Advanced search

Lfet handedness

(29 Posts)
Jbr Thu 29-Mar-01 17:48:09

Why would you stop her using her left hand? That is terrible.

Hmonty Fri 30-Mar-01 10:33:59

Why would anyone want their children to go anywhere near a recorder (whether left or right handedly)! Aghhh! The thought fills me with horror!!!

My nephew was given a recorder for christmas from people who obviously hate his mother! It was 'lost' very quickly!

Marina Fri 30-Mar-01 12:52:13

Oh, Hmonty, the recorder is a lovely instrument...played properly. On behalf of professional recorder players (no I am not one and yes they do exist), can I say, give these poor people a break. I work in the music sector and it is heart-rending to see how much flak they get from the likes of bass trombonists and counter-tenors.
I do think that unsupervised access to a recorder (or penny whistle, or kazoo) in the very young is a bad thing.

Hmonty Fri 30-Mar-01 13:36:35

I agree but it's the 'played properly' bit that worries me! I had a record as a child and distinctly remember driving my parents mad. In fact my younger sister would play in revenge it if sent to her room as a punishment. I'd love my kids to play a musical instrument and I'm sure I'd be the first mother to shed tears at the school concert....but maybe I'll arrange to be out of the house when they practice.

Marina Fri 30-Mar-01 15:01:24

Shed is the word Hmonty. That's where my parents sent me to practise the violin and I am not exaggerating. I lasted one term, to everyone's relief.

Ailsa Fri 20-Apr-01 18:33:28

I was a leftie, but had a mean teacher in the 70's at primary school who made me write right handed, I was the only leftie on my side the family, but MIL is a leftie, and Brother in law was leftie but the same as me made to change.

My Daughter is a leftie and has never complained about any attempts to make her change at school, I think teachers are alot more accommodating these days, comments have been made about her untidy writing, but it is improving. My son is definately right handed.

Having experienced both sides I wouldn't encourage anyone to change their hand. Even though I write right handed I still feel very much a leftie.

RushingAround Mon 30-Sep-02 14:15:20

Just want to start up discussion on left-handedness again...

My ds (5 tomorrow!) has always seemed to use his left hand a lot, consistently when using a spoon. He's been using either hand when drawing/writing, and has, in recent months, held the pen in his left hand, but supported it with his right.

He is in his 2nd year of pre-school (we live on the Continent and primary begins next year at 6). His teacher (she's English, same one for 2 yrs) has always remarked on his ambidexterity, words to the effect of we must help him decide which one he wants to use, but it's better if he uses his RH as it's "easier in life" and it's "easier in the classroom, otherwise he'll be different from the others"... I was surprised by this, and tried to say let's wait and see, but, in retrospect, maybe I didn't say this forciby enough - didn't want to fall out with her as I like/respect her.

In the past week, I've noticed that my ds is insisting on using his RH, and now even for eating, and when I've asked him, he says it's because his teacher says it's better.

I've been feeling really uptight about it. I am RH'ed but have always felt strongly ambidextrous and LH'ness is strong in my family, and my dh is LH'ed. I feel that the teacher has been interfering with my ds's normal development, and she has been talking about having a special needs teacher help him, as he's "fallen behind" with skills such as using scissors. But he's 4! If we'd have been in the UK, he'd only just be starting school now.

Has anyone else had similar experience? We have a meeting with his teacher this week to chat about it, and I've been collecting my thoughts. Would appreciate any input! Thanks.

SoupDragon Mon 30-Sep-02 14:25:51

Whilst I agree that it's best to decide which hand is "right" (IYSWIM!) it should be based on what your son finds comfortable, not what is "convenient".

Not being an expert, and based on your post, it seems that your son is very undecided as to what hand to use eg you say when drawing/writing he's "held the pen in his left hand, but supported it with his right." It sounds like he's not 100% comfortable writing with his left but is clearly happy using a spoon with his left. It may well be he is ambidextrous to some degree or another and somethings will always feel "right" with his left hand.

Encourage him to use whichever hand feels comfortable - can you get some left handed scissors (and other troublesome equipment) to see if this helps him? I really don't think a special needs teacher is appropriate for this - what is the teacher thinking of?!

Right handers may well have it easier with certain things but, as a right hander, I was always jealous of the left handers at school as I wanted to be different!!


PamT Mon 30-Sep-02 14:29:03

DS1 couldn't make his mind up and it wasn't until he was in Reception class that he finally opted for his left. I think that ultimately the child has to go with the hand that they find most natural even though this may disadvantage them in some ways. It is more difficult to learn to write because left handers always cover their work as they are writing and it is difficult to copy the way that someone else is working when everything is done the opposite way.

