Pen for someone with developmental dyspraxia
March 19, 2011 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Could someone recommend me a pen? I have developmental dyspraxia which means my hand aches after a short period of time. I also have poor hand writing.
posted by nam3d to Shopping (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: does your hand ache from gripping tightly? When I use ballpoints, I grip too tightly and after a while my hand aches. I switched to roller-ball, markers and fountain pens that all mark with very little pressure, and I don't have that problem.

Or maybe it's the narrowness of the pen. Many people with arthritis will purposely use very thick-bodied pens or buy thick grips to put on regular pens and pencils. I don't have arthritis, but I find that thick grip pens can be more comfortable.
posted by jb at 10:31 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My favorite pen is made by Pilot, the Dr. Grip gel pen. It's thicker, and doesn't require a lot of pressure when writing. It also has a cushioned rubber grip. Bonus points for being refillable.
posted by _cakes at 10:42 AM on March 19, 2011

Best answer: Are you (even a little tiny bit) crafty? Make your own pen! I tend toward an achy writing hand, too, and while I just don't hand-write things that much any more, back when I did (taking notes in school--ughhhh) I'd typically use my own pens to stave off the hand-hurt.


-Cheap pen with ink that you like (I just use one of these boring old things)
-polymer clay (I like Premo, which comes in tons of fun colors)
-something to roll it out with (this can even be another pen, if you don't care that it doesn't look super-polished)
-an oven/toaster oven


-Separate the pen ink from the body. (On most you can just pull them out, some you might need pliers.)
-Roll out some clay to a thickness you're comfortable with.
-Wrap the clay around the pen, taking care not to cover the hole that the ink goes back up in.
-Smooth out the seams.
-Line up your fingers as you would grip the pen when writing, and (here's the key part) forcibly grip the pen.
-Put it on a tray and bake in the oven according to the package directions. For Premo, if I remember correctly, it's 275 for probably about 20 minutes. No, the plastic body of the pen will not melt.
-After it has cooled, put the ink back in the pen and voila! (And when the ink runs out, you can just buy another of the same kind of pen and do an ink transfer.)

You now have a (nice, chunky) pen that is not only easy to grip, but conformed exactly to your grip. It's extremely comfortable to use a pen customized to your own grip, and it's much easier to write with.

If you decide to go this route, feel free to memail me with any questions. :)
posted by phunniemee at 10:43 AM on March 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Dr. Grip also has a colleague, PaperMate Ph.D. They have very similar CVs.
posted by box at 10:45 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't have your problem, but I hate handwriting, I'm no good at it, and my hand tends to cramp. I'd just try a bunch of grips on disposable pens before making any big investments, and for that matter I've about decided that disposables are about as good, anyway (see gripe on fancy pens below). I've never found anything that's all that magic, but I think the keys are:

- a medium grip (not too large or small - this is obviously subjective) with a
- grip that provides some traction (NOT NECESSARILY SOFT OR SQUISHY)
- the writing implement itself (i.e. roller ball, or felt tip, or whatever) and how well it works is key.

One of my favorite writing implements when I have to do a lot of writing and can use a pencil is an Alvin mechanical pencil:

The knurled metal grip allows me to keep it from slipping around without a lot of pressure. If anyone knows of a pen like this, let me know!

Fancy pens are often the worst - they're for showing and signing things, not lots of handwriting. They're usually slippery as hell.
posted by randomkeystrike at 11:33 AM on March 19, 2011

Best answer: You may want to try a short pen such as a Xeno Mini (Staples). I have found that short pens help when my hand begins to ache. YMMV.
posted by bz at 12:37 PM on March 19, 2011

Best answer: My physical therapist turned me on to these great pen/tool holders from a medical supply company that specializes in adaptive products for home health care. They have these lovely foam tubes that you cut to size (the interior hole is too narrow for most pens, so I have to also split it down the length as well), and they really help you manage cramping/etc. I have a closet shelf full of them in various sizes. Highly recommended.
posted by math at 5:35 PM on March 19, 2011

Best answer: Would a y-shaped pen, sort of like this help? I have one of their pens, and it really does feel easier on the hand, though it took a sec to get used to writing with.
posted by peppermind at 7:06 PM on March 19, 2011

Best answer: I've been diagnosed with dysgraphia (among other things), and I have yet to find the perfect, non-painful pen. I rotate between pens as I write: 15 minutes with Dr. Grip, 15 minutes with Sensa, 15 minutes with a Uniball Signo, 15 minutes with a Sharpie. Out of those, the Sensa (check amazon/ebay) has the best feel, while the Uniball Signo has the best ink. Also, if you write a lot, then paper quality becomes important.
posted by betweenthebars at 10:46 PM on March 19, 2011

Best answer: Poor handwriting and sore hands is often a symptom of writing with your fingers and/or wrist instead of your elbow. Your wrist should not flex, your fingers should not move; everything happens in the shoulder and elbow. Yes that takes a bunch of conscious effort at first but it's the proper way to write and means you can write for hours at a stretch without cramping or tiredness.

I find that using a fountain pen (because they really only work well at one angle) forces you to use good technique. Ballpoint and rollerball pens can work at any old angle, which means your hand will want to wiggle the pen around to form letters, making itself tired. If you're forced to hold the one relaxed posture with your hand and never vary the angle the nib hits the paper, you'll develop the proper elbow technique faster.
posted by polyglot at 1:51 AM on March 20, 2011

Best answer: Stabilo do three ergonomic writing products (two pens, one pencil) that are designed for those learning to write or for left-handers. They could be of some use if you have problems gripping regular pens.
posted by henryaj at 4:20 AM on March 20, 2011

Best answer: I work at an office supplies store. Had a customer with bad arthritis who had trouble holding a pen for anything but a short time. Sold him a Dr. Grip. He liked it at first, but came back saying "Bigger! Bigger!" He wanted a pen with a much fatter grip.

I wound up boring a hole through a vending-machine bouncy ball (slightly smaller than a golf ball) and jamming a refillable stick pen through it. He loves it.
posted by xedrik at 11:13 PM on March 21, 2011

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