Tips For Writing As A Quadriplegic

This article contains a video
Curated by
Whitney Bailey
Content via Meg Johnson
Meg Johnson
Curated by
Whitney Bailey

Meg Johnson is a disability advocate who makes self-help videos to show others the tips and tricks she has learned to live independently as a quadriplegic with limited hand function. Meg shows the evolution of her writing skills, as she demonstrates how she writes with a thick highlighter to a thin pen.

Meg begins the video by showing how she weaves a writing utensil in between her fingers. She positions the utensil where it goes over and under her fingers for a better grip. She chooses to use utensils, like pens with free flowing ink, so they are easier to glide on paper.

Writing With A Thick Marker--Highlighter (Starting at 0:52)

Meg Holding Highlighter

When Meg first became paralyzed she says she began practicing her writing skills with a magic marker or thick highlighter. The thickness of the marker helps secure it in place as she uses her mouth to pull of the lid of the marker and weave the utensil in between her fingers.

“I mean I had really bad handwriting, but it was at least my own.”

Writing With A Thin Marker--Sharpie (Starting at 1:23)

meg writing with sharpie

As her writing skills progressed, Meg graduated from a thick marker to a thin marker, like a sharpie. She still uses the ‘bite and weave’ method to grip the writing utensil. Meg states that being able to use a smaller marker gives her more freedom on how refined she can write, unlike with the big strokes of a highlighter or magic marker.

Writing With A Regular Pen (Starting at 1:53)

Meg writing with pen

Meg has learned that sometimes you have to grab whatever utensil is available to write with. The last write utensil she demonstrates how to write with a regular pen. Again she says that the process of gripping the pen is still the same, as she uses her ‘bite and weave’ method. However, a pen can easily fall out of Meg’s hand. Meg has solved this problem by having a stretchy headband on her wrist, that she brings up and wraps around the pen so it is secured to her hand. Then she is able to write whatever her heart desires!

Meg proves that with a little practice and creativity, one can put pen to paper and write.

Do you have mastered a different technique for writing? Share your story with us at!


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