Teacher training and left handed children

We have now produced a follow-up article and analysis of all the comments we received on this item and you can see it here

Left handed children at schoolOver many years we have been encouraging teacher training organisations to give more consideration to the requirement of left-handed children and providing information to help raise teachers' awareness of the issues.  There are a few simple things teachers can do in the classroom to make a dramatic difference to left-handers in their early years at school and avoid problems as they develop through the education system.

 

These are basic things such as:

  • Sitting a left-handed child on the left side of writing areas so they do not bump elbows with the child next to them
  • Demonstrating a correct writing grip and encouraging an effective writing position
  • Having left-handed scissors available and know how to use them.
  • Understanding that left-handers will form some letters in a different direction to right-handers.

Unfortunately, we know from the huge amount of correspondence we get as well as responses to our surveys and comments on our website that these things do not happen as a matter of course.  Often it is only when the teacher is left-handed or the parents of the left-handed child really push for changes that the left-handed children get the proper advice and help they need.

Understanding the needs of left-handed children and how to help them is supp0sed to be a part of the Teacher Training Curriculum in the UK, but it seems to get little attention in practice.

Left handed writing at schoolWe are very keen to raise awareness of this issue and to encourage teacher training organisations around the world to actually DO the small things that will make a lot of difference.  We are going to use this year's International Left Handers Day on 13th August 2012 as a platform to get publicity about it in print, radio, TV and online media around the world.

The starting point is to pull together information on what is currently happening around the world and then to create an action plan that we can push to have included in all teacher training courses and be distributed to all teachers, and we need YOUR help!

If you have any knowledge or expertise in this area or would be willing to do a bit of research in your country we would love to hear what you can find out.  We will bring it all together on this web site and keep you informed of progress and further work we need to do.  We are also keen to hear about your personal experiences and those of your children.

We are particularly interested in younger children as it their early school years that can make a big difference, but we are going to include education right through to university / college level.

So, if you can help with any of the following, please add your thoughts and links to any information you can find as comments to this post (preferred method as others can then share it as well), or contact Keith Milsom direct on this page:
Contact Keith about teacher training on left-handed children.

  • Teacher training guidelines and course content relating to left-handed children
  • Checklists or notes given to teachers about helping left-handed children
  • Any research or surveys on left-handed children in school
  • Your own personal experiences or those of your children - good and bad!

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

Print This Post Print This Post

236 Responses to “Teacher training and left handed children”

(Scroll down below the comment box to see all previous comments)

Leave a Comment

CAPTCHA Image
*

  1. Jennifer Johnson says:

    My child has the unfortunate experience of having an awful teacher this year :( His work is accurate and his spellings and readings and maths is perfect, he is above average intelligence in tests despite being struck with Absence Seizures January 2013 .. which has been a terrible ordeal for him already to deal with let alone a teacher who is totally unsympathetic. Well he is left handed and his writing is not good, i can even admit that, but she has done a great big cross in his work and made him go to the head master and made him do it again. How harsh is that? I have complained but she is not picking on him as much now, so that is something but it made him so bad he never wanted to go to school. He was vomiting and having a bad stomach so i was keeping him off thinking it was a bug but it was stress from her! She told me in a parent interview that every time she got at him she noticed a pattern of three days off.. I was appalled and now the head master is covering it all up because his absences and the local office are concerned and because he is trying to save her behind, he said to the local officer that he will deal with this. Normally so many absences can land you in court here in the uk but this is awful. My son told me don’t say a word because she will only be worse to him. I am glad i have seen this page. Thank you, i will copy it and send both the head and the teacher (if you can call her that, more like bully).. each so they can wise up.

  2. Cornelia says:

    Dear All

    I’ve only just found this website, and wished I’d found it earlier. I’m a teacher in the UK, working at a Steiner Waldorf School (but I’m neither Steiner-trained nor an Anthroposophist). To my horror, I discovered last Wednesday that a class 1 teacher, with the help and support of the Learning Support Teacher/SENCO, decided to force a class 1 pupil to switch from being left-handed to right-handed. He’s been given a “special stone” to hold in his left hand in order to prevent him from using that hand for writing and drawing. I questioned the decision. I have yet to find out if this is legal, but it is definitely discrimantory. I’ve also researched this kind of action, and was shocked to find out that forcing a left-handed child to switch causes learning difficulties, notably speech problems (stutter). This is not surprising as hand-mouth co-ordination lies very close together in the brain. I’m a foreign language teacher, and studied socio-linguistics as part of my teaching degree.

    I will not tolerate this kind of cruel action at my workplace. We are collectively responsible for the children we teach. I will do whatever it takes to spare this poor boy from more pain.

