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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.

September 23, 2020

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