Left-Handers…In A Right-Handed World!
It is estimated that around 10% of the population is left-handed – that means 9 out of 10 (90%) people are right handed. Unsurprising then that the world is arranged, set up and designed for mainly right handed people!
Left-handedness has puzzled researchers for many, many years and there is still no real clarity as to why someone favours the left over the right. There is evidence however that:
- Genes are responsible about 25% of the time
- Left-handedness tends to run in families (but not as noticeably as other inherited traits such as height or intelligence)
- Male testosterone may play a part as there are slightly more male left handers than female
- Development experts say parents are unlikely to get a good sense of their child’s dominant hand until age 2 or 3 as many children continue to switch hands for different tasks during early childhood
- Children may ‘learn’ to be left handed by copying their parents or a significant carer
- Left-handers seem to have an edge in sports like boxing or fencing where they might surprise opponents who are used to facing off against mostly right-handers
Children can often feel frustrated that they are different to their peers and can struggle with simple tasks, especially when learning to hold a pencil and form letters. This is a crucial stage when gentle encouragement is essential and parents and teachers alike must make sure that a child is confident that being left-handed is not an obstacle (believe it or not children in Victorian era classrooms used to be punished for trying to write with their left hand!).
So, in this right-handed world, what can be done to assist left-handed children (and adults) so they are not unfairly penalised?
Here are a few simple strategies to help things go a little more smoothly…
- In a classroom situation, make sure that left-handers are always sitting on the left, so they are not bumping elbows with their right-handed classmates
- Place their chair to the right of the writing surface, which leaves space for writing on the left side of the body
- Slant the writing paper to avoid smudging the written work
- Encourage use of specially designed pens and pencils (particularly a left-handed nib for fountain pens as this will ensure the ink runs smoothly)
- Invest in left-handed scissors
Research shows that left-handers are more likely to be creative and imaginative and much more flexible and adaptable than their right-handed counterparts – primarily because they have had to adapt to a right handed world!
These days there are excellent resources on-line for left-handers as well as on line retailers that stock exclusively left-handed products such as:
…great for home/office supplies and gift ideas for the left-handers in your life.
And next year, look out for:
International Lefthanders Day on 13th August.