    For the record: I’m right-handed, but am used to being around left-handed people as both my best friends at school were left-handed. And I was allowed to sit next to them as they could sit to my left! :)

    I would be very grateful for any feedback. Thank you!

  3. Mushtaque Ahmed Rajput says:

    I am a wonderful mirror-writer. I am left handed, so it is more natural for me. I can also take a pen in each hand and mirror what my left hand writes with my right hand. So the mirror script meets in the middle with the correct script. I have amazed many people with it.

  4. Lizz says:

    Most of my family are left-handed. Kids, parents, grandparents, cousins.. So i understand the difficulties left-handers have in a mainly right-handed world. I have an interest in the research of lefthandedness and always try to raise awareness to it. I also made it a clear topic point during 2years of Teacher Training. As my Dad is left-handed, we spotted tell-tale signs that my Son would probably be left before he was 1 year old. Throughout Primary School I often would tell his Teachers, some were understanding, others didn’t see it as a problem. This was 16 years ago. I knew my daughter would be left aswell and made her teachers aware beforehand so she wouldn’t have to struggle as much. A few years ago I did 2 years Teacher Training in Life Long Learning and now have 6years in a teaching enviroment. It is surprising how many teachers are unaware of how hard it can be. I am pleased to finally see it being recognised.

  5. Amanda says:

    After reading all the replies, what I can’t understand is how everyone had so much trouble writing their letters. I don’t remember ever having a problem learning how to form the letters regardless of whether or not I was printing or learning cursive. I do remember my mom trying to get me to write hook handed so I wouldn’t drag my hand through my work. But I fought her on it because it was uncomfortable. However, today’s ink dries instantly, so you don’t really have that problem anymore. Unless you use gel pens. And thank heavens I never had to learn how to write with fountain pens! That’s really old school! Unfortunately, when it’s time to write out Christmas cards, I make a lot of mistakes because I’ve forgotten how to write! Well, not exactly, but I write so very little anymore that I make more mistakes than I used to.

    That’s one thing that concerns me. I’m sure that eventually we won’t even need to be able to write anymore. We won’t have to sign our name to anything because we’ll just use a thumb print. How much longer will handwriting be taught? With more and more schools turning to ipads, writing will eventually become obsolete.

    I do know that I’ve become more ambi over the years. It’s just learning to adapt. I believe that my first job actually helped me become more right handed. I was a cashier and most cash wraps are designed for righties. The register is positioned so that you type with the right hand, while the merchandise is pulled across the counter with the left. I can actually use the 10 key on the keyboard because of this. I also mouse right handed, which I find easier anyway. I can write with my left hand and continue to mouse with my right. That makes more sense to me. Why wouldn’t you mouse with your non dominant hand so as to write with the dominant hand? That way, you don’t have to keep moving your hand back and forth.

    As for knives, well…I can’t cut cakes or pies straight regardless of which hand I use. LOL! Although I think I cut with my LH. As for cutting meat, I use my right. Mom tried to teach me to use my left, but it was uncomfortable. She also tried to teach me the proper way to hang shirts in the closet with the design/buttons facing the right. Which to a lefty I suppose it really is the right way, but I always hung my clothes up backward. So, I’d go through them with my right hand. That’s one of the few things that I do right to left. But honestly, I don’t really care which direction the design is facing. Just so long as it’s hanging. I usually hang everything up inside out anyway.

    Also, how do lefties handle driving on the left with the steering column on the right? As an American that’s just awkward anyway, but as least over here, our drive thrus are left hand friendly. Unless you’re a mailman.

  6. Nahir says:

    I’m left-handed and if I remember correctly, at school I was never made to switch my handwriting or anything I did, rather I was left to cope with all the instruments that existed at that time (I’m only 19 so it’s still quite recent). Throughout my school years, I never got any support and I was and still am one of the last to finish an arts project. It was awfully hard for me to do a timed craft because I had to struggle with cutting stuff with my right handed scissors and I had to only brace myself when my wrist and thumb would redden and became painful to the touch. I would also smudge my papers as I dragged my hand across the page, leaving my hand almost completely black with pencil lead.
    Only recently have I gotten ahold of left-handed scissors and it feels much better and painless.

    To this very day, here in Puerto Rico, there is still no support whatsoever, I believe, on left handed things for children. Only in college I have seen left-handed desks, and its only one per classroom. On the big lecture classrooms, only some of the left hand side seats have the left-handed desk, but are quickly taken, so I would usually take notes with my notebook on my lap. I’ve only really have gotten to see a group of left handed people, while taking a departmental test in one of the bigger anfitheaters of the campus, but it was to separate us from the right handed students. When that happened I was really kind of offended (mostly because the professors had broken everyone’s concentration from the test), but I understood why. I’ve taken many tests in that setting and only once was it called out.