The Left Handed Club produce a catalogue with lots of special left handed tools eg. scissors, knives, rulers etc and they explain why standard implements don't work (it really makes sense once you understand it). Its worth having a look at the catalogue even if you can buy what you need elsewhere.

I think you should speak to the teacher and tell her your concerns and insist that your son is given the freedom to choose himself. If you get him to do more colouring, drawing and writing at home he might show his preference without being pressurised by the teacher.

SueW Mon 30-Sep-02 15:07:08

Absolutely your son should be allowed to make up his own mind in his own time.

This came up on a list I'm on a short time ago and someone (a former teacher) suggested asking about what the policy for left-handers is e.g. they should besat on LH corner of a table so they don't clash elbows with the person next to them. If they are learning spellings using 'Look Cover Write Check' they shouldn't be encouraged to use their hand to cover the words up (which are usually written initially down the LH side of the page). This involves all kinds of contortions!

I'm left-handed and TBH, I've adapted in some ways to a RH world. I played hockey RH, eat in the 'normal' way, use RH scissors. I've always had to use a standard keyboard. But I'll use a spoon with my LH, pick up a tennis racquet or cricket bat with my LH. When it comes to something like crazy golf, I'm a bit confused! And I use a mouse with either hand but on my laptop which has one of those stick/button things I always use the first finger on my RH.

My DH is LH'd and we're frustrated cos we've got a RH daughter!! Not really

Hope you can get it sorted.

SueDonim Tue 01-Oct-02 05:08:36

Both my dd's are L-handed but the younger one finds it a bit more diffiuclt to adapt. At school she is learning to put proper gaps between words when she is writing. She is supposed to use her little finger to measure the space and start writing to the R-hand side. Fine, if you're r-handed, contortions if you're not! But in just a day or two she's learnt to judge by eye.

There seem to be far fewer L-handed children here in Indonesia. She's the only one in her class and dd1 has only found one other person in her year too. When we're back in the UK at Xmas I shall be buying them more L-handed scissors - just can't get them here.

mollipops Tue 01-Oct-02 10:10:59

I believe most children have established their preferred hand by about age 3, but according to what I have read on the net some children don't until age 7 or 8! So your ds's teacher is way out of line in trying to keep him to use one or the other, and esp. in encouraging him to use his right hand if it's not his natural hand! About 8-13% of people are left-handed, more commonly if one or both parents are left-handed, and few are truly ambidextrous. (Btw I am left-handed as is my brother, and both our parents are RH; both my children seem to be RH as well!)

I'm afraid I can't do a link but here is some interesting stufff from this site:
"Many concerned parents have questions about the development of handedness and manual skills. For instance, several mothers of 4-year-olds have told me that pre-school teachers have told them that their child is "falling behind" other kids by not having established a hand preference by age 4, and that these teachers were "encouraging" pre-schoolers to be right-handed. This is not good advice from the teacher because (a) many children do not develop a strong hand preference until around age 7 or 8, and (b) forcing a child to switch the hand s/he prefers to use might induce serious learning problems!
Based on scientific and clinical research findings, the following information is relevant for parents and K-6 teachers... It is not unusual for babies and toddlers to have a preference for one hand, then develop a preference for the other hand, then be ambidextrous for a while, and then switch back to the first hand preference; the typical course of development for handedness is often complex and highly plastic [changeable]. While some children develop a hand preference relatively early, one should not really expect to see a stable preference for one hand to develop until the child has started writing a lot (as late as 2nd or 3rd grade).
Thus, I strongly encourage parents and teachers to let children develop their own hand preference, at their own speed. The best thing you can do for a left-handed or ambidextrous child is to be supportive, find a left-handed friend or family member to teach them skilled manual tasks, and try to obtain whatever left-handed items needed for the child to perform well and safely (scissors, baseball glove, etc.)"

There are a few tests you can do to try to see how strongly he prefers his left side. Put a piece of paper on the table. Hold a pencil in front of him, directly in his centre or midline. The hand he reaches out for it with is his preferred hand. Ask him to make a hole in the middle of the paper with the pencil. The hand he uses to hold the pencil is the preferred hand. Now ask him to stretch out his arm and look at his hand through the hole. The eye to which he holds the paper is the preferred eye. Ask him to scrunch the paper into a ball and toss and catch it - the hand holding the paper ball is the preferred hand. Ask him to take a big step. The leg he puts forward first is his preferred leg.

It is possible to have mixed dominance - and it isn't as big a deal as the "experts" used to think, although eye-hand cross-dominance can cause problems later with reading, or aiming when throwing, but different leg-hand preference is not usually a big problem at all. HTH!

mollipops Tue 01-Oct-02 10:16:54

Forgot to mention - Suedonim, here is an excellent site which might give you or your dd's teacher some ideas to help her adapt, including pencil grip, paper angle and writing angle:

It also has the "tests" I posted below.
Again, apologies for not doing the proper link!

