What do the following famous people have in common? Jimi Hendrix, Orpah Winfrey, Aristotle, Marie Curie, Leonardo Da Vinci, Napoleon, Babe Ruth, Bill Gates and Bill Clinton….If you guessed that they’re all lefties then you’re right! (Language is soooo biased against lefties- but that’s another story altogether!)
Lefties might make up a small portion of the world population- only around 13%, but they have a unique advantage to excel as leaders, sportsmen, artists, musicians and in many other fields. This may be due to the way the human brain functions.
Our brain is “cross-wired” so that the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and vice-versa. A dominate hand represents brain dominance on the opposite side. Righites have left-hemisphere dominance and are considered to be “Linear thinkers” since the left side of the brain controls logic, mathematics, speech, language, and writing. Lefties have right-hemisphere dominance are considered to be ”Holistic thinkers” since the right side of the brain controls music, art, creativity, perception and emotions.
The fact that in the past lefties were considered clumsy and awkward is not due to lack of abilities, but being forced to use their right hand and right-handed tools which are cumbersome for them to handle.
If your child is left-handed you might want to check out the following website: AnythingLeftHanded for a wide range of writing utensils and other tools designed especially for lefties. http://www.anythinglefthanded.co.uk/acatalog/left-handed-schoolequipment.html
They sell lefty scissors designed with the blades reversed to help see the line while cutting, Stabilo pens with an ergonomic lefty grip, note-books bound on the right for easy writing, as well as lefty keyboards and mouses. The list goes on and on.
As parents the main point to remember is that it takes a while for dominance to develop and establish (around age 5) so kids need to be given plenty of opportunity to develop a dominate hand. If they don’t then their fine motor skills will not be as good as they could be and they will be hindered in school performance. One way to do this is to provide plenty of opportunities to use both hands and see which hand naturally has more dominance. The following are some sensory activities to develop hand dominance:
* Fill a sensory bin with rice, or lentils and fill it with small objects. Have your kid search for the objects. After a few minutes with both hands try to have them find the objects using only the dominate hand.
* Playing catch. Start out throwing with both hands then move on to the dominant hand.
* Bake cookies- use both hands with the rolling pin to roll out the dough, then use the dominant hand to cut out shapes with the cookie cutter.
* Clean the table with a wet cloth. See which hand they prefer to use.
* Squirt gun target practice. Use both hands on the squirt gun to try and knock over cups, wash away chalk, then continue to the dominant hand.
P.S. SensoryTreat co-founder Oren and his son are Lefties, as well as my youngest child so this blog is dedicated to them, and all our Sensorytreat Lefties!!!