  7. Marny CA says:

    At some point while in elementary school, I realized that I could do things leftie, as well as my usual rightie mode.

    Traumatic was when having to cut paper and the scissors hurt my thumb. No one seemed to understand — because I was using right handed scissors which was paining my left thumb. I tried turning the scissors over but that didn’t work. Nothing I cut was straight because that edge was wrong.

    It didn’t take long for me to realize that I could write properly with my left as well as my right — and that I held my left hand at the same sort of angle as I did with my right hand – just at the appropriate slant.

    As I got older friends had fun showing me off – by telling people ‘oh watch – she can write with both hands at the same time and something different with each.’

    I was shy so very embarrassed at the attention – it was no big deal to me.

    Later in life, a college professor told me that what I was able to do ‘would be considered a learning disorder.’ I laughed at his pompousness!!

    Meanwhile, who does it bother when I get tired writing right handed and switch to left handed? Who does it bother when I sew left handed. When using oil paints, why would it bother anyone that I use a palette knife right handed when broad strokes are wanted – and left handed when using a teeny tiny brush for miniature strokes.

    I knit and crochet right handed … sew and cut left handed … throw a ball left handed … golf right handed and bowl left handed. Hmmmm, seems like a real disorder, doesn’t it.

    • Ann says:

      This sounds like my husband – when faced with a new activity he would ask who had the advantage, left or right. To this day he does fine motor skills with his right hand (writing, talbe tennis) and power skills with his left hand (tennis, bowling).

  8. Ria Elaine says:

    I don’t remember having many problems at school; I do seem to recall one teacher trying to get me to use my right hand, but nothing came of it as I remember. I’m totally leftie, I use my left hand for everything; writing, painting, cutting with scissors, the lot. I kick a ball with my left foot too, and for some reason I get on a bicycle from the opposite side to everyone else (is this a leftie trait..?). Although for some inexplicable reason when putting on shoes, I usually put my right shoe on first..!

  9. Jonathan Atkinson says:

    Several comments have appeared on the subject of writing. I am old enough to have had what seemed at the time like serious problems in this matter. In the early 1950s we were expected to learn to write ‘copperplate’ with steel-nibbed dipping pens in copybooks. Inevitably, when trying to do this with the left hand I dug the point of the nib into the paper and splattered ink across the page. I remember feeling (i.e. being made to feel) this was my fault. I’m sure this still goes on in other parts of the world. It is a symptom of the failure of right-handed people in general to appreciate that we are a significant minority and deserve more consideration. Improving teacher training is all very well, but I feel we need to be a lot more assertive about challenging the age-old prejudice we are up against. Should all left-handed people in the UK be encouraged to write to their MPs about the failure to include anything about us in anti-discrimination legislation?

  10. Andrew says:

    I never had problems with writing at school.I have always written with the writing slanting to the right(like a righthanded person would)and the page tilted slightly to the right without the hook-handed style. I cannot use my right hand at all because I have no fingers or a thumb on my right hand. I was the only left handed person in my class right through my school years

  11. Ayodeji Omole says:

    I am leftie. At first, when in primary school, my teacher attempted to change my by force and my mum didn’t oppose it. I started well but at the point of forcing me to use right, my brain literally switched. I would write letters in mirrored forms or just twist them. At the end of my first year, my teacher reported I was a dull child but when my report was carefully checked, they realised it was because I was forced to use right. They allowed me use my blessed left hand to write but then I lost a year as I was forced to repeat a class.

    • Nat says:

      I’m a lefty too and have just graduated as an ECE teacher in Australia. We were taught that teachers should never force children to switch hands as it doesn’t help but hinders their learning. As a left handed teacher I have trouble writing on the whiteboard.

      • Jayne says:

        Nat, I’ve just started a Bachelor of Education at CSU and I’m left-handed. It annoys me that none of the lecture halls have left-handed desks and the lecturer I have for literacy dismissed left-handedness as an issue! I was astounded! I have since emailed the course coordinator as it appears the course does not address the issue of left-handedness and I’m hoping to change this! Did your university address left-handedness?

