What are Adaptive Crayons and How They Can Help Children with Sensory Processing Issues

All people have the inherent right to an education. And, all people no matter what their physical abilities and cognitive level, including children with sensory processing issues, have the right to participate in and experience educational activities in the same manner as their peers. It's the job of professionals through pediatric occupational therapy and school working with these kids to ensure they have the tools they need to allow them to experience the most success and be the most independent as they can when attempting these activities.

An educational activity that helps to develop both fine motor skills and cognitive skills is coloring and the best tool for this is adaptive crayons which highly engage kids in this activity.

Adaptive crayons are ideal for:

  • Children with disabilities
  • Early learners still developing pre-writing and fine motor skills
  • Students who hold their crayons too close to its tip, making it hard for them to see what they're doing
  • Kids with motor or sensory processing issues that cause them to press down on crayons too hard, causing them to break

Adaptive crayons are fully adapted crayons that don't require any intervention to hold them with a correct grasp. There are a number of developmental benefits to coloring with adaptive crayons, including:

1. Tool Use

Coloring allows children to use a writing tool that's creative and fun. They can use various colors by placing the crayons in a coordinated manner back into the box. 

2. Bilateral Coordination

Children require the skill of using both their hands in a coordinated manner for things like:

  • Scissor use
  • Handwriting
  • Many functional tasks

When they color, children need to hold the paper while coloring. Using the non-dominant, assisting hand to stabilize the paper allows them to build dexterity and strength in their dominant hand. They'll carry this skill over to their writing, which makes coloring with adaptive crayons a perfect activity for children who switch hands during activities.

3. Sensory Processing

Unlike a marker, kids can color very dark or lightly through different pressure exertions. Coloring with markers doesn't offer that resistive feedback that waxy crayons do. Markers are smooth and don't provide children the sensory input to assist with learning letters. Using adaptive crayons, however, children can combine colors and shades as they become aware of how darkly or lightly they're coloring.

Adaptive crayons help kids be independent. When an adult must step in every couple of minutes to adjust the child's fingers or put a grip on a new crayon, it doesn't help the child become independent.

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