International Left Handers Day is observed annually on August 13 to celebrate the uniqueness and differences of the left handers and to raise awareness for left-handed people in a predominantly right-handed world.
In the last few years the number of left handed persons has increased dramatically. This is partly because left handed children are not forced to use the right hand for writing any more but are rather encouraged to use whichever hand the child shows a preference to. Previously a left handed child was always corrected and encouraged to use the right hand.
While a child might start preferring a certain hand when he’s around six or nine months old, it’s normal for babies and toddlers to use both hands—picking up crayons with whichever hand is closest or switching in mid-project. It’s not until around age four that you should really start paying attention to which hand they’re using for things like colouring, printing letters, holding cutlery, picking up ball or any other object. If you allow him opportunities to explore using both hands, he will most likely develop a preference and eventually dominance either right or left hand whichever demonstrates the greatest skill, strength, and dexterity.
If a left-handed child is only permitted to write with the left hand but not taught how to write, the child may develop a unnecessarily uncomfortable, inefficient, slow, messy way of writing that will be a lifelong suffering. Therefore, it is especially important for parents and teachers to understand how to teach left-handed children to write correctly.
A left handed child cannot be taught to write using the same principles that are used to teach a right handed child. Often a right handed person is not even aware of the problems a left handed person has to face.
Here are some of the common problems faced by a left handed child:
Push Vs Pull: When a right handed child is writing he or she is pulling the pen/pencil across the paper. This works well because we write left to right. Left handed children have to push their pen/pencil across the page. This is quite hard. This also makes the nib of the pen/pencil go deeper into the paper rather than flow smoothly.
Watch What You Write: Since we write from left to right (in majority of the languages), a right handed person can watch what they are writing as they are writing. This is often difficult for a left handed person and hence they can develop bad handwriting if not taught using the correct method and approach.
Here are some of the ways in which you can help a left handed approach:
Tip #1: Never force a left-handed child to use his right hand.
First and foremost NEVER ever discourage a left handed child from using the left hand for writing. Your child is perfect just the way he is. Whether your child is left handed or right handed does not matter, and will not affect his intelligence, academic capabilities, creativity, leadership or any other thing. The key is to ensure that he has enough practice, you teach him all the right techniques and you raise him positively.
Many admirable people are or were left-handed, including Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Narendra Modi, Bill Gates, Rajnikant ……. The list of left-handed artists, actors, political leaders, and innovators runs very long – about a tenth of the population, in fact!
Recently world’s first ever museum for left handers has been inaugurated at Goa, exhibiting statues of world’s top successful Indian & International left handed personalities with presentation of highlights & unknown facts of their lives.
Tip #2: Teach Your Child How To Grasp The Pencil Properly.
Show your child how he can write best by using the tripod grasp. Using this technique, he needs to pinch the pencil using his thumb and the index finger. Left handed children should hold their pencils an inch and half higher than right handed children. Encourage him to keep his wrist and hand below the writing line and the wrist should be straight (not bent). If you find there is a lot of smudging then may be use a harder lead pencil like number 3 instead of a number 2 lead pencil.
Tip #3: Change the paper position.
Encourage your child to angle his paper with the left corner pointed up (Rotate the paper 45 degrees clockwise). This way by moving the paper to the left side of the child, you are allowing the left handed child to view his writing as he writes. This gives them confidence, makes them right faster and teaches them handwriting skills.
Tip #4: Avoid Hooking.
One of the main problems faced by left handed children is that they cannot see what they are writing. In order to be able to see what they are writing they tend to hook their hands above the writing line and write. This is a very difficult posture and burdensome which results from lack of proper training. Discourage them from hooking. A proper paper position and pencil position will enable them to see what they are writing. So encourage proper paper position and good pencil position and discourage hooking.
Tip #5: Formation of letters may or may not be the same as right handed.
In most cases, writing the letters and forming them is almost similar between left-handed as well as right-handed children. The only real difference in formation is that lefties can “pull” their little lines backward to cross their letters (like for lowercase “f” and “t” and for capital “A” “E” “F” “H” “J” “T”) by going from right to left rather than “pushing” from left to right. If parents or teachers force them to write in specific way it creates confusion and stress. To avoid this situation it is necessary to allow them to form a letter in whichever way they feel comfortable.
Hope this will help you to understand and help your lefty for improving his writing skills. . If you want to discuss any confidential matter related with parenting log on to my website www.swatigautam.com and send your problems via ‘contact me’ page.
And finally Happy Handwriting to one and all…