  12. Nikki says:

    I don’t really remember how much support I got at Primary School, but I do remember always being sat on the left side/outside of the desk, so I wouldn’t bump elbows. We did have left handed scissors, but were so awful I couldn’t use them. I had to use the good (i.e sharp) right handed ones. I think I was taught how to write correctly, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve adopted the hook writing style, tilting my paper to the left, as it’s the most comfortable way for me to write. I dislike having to tilt my paper to the right or holding my hand straight (even though I’m pretty certain this is how I got taught how to write). My handwriting is neater when hooking my hand, then when it’s straight. So I guess for me, it’s a case of personal preference rather than how I got taught/learnt.
    Apart from can openers (which I still to this day can’t figure out how to use. I always put them on the wrong way, so cut it at the wrong place), I don’t really have problems with with using right handed stuff. I prefer to use left handed scissors, but can easily use right handed ones in my left hand. Pie slices are annoying, but useable. I’ve mostly adapted how to use them to suit my needs. Some knives cause me to cut food diagonally, rather than straight, but I try to avoid using them when possible.
    One thing that does bug me though is people borrowing my scissors when I was at school. I would tell them they were left handed and they would either decline to use them or they would be so bad at using them, I would offer to do it for them. If I’d done the same thing to someone with right handed scissors, I would have been laughed at.

  13. lottie m says:

    I am a Lefty — I’m left at writing, eating and cutting my food. With learning to do almost everything else Right handed, I guess I was taught that way. The Left handed scissors in my school were R handed but had rubbery coating on the hands, they worked, just not comfortable. When I was an adult I did buy a L ruler and true left handed scissors. Best investment ever. I learned to knit, crotchet, and embroider, sitting opposite from the person teaching, just by accident. Another piece of advice, if you are trying to learn something in a book or a picture, and does not look right ? ) Turn the book up-side down, TA DA !! So cool Just once in College I did have a teacher ask me if I would like a L handed seat—WOW I said, didn’t even know they made them !! I took a R handed seat, guess I had already adapted.. Thats what we LEFT handed people do, ADAPT We are survivors. And very creative too.

  14. Pamela Koefoed says:

    In the 1960′s, some believed that being left handed was a sign of intellectual deficiency. My kindergarten teacher flunked me and said I was retarded. This is so far from the truth that I laugh. My poor teacher nearly blew a gasket trying to “help” me learn to use my right hand. The problem was, at age five, I didn’t know my right from my left. I went to school with my shoes on the wrong feet and picked up the fat pencil with the “worng” hand. I wanted to obey, really, but I couldn’t. She hit my knuckles with a ruler and shamed me. I have since forgiven her. Poor woman. I’m glad to have found your informative site and will try to link back to it on my blog. Pamela

  15. Lisia says:

    I WAS a right handed person. I had an accident that causes extreme amount of pain to my hand/wrist when I tried to do anything with my right hand. In the past five years I have turned into a lefty. I am now ambidextrous to a point. I can write with both hands, though still with great pain in my right hand. I get compliments on my left handed writing (it took me a while get the finger positioning) When I was literally switching over, I had massive headaches the first 6 months. I am currently a student-teacher. Having the experience of both being both left-handed and right handed has opened my eyes in the education department. I use the grips to help righties and lefties in my classroom, as well as sharpeners and rulers for lefties. I have lefty and right handed scissors in adult and child sizes. I am now proud to be a lefty. My husband has right handed knives, I tried them once when I was first converting to left-handedness and it was hard. We now have left and right handed knives. My a grandfather, who is a left-handed, made his house for a lefty–it throws right handed people off but feel naturally for a left handed person. He also makes universal knives and sells them now. When I have problems doing something left handed and someone asks why I haven’t finished yet, I hold it (whatever it is) to them and say “Okay. Show me.” They do it right handed. “Now, you’re a rightie. I’m a lefty. Try doing it the other way.” 50 percent will say no, the other 50 will try it. I am a left handed teacher and will be a left handed advocate, but it takes time to get people to realize there is more than 1 way to do things, and that it is not backwards, its just “right” or left for others.

  16. Isabel says:

    I am left-handed- not a leftie- we dont call right-handed people righties so why lefties. I have never found it to be a problem but then my parents did not make a big thing of it and I had no problems in school at all. I am also a very experienced teacher and the thought of saying children who are left – handed make letters differently is rubbish. The important thing is good teaching for both left and right-handed children. Sitting correctly is also for both important- if a teacher is having a problem with a pencil grip for a left-handed pupil then ask a left-handed colleague to help with this.The angle of the jotter- that is the child`s choice . Left-handed scissors for those who want them – I cant use them and use right–handed ones in my left hand with no problem- the same can be said of left-handed pens. Many left-handed children are beautiful writers and many are not but this can also be said about those who are right-handed. Lets be sensible about this- making a big problem of it can also make children anxious- is this what we want – I think not- give help where it is necessary – as you would do with right-handed children.

    • Birgit says:

      I am left handed and my daughter is right handed and we do form our letters differently. I don’t think it’s rubbish for either one of us.

