Supporting Challenges in Written Output – Part 2: Helpful Products

There are many low-tech ways to support challenges that interfere with drawing and writing skills.  Following is a list of some of the commercially-available products that I have found to be helpful alternatives for individuals with problems with written output:

*Crazy Crayons Eco Stars – These star-shaped crayons encourage children to grasp using their fingertips.  Cost: ~$12 for a package of 20

*Crayon Rocks – This product is made by a company with a slogan of “Draw, write, smile.”  These little crayons look like colored pebbles and fit just right into little hands.  They come in a little bag which helps with organization.  Bonus: they discourage the application of excessive pressure to the paper (coloring “too hard”), which may be especially helpful to some children.  Cost: ~$9 for a pack of 16


*Melissa & Doug Triangular Crayons – The triangular shape of this product encourages the use of a tripod (3-finger) grasp.  Bonus: they’re made of plastic, not wax, for additional durability, and so they are less likely to break than typical crayons.  Cost: ~$10 for a pack of 24

*My First Crayola Character Crayons – This is a pair of crayons, each of which is encased inside a plastic character to encourage coloring with a whole-hand or cylindrical grasp pattern.  These are likely to be more appropriate for a very young child or an individual who has increased muscle tone in his hands which prevents him from holding a writing implement using just his fingers.   Cost: $5 for 2 crayons

*Young Artist Studio Creamy Crayons – These crayons, made by Alex Toys, are vibrant in color and mark smoothly on the paper, which makes the effort of coloring easier for children with muscle weakness or endurance challenges. The crayons twist up for use, which prevents overuse and breakage especially with a child who tends to use excessive pressure in coloring.  The lids are somewhat hard to remove, which may frustrate and/or limit independence for some kids but which may make it easier to restrict use when an adult isn’t nearby to supervise on due to the adult assistance required for lid removal.  Cost: $14 for a pack of 12

*Chubby Finger Crayons – Made by Constructive Playthings,  these two-inch long crayons are cone-shaped, which encourages the use of a refined grasp pattern.  Cost: $8 for 18

*Crayon Pinwheel – This block-on-a-dowel set-up, made by Abilitations, allows for a large crayon to be attached to each side of the wooden block so that the user can grasp the dowel and flip the “pinwheel” part around to color with different crayons.  Cost: $20


*Triwrite crayons – These are small, pyramid-shaped crayons that promote grasp using fingers instead of a whole-hand approach.   Cost: $8 for 6

*Alex Jr. Tots First Crayons – These are triangular shaped like a piece of pizza, which supports the development of finger muscles for improved grasp.  Cost: $6.50 for 6

*Evo–Pen – This pen, the name of which comes from the word “evolutionary,” was designed to fit in the natural closing grip of the hand. The ergonomic shape is ideal for people with different kinds of grasping problems; it is said to decrease pain from writing associated with conditions affecting the joints and soft tissues of the hand. Available in blue or black ink.  Cost: $6 each, with a set of 3 ink refills available for an additional $6

*Grip Tech® Mechanical Pencils – This product is molded to encourage tripod finger grasp, and it uses a thicker-than-usual lead, which cuts down on lead breakage that often occurs with standard mechanical pencils.  Comes in right- or left-handed design.  Cost: $9 for a pack of 10

*Steady Write Pen – The permanently attached base stabilizes the user’s hand at a special angle to increase steadiness and appropriate use of pressure in handwriting. The user will grip this pen with his fingers while holding it between his knuckles.  Cost: $9.50 each


*Prang Color Wands The creamy, smooth-writing crayons in this set are encased inplastic to keep hands clean, cut down on reactions from kids with tactile sensitivity, and decrease breakage, especially by those who press hard in coloring. A simple twist easily advances the crayon.  Bonus: these require very little pressure or hand strength to use. The plastic holder snaps shut for storage.  Cost: $5 for a set of 6

Caution: The above list items may be a choking hazard for children under 3 and should be used only with adult supervision.

Up next … commercially available products that can serve as writing supports

Thanks for reading

2 thoughts on “Supporting Challenges in Written Output – Part 2: Helpful Products

  1. Thanks for recommending these products. When I first needed to find such products at the time it was difficult to locate. I’m sure there are several parents who will benefit from reading your posts.

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