How Many Lefties are Among Us?
Statistics show that about 1 out of every 10 people worldwide are left-handed.
James T. deKay, author of The Natural Superiority of the Left-Hander, says, “[I]f both parents are left-handed, there’s a good chance that 50 percent of their children will be left-handed, too. But if neither parent is a lefty, the probability shrinks to only 2 percent.”
Famous lefties include Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Julius Caesar, Winston Churchill and Barack Obama.
How Will I Know if my Child is Left-handed?
Some parents will be able to tell which hand a child prefers by as young as age 3 but for most, this happens around age 5. (2)
A quick left-handed test is just to watch which hand your child uses to handle a spoon, or pick up and throw or roll a ball.
Challenges and Advantages for Left-handed Children
Perhaps one of the lingering challenges is the historical view that being left-handed was a bad thing. I still hear conversations amongst some of my parenting friends about whether or not they should try to teach their lefty to be a righty.
Gina Landfair, an occupational therapist at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, says, “ ‘[D]on’t force a round peg into a square hole. If you suspect your child’s a lefty, don’t attempt to transform him into a righty. This just causes more problems later.’” (2)
It can also cause physiological problems as in the case of my uncle who was forced by his teachers to use his right hand instead of his left, and it actually gave him migraines and made him throw up.
Writing presents a challenge in terms of:
• Positioning of the paper – Lefties cannot write on paper positioned vertically. It needs to be tilted.
• Grip on the pen/pencil – Lefties tend to use a “hook” kind of grasp so they can see what they’re writing, but should be encouraged not to do that
• Smearing ink – Be sure to buy quick drying pens and watch out for markers as lefties will smear the ink across the page as they write.