    • Jayne says:

      I’m sorry Isabel, but I must disagree with you about the letter formations. There are left-handed people and there are (what I call) “true” left-handed people. People who are comfortable doing some things with their right hand are probably the most common “lefties” and do cope quite well in this right-handed world, but a true left-hander has trouble doing ANYthing right handed – like me! I get a physical twisting feeling in my stomach whenever I try to get my head around doing something right-handed: it is totally alien to me. Just the other day someone was teaching me how to make a paper crane. I followed her verbal and demonstrated instructions meticulously and at the end she said, “are you left-handed?” and said yes and asked why and she said (in amazement) “You just did everything I did – backwards!”

  17. Melanie Wardlow says:

    Hi-

    Both my dad and I are lefties. I remember growing up and having to use righty scissors because the elementary school didn’t have enough lefty ones. If I was lucky I was able to get lefty scissors before someone else did. If you hold righty scissors in your left hand it can hurt. Did anyone experience that?

    • Birgit says:

      Once my parents knew left-handed scissors existed, they bought me my own pair. I have my own pair at work with my name on them so no one will take them. At home, the rest of the family knows not to use my scissors. I’m lost when I get in a situation and don’t have them.

  18. mimi says:

    I am left handed, am a teaching assistant in a class of 30 with 7 left handers, tutored a left hander for a year and positively promote the use of left handed pencils, tilting the paper at the correct angle and sitting the children in such a way that they don’t bump their neighbour. We talk through the way to form letters and how to hold the pencil so as not to hook the hand. I feel I am on a one woman mission as although my colleagues pay lip service to the issue, only one (also a leftie) follow any of the advice given, even to the extent of denial that they have the left handed pencils I gave them! It is all like too much hard work in a busy classroom.

  19. Vi Wickam says:

    I’m so thankful to have had a left-hander for my first grade teacher. He really understood the struggles of a fellow lefty. :)

  20. Edel says:

    I was very fortunate in elementary school in that I had teachers who were willing to teach me to write as a lefty and taught me to turn my page to the right so that I didn’t have to contort my hand while writing. I’m a left-handed baseball player, but a right-handed bowler and roller hockey player (I learned this one AFTER I’d bought the left handed blade to play with my son!).

    I think it is extremely important for teachers to understand that any student may be ambidextrous, and allow the student to hold whatever instrument (and manipulate the writing paper!) in the manner most comfortable to the child.

    I think it’s likely that lefties are more frequently ambidextrous than righties. I also think this is due to the limited access to leftie gear. I must admit the roller hockey stick took me by surprise, though, as I bought the stick because I assumed I used a broom in a left-handed manner! I also use my flatware in the right-handed manner, although I think this was the one place where I was trained a certain way. A dinner knife is the only knife I can use to cut right-handed!

    A year or so ago I took over most of the cooking at home and decided to get some left-handed knives. I went to our local boutique kitchen shop and the owner said “What’s the difference?” when I asked for a left-handed knife! I later bought them from you guys (I didn’t at first because there are restrictions on importing knives to Ireland and thought I’d be wasting everyone’s time). I love them, but I find the same attitude at home (What’s the difference?), with the result that I have to keep explaining that while someone somewhere local can more than likely sharpen their right-handed knives, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll find someone to sharpen my left-handed ones. But I think I’m wasting my time – for the same reason they don’t understand the difference between the knives, they don’t understand the difference in sharpening a left-handed versus a right-handed knife.

    Anyway, advice to teachers:

    1) If you’re teaching children to start using a pencil, place the pencil on the desk with the sharpened end pointing toward the blackboard. The logic here is that most teachers, when placing a pencil on the desk horizontally to the student, will naturally place it in the direction the teacher would pick it up (so, basically, if the teacher is right-handed, s/he’ll put the pencil on the desk with the point to the student’s right). The problem with doing this is that most children will assume they are expected to pick up the pencil with the hand implied by the direction in which the teacher places the pencil. (That is so much more difficult to explain than to demonstrate!)

    2) Take note of which hand the student holds the pencil in and place the page at the appropriate angle – to the left for righties and the right for lefties.

    3) Make sure you explain to left-handed students that they need to form their letters in the SAME direction as the right handed students – most lefties have become very adept at mirroring long before they enter school, so this is an important instruction. I remember being as confused as heck when my first-grade teacher was teaching us to make the Sign of the Cross and she kept doing it backwards (so all the righties in the room would do it properly).

    4) Remember that most lefties ARE adept at mirroring, so if you’re teaching them something like knitting or sewing (if they still do those things in school) the student will most likely be able to follow you. YOU don’t have to be able to follow the student’s hand movements. More experence – I had a teacher who insisted she couldn’t teach me to knit because SHE couldn’t knit left-handed.

