed demands of later second grade or above, it is time to be creative and think outside the box.
Working on the physical skills and the sensory processing skills that cause a child to struggle with grading force, perceiving tactile input, and monitoring their performance is still important. They would probably take away my OTR license if I didn’t say that! The problem is that sometimes life hacks are essential to keep a child functioning and feeling like a success. Having the right equipment is an important and easy life hack for the child that already (at 7!) thinks of himself as a bad writer. Using this pencil can be one of those low-hanging-fruit situations where performance improves while skills are developing.
PaperMate hasn’t targeted the kids with low tone, sensory processing, ASD, ADHD, or any other issues, and that is actually a nice thing. Older kids don’t want a “special” anything in the classroom or even at home. They might reject seat cushions and pencil grips that help them because they don’t want to look different or feel different. Well, these are easy to get at office supply stores. Nothing “special” about that at all, except that they really help kids write neatly.
The pencils have #2 leads, a good eraser, and come with both extra lead and erasers. The colors are appealing to kids but not infantile. Adults know that their handwriting will immediately look better with a fine point writing utensil, but kids do not. Children that have visual-perceptual or executive functioning issues often struggle to accurately assess what is causing their handwriting to look illegible, and then take the appropriate action. They just shrug it off and say that they are simple “bad at writing”. The pencil shaft is smooth, but the thick triangular shape adds much more tactile input than a regular pencil. Feeling an edge rather than a cylinder is often just enough tactile feedback to reposition fingers without an adult saying “Fix your grip”. Kids really get tired of adults telling them what to do. Finally, mechanical pencils seem more grown-up to children, and you can spin it as such. What a nice opportunity to be positive about handwriting!