Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Left Handed or Right Handed?

Stuart is out of town on a business trip for tonight and tomorrow night.  It was neat that he was able to use his tablet he uses for work to have a video conference with the kids before they went to bed.  They were so excited to be able to tell him good night.  Stuart has been reading Narnia to Nicholas at night and he said it would have been neat if he had the book there and could continue reading it to Nicholas over Skype each night.

With Stuart gone, I've had a little bit more quiet time to myself.  I decided to work on an issue we've had with Rachel.  We've been struggling with trying to figure out if she is left handed or right handed.  It's hard for me to teach her how to hold a pencil and how to write when I can't figure out which hand she should be using.

We don't have any lefties on either side of our family that we know of so the fact that this is even a question we are dealing with still boggles my mind.

In preschool Nicholas appeared to be ambidextrous.  He picked up his pencil with which ever hand was closer. As he learned to write, he seemed to write fine with either hand and would sometimes switch
hands in the middle of writing. The handwriting was about the same from each hand - one wasn't neater than the other. In Kindergarten, we really needed to work on handwriting so we had him stick with his right hand going forward since there seemed to be no preference either way. There hasn't been any issues since.

Rachel is 4. She likes to write with her left hand but does most other things with her right side. She use her right hand when she cuts with scissors. When she takes a step to walk, she starts with her right foot. She kicks a ball with her right foot. I've heard or read that which ever hand you write with tells you what your dominant side is and you will do every thing else with preference and strength on that side.  But this is all mixed up with her.

I try to get her to write a word with each hand so I can see how she does with controlling the pencil and compare if one side is neater than the other. But she says she likes to write with the left hand better and will purposefully mess up her right hand writing (love those preschoolers!).

It is possible that she has figured out a good grip position with her left hand and it just feels more comfortable. She seems to struggle with how to grip the pencil with her right hand - but she gets stubborn when I try to teach her how to hold it in her right hand and doesn't want to cooperate.

I want to work with her on handwriting but I'm stuck until I figure out which hand she should be using. I hate to train her to hold her pencil and write as a left hander if she is really right side dominant or vice versa. 


I have a great group of other homeschool moms so I sent an email to the group explaining the situation.  Here are some of the responses I received....

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I am by no means an expert but these are some things our speech therapist and occupational therapists told us.

Roll up a piece of paper, hold it out to her and tell her to put it up to her eye to look through. Whichever eye she puts it to is likely her dominant hand. 

Another thing to look at is her gross motor skills. Whichever hand is dominant doing gross motor skills is the one to go with.

Diane
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My son is a lefty. He swings the bat with both and plays lacrosse with both.

I really think she will naturally just pick up her pencil or crayon and write with what feels most comfortable.

I would, as Kathe Lee always says, go with the student. Even though she is young she will write with what is comfortable.
My son has beautiful handwriting even though he is left handed.

I know you will figure it out!

Debbie
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I am the adult version of your daughter. I was actually considered ambidextrous in grade school but one I my teachers made me choose since my handwriting was very different with each hand. I chose to write with my left hand.

Besides using silverware or writing, I do everything else right-handed. Played tennis and softball right-handed and can only cut with knives or scissors right-handed. I would say let her use a pencil with whichever hand she chooses and don't influence her. My life is not hindered in any way whatsoever. Okay, I will admit that the credit card machines at WalMart and everywhere else were not made with lefties in mind.

Your daughter is most likely exhibiting signs of high intelligence and overall awesomeness!! HA!

Lori
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I second what Diane said.  We were told the same thing in combination with tell her you want to whisper something in her ear and see which ear she gives you.  Then tell her you want to whisper something through the door and have her go up to it with someone on the other side to whisper and see which ear she puts to the door,roll the ball and see which foot she chooses to use (not starting off kicking, but a ball rolled to her).  In addition to handing her the rolled up paper (or a paper towel tube), if she is truly right side dominant then she should take it with her right hand and put it up to her right eye.  If she takes it with her left hand but goes to her right eye or vice versa she is mixed dominance if you see mixed dominance with the other "tests".  All this will show her dominate side or mixed dominance.  If she is right sided for everything then she is right handed.  If she is mixed, then there is more going on.  This would be one of our girls.  :)

If she is mixed dominance, then there is a good chance she cannot march or crawl correctly either.  This is critical to brain organization and sometimes kids who use left side dominant for some things and right side for others, cannot march or crawl correctly. 

Hope all this makes since.  If she is mixed dominance and she cannot march or crawl correctly, then she should march for 2 minutes each morning and each night.  I want to say it was for 3 months minimum.  I learned all this at a seminar by Little Giants Big Steps (I think that was the company).  This is way more than you asked for, but I figured I would type it all up at once rather than saying email if she is mixed dominance and I'll tell you more!  ;)

Tamara
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Husband and I are both right handed. Our son picked his left hand extremely early. (Prior to nine months). 

He was diagnosed with dystonia (Variable/Mixed muscle tone in hands) in the fall and now the neurologist and therapists are saying he is truly right handed but switched hands due to muscle control issues on right side of body. He tends to use right size for gross motor skills, where he wants more strength, and left hand for fine motor skills. 

Mixed dominance (for whatever reason) can cause cause problems later on, as we are now learning.

If you are interested, I can loan you Diane craft's book when we get back. Look at her website, as it is loaded with info.
Suzie
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I can just say that as a lefty, I eat, brush my teeth, crochet and write left handed. Everything else I do - sports and using scissors I do right handed. Just a perspective from a lefty. :)

Janae 
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I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful support system of other moms that I can turn to.  They can't answer all my questions but it is nice having some feedback and suggestions for other things we might try to help us figure out what's going on.

Now, since Stuart is gone, I'm going downstairs and taking control of the TV remote...just because I can. 

Dang, I don't think I know how to work the remote control.  How do you turn this thing on??

1 comment:

  1. For what it's worth, I am 40 years old and I do everything right-handed except write. I am considered a lefty b/c I write left-handed, but I cannot cut with left-handed scissors to save my life. I don't know why, and I'm adopted, so I don't know my family history. But when I was little, I started coloring and then writing with my left hand. It was not comfortable to hold a pencil in my right. I found, however, that I was doing everything else right-handed without thinking about it, and my right side was the dominant side in dance class. It has never caused a problem for me. I am no expert in child development, but based on my own experience, I'd say just let her do what is comfortable and work on handwriting from there. :-)

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