    5) And speaking of hand-work – if you’re teaching crochet, remember that what’s normally the right side of a piece is the wrong side for a leftie. A leftie does actually crochet backwards. This is really important because it can make a huge difference to how a piece looks when it’s finished, particularly if they’re making a garment.

  21. annmarie Zan says:

    My mother taught me to write before she died, at 23. I was only 3 and a half. By the time I went to kindergarten I had been writng for a 1 and a half years and it was to late to change me although the nuns sure did try! I don’t write with the left handed hook and I don’t smudge my letters like the other kids did and I finally asked my aunt why. She said it was because my mom had taught me to tilt the paper the right way. The other kids were following the teacher’s directions and putting the paper the exact wrong way for lefties. I ended up flunking kindergarten because I couldn’t write my name address and phone number with my right hand. My dad decided to put me in the public schools because I’d be 50 yrs old and still in kindergarten otherwise.

  22. Emily says:

    I am left-handed and my second grade teacher refused to help me learn cursive because i was left handed. I am now going into teaching early childhood (prek-4) and in the program I am in there is very little mention of how to help left handed children develop proper handwriting techniques. My father and younger sister are both left handed. My younger sister had the same second grade teacher as I did and she didn’t even bother asking for help. I agree there needs to be more attention paid to helping left-handed children because growing up there were no left-handed desks in classes and if there were the teachers were oblivious to it and gave them to right-handed students. There were no left-handed anything growing up.

  23. Julie says:

    I don’t remember having lefty scissors as a child so I would cut paper right handed. When I got into hairdressing school I discovered lefty shears! So now I can cut hair and paper right and left handed. Which is perfect now that I teach hairdressers! Sometimes the lefty students use being left handed as a cop out. They almost die when they see me do the same exericise left handed. NO cop outs here!!

    • Laura says:

      I rarely had access to left-handed scissors as a kid, and as another commenter mentioned, they were usually dull or loose. So, I would often use right-hand scissors in my left hand until my hand started hurting, then I would switch to my right. It never occurred to me that this was weird until someone pointed it out. Now I have both a left- and right-handed pair of sewing shears, and I use whichever is easiest to do the cut in question. I get funny looks when approaching group sewing projects — it’s fun!

  24. Christine B says:

    I did not know I was left handed (my father is also) until a school friend’s mother brought it up at lunch time. I don’t remember ever having trouble writing for some reason, and to this day I am complimented at how pretty my handwriting is. I guess it’s a natural gift, because I never held my pen strangely or crooked my hand around, I just wrote and held the pen as a right handed person would. I never knew that scissors and other objects were “left handed or right handed”, I just used them left handed and figured it out on my own. I did have to play violin right handed, there are no left handed violins. But I type well, write beautifully, I did teach myself to knit and crochet left handed, and I eat with chopsticks left handed. I did sit at the end of the table where I did not bump elbows, but never much thought about it. I guess I’m lucky.

  25. Rhea says:

    I can’t see why there are all these problems being dreamed up about being left handed. Some of us managed okay. If you let a child write with which ever hand they choose and just help them to hold the pencil or pen properly, there’s no problem. Problems occur when made tp use the ‘wrong’ hand. Learning to deal with right handed scissors, an iron, knives, cake forks, tin openers etc, only makes for an adaptable person. Yes, rulers were difficult and cheque books too, but one learns to cope.
    And being left handed is a real bonus when it comes to playing the piano or a sport like table tennis. Left handed kids will find coping strategies for themselves, making sure they sit on the left of a right handed person at meal times, mirroring movements etc.
    But please, don’t make these kids feel it’s a problem to be left handed; it isn’t. It’s perfectly normal….and fun.

  26. Patrick Maschka, School Psychologist says:

    I am a lefty School Psychologist in the United States with two lefty sons. I grew up in a time when very little attention was given to left handers in school, other than being identified as different and sometimes troublesome. I never had a pair of left-handed scissors and learned to cut right-handed. I work in a public school district, and I find that most teachers do not realize that scissors for lefties must be built differently, and that there is no such thing as scissors that interchangeable. I advocate for my sons and I am encouraged by any efforts made to recognize and accommodate lefties in a predominantly right-handed world.

  27. Heather says:

    The only problem I had as a child in the infants’ department was tying my shoelaces. I was made to stand at a cardboard cut out of a shoe with attached laces for what seemed like hours, but couldn’t master it the way the teacher wanted me to do it. I finally learned to perform the task left handed.
    I have two right handed sons and when the time came for them to learn, I used a mirror image ie: I sat in front of them rather than than by their side – it worked!

  28. Patty A. says:

    The parents *have* to be the advocates. My father went to the school and talked to the principal as well as the parrish head and told them, if they tried to “switch” me he would pull me from the school. Teachers didn’t help with things like scissors (still can’t use left-handed ones) but they did teach me to write without the overhand hook. The advocacy of my parents meant that I was able to adapt where needed and work with teachers where needed.

  29. another jennifer says:

    I tried to leave a comment the other day, but it clearly didn’t go through. Here goes again…

    I’m a lefty and I have a son who is a lefty (and one who is a righty). At 3, I can already see my left-handed son struggle with how to hold things like a bat or scissors. I’m willing to ask my son’s 1st grade teacher and my other son’s daycar/preschool about any training guidelines they may have for working with left-handed children. My guess is that they are non-existent. (I live in Maine, USA, by the way.) I don’t remember ever having any special accommodations for my left-handedness. I just had to adapt.

    Anyway, I think it’s great that you are celebrating Left-Handers Day by raising some awareness. I’m happy to help, if I can. I also blog on the subject of being lefty – http://anotherjennifer.com/category/life-2/being-a-lefty/.

  30. lea says:

    I teach a pre-school class with one 3 year old girl who is left handed (out of a class of 15), being left handed myself i find it much easier when working with her on pencil control / correct grip etc than i do when working with the right handed children in the class.
    & although i find it more challenging to support the right handed children i manage fine by using my right hand when working with them & find it quite easy to do this. however i have noticed that my right handed collegues are completely unable to work with the left handed child, often asking me “how can you just switch hands when you are working with the right handed children?, i can’t do that when i’m working with the left handed child”.
    i found being left handed difficult when learning to write as a child, as the only left handed child in my class all through primary school. i was always much slower than my peers & last finished with any task that involved writing in my class, often having to stay in at break time to finish. for my first year of school my teacher spent a considerable amount of time taking the pencil out of my left hand and putting it into my right (i would put it straight back into my left). all the way through school and even college my work was smudged and my writing messy, & i still can’t do joined up writing as i was given no support on how to do this left handed. Suprisingly (to me at least) i now often get complimented on my handwriting & use the correct grip & hand position (i appear to have worked it out for myself over the years as i was never shown by anyone).
    just a small note on left handed scissors, as a child at school & at home i used right handed scissors (although to me they were just scissors as i didn’t know there was any other kind) i loved cutting -out often got complimented by teachers on how neat i was at it & it was the only thing i could ever do better than my peers. yes i developed an awquard way of holding them / looking over the top of the blades etc, however altough it may look awquard & uncomfortable it has never felt that way. i didnt’t even realise that i had an unusual way of holding scissors ultil i tried using left handed ones, which i am completely unable to use. therefore my personal oppinion is that unless they are struggling left handed children should be given normal, easily available ‘right handed’ equipment. as if the child can use these it will be a huge advantage to them rarther than becomming dependant on things that have to be specially purchesed (often only available online & at greater cost than standard equipment) & that in many circumstances will not be available at all.

  31. Jojo says:

    I’ve never really paid too much attention to the effects of being a lefty apart from knowing early on that rulers were stupid, but reading some of these comments has made me realise why I had the problems I had. I’ve just remembered being made to write with a pencil in middle school (UK) when the rest of the class were allowed to move on to pens. I remember being really upset but the teacher just said my joined up writing was too messy and I needed to practice more before getting a pen. Maybe that’s when I learnt to tilt the paper. I do almost everything right handed now except write. I can’t use left handed scissors or knives but I also cannot cut in a straight line using my right hand so that’s just blooming awkward. My mouse is on the right. I tried using it with my left hand but I can’t control it properly. I use a microscope at work and was offered a lefty one but declined because I’ve been turned into a righty for almost everything. I remember being made to swap cutlery over so my fork was in my left hand and knife in the right. I assume that was down to being a leftie because I was the only one in my family who needed my cutlery ‘fixing’. I also never associated elbow bumping with me being left handed. Seems silly and obvious now. I am ambidextrous with a toothbrush though! ;) We live n learn!

  32. Nikhil Sharma says:

    Being a left handed child was acceptable to my parents but due to lack of proper left handed stationery and other tools i had to learn to be a right handed also. Now I’m a person with ambidextrous capabilities. i faced problems like bumping arms in class, scissors and the lot. Because of the right handed bias of schools i got right handed chairs and developed a way of writing that now everybody scratches their head “How can you write like that?” I started writing with the pen in my left hand and the point of it pointed towards me…

  33. Susan says:

    I am left-handed. As a child I had trouble keeping myself from smudging my work after I used markers or pencils. I noticed over the years that tilting the paper slightly towards the left helps a great deal!!

    • Jojo says:

      I did the same. I could never understand why other lefties turned into a contortionist with their wrist to write almost upsidedown when all they needed to do was tilt the paper.

