Three groups of nondysfunctional adults were observed for atypical pencil grasps (i.e., nondynamic tripod grasps) used during functional writing situations: 58 occupational therapy students signing out equipment, 314 voters signing for their ballots, and 113 medical students taking a written examination. Among the total right-handed population, the most frequently used grasp was the dynamic tripod grasp (86%). The second most frequently used grasp was the lateral tripod grasp (10%). Other grasps were observed less often (less than 2% of the time). The surprisingly high incidence of the lateral tripod grasp suggests that this grasp may be considered a functional alternative to the traditionally accepted dynamic tripod grasp. Only 1% of the total sample showed immature grasp patterns (i.e., cross-thumb and static tripod grasps), thus indicating that most adults develop a mature grasp for functional handwriting.

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