Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back to School for Lefties

Gone are the days of forcing left handed children to write with their right hands. At least I hope they're gone. Studies have shown that forcing left handed children to be right handed not only caused emotional problems but it also caused many learning disabilities like, dyslexia. The brain of the left handed child operates differently than the brain of a right handed child. Left handed people seem to have less difficulty with puzzles and mirror images. Leonardo DaVinci found it easier to write backwards with his left hand. His journals had to be held up to a mirror to be read. So with the discovery that lefties are all right, you would think that the world would be equally accommodating. It isn't.

Consider this, when your right handed child sits at a desk with an arm rest, he is perfectly prepared to write comfortably and with ample support. But what of the left handed child? Where will his left arm rest? When you enter a classroom all of the arm rests are on the right hand side. Most schools have made up for this by removing the arm rests all together. But they need to go further. Here are a list of things your school aged lefty will need.

Pencil Sharpener- Pencil sharpeners operate by turning the inserted pencil in the sharpener to the right. Easy enough when you are right handed. But take a second and try sharpening a pencil in the same pencil sharpener with your left hand and you will see why a left-handed pencil sharpener is necessary.

Notebooks- Open the cover of a notebook and you will find that it is easy to write from left to right when the pages are on the right...if you're right handed. If you're left handed, the left sided pages are easier to write on as the binding is out of your way. That is why your child will need a left handed notebook. However, these are as difficult to find as the left handed pencil sharpeners. My husband solved this problem while in college by using a top bound notebook.

Scissors- There are two options here. You can get your child the left handed scissors which are readily available or you can buy the even handed scissors. The even handed scissors may be optimal for a younger child. Sometimes the younger lefty is able to use both hands.

Binder- I know it seems that a binder could simply be turned upside down but not if it has pockets. Also, some binders have a ring opener that can only be opened from the top. If you can't find a lefty binder then you have to work with the regular binders.

If you are able to sew, then you may want to remove the zippers on your child's backpack and lunch box. The zippers go from left to right, turn the zipper around to make it go from right to left.

At home, you may want to invest in a left handed desk to help reinforce the use of his left hand. His penmanship on his homework will look better than his classwork.

Also, have a heart to heart conversation with your child's teacher. Most teachers don't have the time or the focus to give your one child out of 30 to 60 kids in a class individual attention. Without realizing it, she may unwittingly force your child to write with the right hand.

It's a right world out there. Take care of the ones who are left.

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