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Curious question about fine motor skills

(18 Posts)
lougle Thu 30-Jan-14 18:56:38

Bear with me on this:

DD2's pencil grip is not great. She's using a grip to try and modify it.

Her writing size varies wildly, even within a sentence (from very large to tiny) and where the writing is on the line also varies wildly.

I was watching her using her yoyo today, and she used the left hand. DD3, who is right handed and uses her right hand for her yoyo, has a good pen grip for age, and consistent writing size for age. I've excluded DD1 from my 'pool' because she has bendy, floppy fingers and isn't really writing yet.

DD2 also sucks her left hand constantly.

Is it possible/likely/probable that she is actually left handed, but has learned to write with her right hand because she was unable to use the left hand as it was in her mouth all the time?

NewBlueCoat Thu 30-Jan-14 19:16:14

not a curious questions at all, lougle. I have the same issue with my dds.

I read somewhere once <vague> that eg sucking thumb/fingers/comforting gesture is a probable indicator of handedness. Both dds suck left thumb (I am left handed) yet are right handed.

dd2 seems to be getting along ok with that, but it causes problems for dd1.

whe ndd1 was an infant, she only used her left hand. for everyhting. to the point we worried about some kind of paralysis in her right arm/hand - it just didn't seem to exist for her at all.

then, when she was about 11 months old, she started using her right hand (and promptly forgot about her left hand for a while). ALl through her preschool years, she was a LOT more accurate when doing shape sorters/jigsaw puzzles if she used her left hand - would get it spot on, forst go, whereas with her right hand she would have to place and jiggle a bit, iyswim? We didn't want to push use of left hand, in case that had been the anomaly.

ANd so it continues today, with any motor skill involving coordination. dd1 is more accurate when using her left hand, yet seems to instinctively use her right hand. It is really frustrating!

claw2 Thu 30-Jan-14 19:42:20

Most people can use either hand for a lot of things. Ds is left handed, but still uses his right hand to do some things.

I suppose when you think about it all that 'left handed' actually means is a strong preference to use your left hand.

If you show a strong preference for using your left hand for most daily things ie writing, eating, brushing teeth etc, you are labelled left handed.

I am sure if you were right handed, you could learn to use your left and vice versa

Ds's handwriting is terrible too and he holds a pencil so tightly his fingertips turn white, however his pressure is so light, you can barely read it. More to do with ds hyper mobility/poor fine motor skills, than his handedness I think.

lougle Thu 30-Jan-14 19:59:38

I was left handed as a child, until a teacher made it clear it was 'inferior'. I switched to being right handed, reteaching myself how to write. I had awful knock-on effects, and would still turn taps anticlockwise to turn them off (cue major flooding) well into my teens. I regularly cycled the wrong way around roundabouts, etc.

I just wondered whether DD2 was really a leftie, and whether she'd have a better time if she could switch hand.

Tonight, I mentioned it and she said 'I do write with my left hand confused'
I said 'No, DD2, you don't.' She said 'Yes I do!!' So my Mum said 'DD2, which is your left hand?' DD2 pointed to her left hand.

So I said 'Ok, DD2 - write something for me.'

She took the pencil, in her left hand, then tried to hold it, then said 'Oh' with a sheepish grin. 'I use my right hand it looks like!'

ouryve Thu 30-Jan-14 20:09:55

Yep, tight grip is common with hypermobility, claw, as it's hard for the pen to feel secure and feedback about how tight the pen is being held isn't very efficient. If I, say, arch my hand to push down on the lid of the scanner when I have a bouncy book, I have to make a conscious effort not to push down so hard that my fingertips bend back. I have no idea I'm doing it unless I see it, or it starts to hurt after a while.

DS1 grips tightly and presses hard and consequently tires very quickly. He's too stubborn to persuade to use a thicker pen or pencil, I even bought him a very grown up chunky, moulded handwriting pen, but he won't use it. We've been working on the pressure, though.

I'm left handed, but embarrass myself trying to use a yo-yo with my right, btw grin

lougle Thu 30-Jan-14 20:13:18

DD2 curls her index finger to the side of the pencil, has the pencil resting in the web of her thumb, with her 3rd finger holding the tip, and her thumb holding down her index finger.

I don't know how she developed that pen grip, because I can't physically do it without a lot of determination, but that's my DD2 grin

zen1 Thu 30-Jan-14 20:14:03

DS3's OT told me that some children don't settle on a definite hand for writing until 6 or 7. He is 5 and still swaps hands when trying to write. Is your DD2 hypermobile at all? Two of my DS's have very hypermobile hand joints which affect their pencil grip and fine motor control (both use the triangle handgrips).

zen1 Thu 30-Jan-14 20:14:50

x posts re: hypermobility!

lougle Thu 30-Jan-14 20:16:47

I don't know. I haven't heard anything from the OT yet. Nothing at all.

NewBlueCoat Thu 30-Jan-14 20:19:12

There's a lot of biological and neurological stuff which gives rise to that preference, though, claw. And yes, people can learn to use the other hand (in case of accidents, or where left ganders used to be forced to be right handed) but it can cause a lot of coordination issues, and some potential neurological ones too.

Way back in the mists if time my dissertation was on handed ness and te impact on language acquisition and organisation within the brain <outs self dramatically as was quite a niche area>. The knock on effects of using the 'wrong' side of the brain to do everyday minutiae (if that is what my dd1 is doing) are quite profound and certainly far reaching if you take into account the effects on eg confidence of not performing as well as you know you can (or as well as other expect you to, if they know that you can do better)

<phone playing up and won't let me post; have probably x-posted loads now!>

claw2 Thu 30-Jan-14 20:20:24

Like Blue, I remember reading something similar about 9 out of 10 babies sucking their right thumb and this hand preference continued in later life.

I also remember another about it being suspected of running in family (although no proven link), my dad was left handed.

and another about some lefties, using their left to do everything and others who use their right hand for most things and their left only to write. Seems handedness is a bit of spectrum!

I just noticed that although I am right handed, I use my left to unscrew lids! I also use my left to turn on the tap on the left hand side of the sink.

NewBlueCoat Thu 30-Jan-14 20:28:21

oh, and there used to be a conditionknown as 'cross-lateral confusion'. my brother was dx'd with it in the 70s (should have been a whole host of other dxs as well, but there you go).

basically, instead of having adominant side to his brain, his was more equal. but not in an ambidextrous way - more like the opposite, tbh. and so he didn't know whether he was left handed or righthanded. and it could change, daily, or even by the hour. sometimes according to what else he was doing (depending on which bits of his brain were beign stimulated, I guess). in reality it meant stuff like: he would be on the sports field and try to catch a ball coming towards him. lined up all ok, all fine, except he would instinctively stick out the wrong hand (without meaning to, iyswim). he would think he was going to catch it with his left hand, and defintiely try to, but totally unconsciously, it would seem, his right hand would go up to catch the ball. it was incredibly frustrating for him. he would sit down in school, and not know, until he reached for his pen, which 'handed' he was that moment. the other side of the coin to ambidextrous, I guess.

claw2 Thu 30-Jan-14 20:29:16

Yes Blue, I am sure there are 1001 factors which might or might not contribute to hand preference.

Ds is total lefty, left legged, left eyed and left eared apparently!

claw2 Thu 30-Jan-14 20:35:53

Its strange isn't Ouryve, I would have thought if ds was gripping the pen so tightly, he would push too hard, yet he does the opposite.

According to OT along with the hypermobility, he also uses all the wrong muscles to write, which requires much more effort.

Handwriting and handedness, is a complicated old business, interesting topic Lougle.

NewBlueCoat Thu 30-Jan-14 20:50:40

so far, ds is shaping up to be lefthanded (but then, given how the dds have turned put, I won't hold my breath! grin)

he sucks his left fingers, and so far has a preference for picking up food with his left hand. I am a mean and controlling mother, so he has yet to get his hands on crayons etc (despite his best efforts!), but he does seem to turn pages in books more often with his left hand than with his right.

only time will tell, I guess!

would be typical if I had 3/3 who sucked left thumb/fingers but were right handed - I wonder whAt the odds of that would be?!

ouryve Thu 30-Jan-14 20:57:49

Probably similar to the odds of 2 left handers having 2 right handed kids! (Though DS2 does a lot of things right handed, but is almost as inclined to do them left handed - and sometimes both at once!)

Ineedmorepatience Thu 30-Jan-14 21:04:31

Two out of three of my Dd's are left handed, the two quirky ones funnily enough.

I think I may have been at some point but think I may have been "encouraged" to be right handed at school.

I have lots of coordination issues and have gradually become more lefthanded as I have got older but still write [very badly] with my right.

Dd3 is hypermobile too and holds the pen really tight and presses really hard on the paper and makes her hand hurt sad

Her hand writing is still inconsistent and she cant/wont join.

I always put her issues with letter/word and number reversal down to her being left handed but have recently been told she has dyslexia and dyscalculia sad

lougle Thu 30-Jan-14 21:27:17

DD1 is hypermobile in her fingers. In fact, her fingers are odd, tbh. They're kind of....too squishy and flat. The Geneticist said that she's sure there's something genetic that's caused her condition, we just haven't found it. She doesn't press hard enough and her grip is awful, etc.

I noticed today (interestingly - I only thought about the handedness this evening, but perhaps I was putting pieces together earlier...) that when I was washing glue off a table at DD2's school, I had more strength and co-ordination in my left hand/arm than my right. That got me thinking about the fact that 'naturally' I am left handed.

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