SoupDragon Tue 01-Oct-02 10:38:15

I'm right handed and left eyed (IYSWIM!) and I have absolutely no hand-eye co-ordination. I struggle to catch things & am c**p at all sports like tennis - always last to be picked at rounders I had no problems at all with reading though - I always had a much higher than average reading age at school.

I think another way of telling the dominant eye is to make a 10p sized hole (ie big enough to see through) in a piece of paper. Hold it away from you and look through the hole, with both eyes open, at something more than about 3 feet away. Shut one eye - if the object disappears, you've shut your dominant eye, if it stays there you've got your dominant eye open.

RushingAround Tue 01-Oct-02 11:41:01

Thanks for all the advice, partic the website from Mollipops - it looks really good, just what I need to "arm" myself (so to speak!) when talking to his teacher.

It's his birthday today, so am feeling all mumsie towards him ... will leave a possible falling-out with his teacher until our meeting tomorrow. Wish me luck! Thanks.

berries Tue 01-Oct-02 12:50:01

RushingAround - happy birthday to your Ds. Its my dds birthday today too (7). Unfortunately shes at school so can't do much til 3:20, but I think I get just as excited about it as she does!

SueDonim Tue 01-Oct-02 14:08:02

Thnaks, Mollipops.

The eye/hand/leg dominance (I read that there is also a dominant hearing side too) is interesting. My ds1 was ambidextrous for a long time, writing on the r-hand side of the paper with his r hand and the l-hand side with his l. Ds2 plays cricket l-handed. DH and I are r-handed.

Katherine Fri 04-Oct-02 18:40:23

Left handed or right handed is not an either or thing - its like a scale and everyone is somewhere along it with 90% of people towards the right handed end. Of the 10% of people who are left handed some use the oppsoite side of the brain (hence the being better at languages etc theory) but most do not. Most left handers as with right handers will find some things comfortable the left handed way and some with their right. Most llearn to make do with the right because the world is set up that way.

My English teacher once told me I would never learn to spell because I was left handed. At university a "sympathetic" lecturer told me my life expectancy would be shortened because the world is set up for right handers and every little bit of extra effort/ risk would gradually add up and polish me off. Personally I think both views crackers.

There is no doubt it can be harder being left handed but I have never found it to be the trauma some people make out and I'm pretty strongly left sided, and left eyed although never thought about the hearing although I hate holding the phone to my right ear. I think its important to let children do their own thing. Its hard enough learning to write without trying to foce them into things which feel unatural but equally it might not be obvious to a child which feels most comfortable so we need to let them experiment. It doesn't surprise me if children switch hands a bit. It may be pressure, copying or just curiosity but eventually, providing they are not forced they will find their own way.

Getting too long better stop...

Tinker Fri 04-Oct-02 18:46:17

My brother is left handed and yet his wife stated that, should their son turn out to show a preference for his left hand she 'wouldn't allow it'. She is Chinese so presumably some cultural and supersticious (sure I've spelt that wrong but can't be arsed checking) thing going on there but...

<I can't stand my sil, by the way.>

CAM Fri 04-Oct-02 20:07:03

I've also got a sil of Chinese origin and she is the strictest mummy I have ever known.

SueDonim Fri 04-Oct-02 23:09:18

In my four months in Indonesia I have yet to meet a L-handed local. I rather suspect it is to do with the taboo about using the left hand which is used for 'hygiene purposes' instead of loo paper. Would that also be the case in China?

Tinker Fri 04-Oct-02 23:57:20

SueDonim - I think in China it is more to do with being bad luck or sign of the devil. The old sinister and gauche connotations spread far and wide it seems. Could be completely wrong of course.

mollipops Sat 05-Oct-02 08:26:23

Actually Katherine I think there is some statistic somewhere that says left-handers like us do have slightly shorter life-expectancies. I know I was pretty p'd off when I heard it too!

SueDonim Sat 05-Oct-02 10:52:54

Thanks, Tinker. It seems to me that all Asian cultures have a much stronger sense of the spiritual and the superstitious than we in the west and that's why taboos about L-handedness still exist here. You may have seen my story about a haunted house, on the Halloween party thread. It simply doesn't seem to cross anyone's mind that there could be another explantion.

Katherine, I've seen the life-expectancy statistic thing too, and it does seem to be down to living in a R-handed world.

SueDonim Sat 05-Oct-02 10:53:32

Sorry, should be 'Mollipops', not 'Katherine'!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: