Hey, Lefties! Today is your Day!
Did you know that approximately 13% of our population is left-handed? For the most part, they have had to adapt to living in a right-handed world! I remember growing up and watching the lefties struggle with the pencil sharpeners where you inserted the pencil on the left and turned the handle on the right side. How awkward would that be for us righties to crank it with our left hands?
Many kids have chosen their hand dominance by the age of three and most by the time they enter school. A good indicator for hand dominance is observing which hand a young child feeds herself with, either finger feeding or with utensils. Also take note of which hand she uses to manage toys such as a hammer with the pounding bench or a hand puppet. Often, eye and leg dominance correlates to hand dominance. Pay attention to which eye she holds a telescope or camera up to or which leg she uses to kick a ball or to balance on one leg. If your child hasn’t picked a hand, yet, be sure to place feeding utensils and other toys at her midline so that you do not influence the use of one hand over the other. Most importantly, never force your child to be right handed!
My nieces are lefties. Emma, who is 12, reported that the worst thing about being a leftie is “writing in pen, because it smears!” Have you seen those lefties who hook their wrists? I believe it’s a combination of improper paper position as well as trying to avoid smearing what they’ve written.
Show your lefties some love with the following considerations:
- Sit to the right of your leftie friends; teach your leftie to sit at the left end of a table or row
- Look for workbooks or notebooks that are bound at the top
- Teach your leftie to position his or her paper correctly! The top left corner of the paper should be higher.
- Help your child establish strategies to avoid erasing her work as she moves along the chalkboard or whiteboard. Positioning her hand underneath her writing will help.
- Teach her how to tie her shoe laces by sitting across from her so that you’re not teaching it “your way”.
- Position handles of cups, mugs, pitchers and saucepans toward the left hand.
- Provide your child with left handed tools and equipment for school and leisure activities:
- Left-Handed Scissors are a must!
- Consider modifying the computer mouse to reverse the buttons
- Hopefully, they no longer have those right-handed desks!
- There are leftie guitars, knives and golf clubs! Look around to find something to make life a little easier for your leftie!
Michelle Yoder, OTR/L