      • Ann says:

        Because when the teacher looked out over the classroom she wanted to see all the papers pointed neatly in the same direction.

  34. Wendy says:

    My left handedness was accepted at school but when did my nneb practical training at a local children’s home the matron told me off for holding the babies with my right hand and the feeding bottle in the left. She maintained that babies had to be fed that way. Luckily my college tutor was a lefty and put her straight. I did have to suffer the right handed table/chair attached furniture though.

    I am now a teacher and always check how many left handed pupils I have and sit them so they don’t bumparms with the children next to them.

  35. Bill Edwards says:

    When I started infants school I approached the new idea of writing like everything else by using my left hand on the left of the paper and my right hand on the right side. This was too much for the teacher so a note was sent home asking, was I left or right handed? Even to this day if knocking nails into a piece of wood I will hold the hammer in my laft hand on the left and in my right hand on my right. It was decided that I was left handed so I wrote left handed. I avoided being made to right right handed.
    Unfortunately nobody showed me how to write left handed and I started using the hook style. This is a big problem with any sort of ink as the writing becomes smudged. My inability to write legibly and quickly was always a disadvantage in exams. It held me back in the eleven plus but I still passed.
    At secondary school I switched myself to an italic writing style and adopted Osmiroid fountain pens and their left handed nibs. These allowed a better hand position even with the paper straight.
    I continued to suffer at GCE “O” level “A” level and as a undergraduate. It took me longer to write my Ph.D. thesis than it might otherwise have done.
    These days I write very little in long hand since almost anything I write would have to be typed into a computer so I might as well type it in anyway. What hurts me is that I can find more useful advice on writing left handed in five minutes on the internet than I was ever taught at school.

  36. Margo says:

    I have six sons with only my fifth son being a leftie. He is 14 and uses the classic twisted grip and shows he is an extremely dominant left-hander in the way he processes information. He is creative and witty. A real delight. Organizationally challenged too! He can only remember one teacher ever even considering his left-handedness. Year seven was a real struggle for him and when I tried to explain to his teachers the impact his left-handedness had on his organization, concentration, neatness and confidence, they had no idea what I was talking about. They had never considered that left-handedness comes in degrees dependent on how much the right side of the brain dominates the person’s thinking and processing. So it is obvious Universities in Australia are doing nothing very much to educate our Teachers for the left-hander. I myself am a trained primary teacher and can scarcely recall any reference to the left-handed child when I trained in the late 70′s. My third son is just finishing his Primary Teaching Degree and nothing much has changed. A speed course lasting a lecture of two clustering left-handedness in with other exceptional influences on students can hardly nurture an understanding of the isolation being left-handed can cause to the shy child.
    I recently assisted my son with his research as he wrote a thesis on left-handedness and was horrified at the cruel ignorance of days gone by and the total neglect of 10% of our population now through ignorance caused by neglect. I feel compelled to do further work in this area as I feel very passionate about equal educational opportunities for our children. I am not a left-hander but appreciate through my fifth son that we live in a right-handed world and it’s not good enough. It may be only 10% of people to us right-handers but to a left-hander it’s 100% of their life.

    • Chandra says:

      Margo, I like your comment: “It may be only 10% of people to us right-handers but to a left-hander it’s 100% of their life.” Very true.

      Father of a five year old left handed daughter

  37. Lindsay says:

    I am teaching in South Korea where it is still considered wrong to write with the left hand. It’s very frustrating to see some of my children who are clearly left-handed being forced to write with the wrong hand, and their handwriting is terrible too! I’m hoping Westernization will bring about a good change with respect to this soon.

  38. Pamela says:

    I live in the US and in elementary school my teachers would always make me turn my paper the same way as a right hander. All my printing or cursive writing looked like it was laying down. In high school, had the same problem as a lot of others have mentioned with right handed desks. I would turn sideways in the desk to write. I do not write with a hooked hand and as an adult have been told I have beautiful handwriting.

  39. another jennifer says:

    I am a lefty, and so is my youngest son, who is 3. As he gets older and more active with drawing and playing sports (simple things like swinging a bat), I see that he’s getting confused around how to position himself. As a lefty, I try to show him by modeling how I do the same activities. The problem is that he’s 3 and just copies what everyone else around him does. They are all righties.

    This is a great way to celebrate Left-Handers Day and to raise awareness of the problems kids have growing up as a lefty. I don’t ever remember anyone accommodating me because of my left-handedness. I am happy to reach out to my older son’s teacher, my younger son’s daycare provider / preschool and anyone else to see if they have any understanding or guidelines to help left-handed children.

    FYI, I live in the US in Maine. I’m also happy to share information on my blog. My left-handed posts are some of my most popular! (http://anotherjennifer.com/category/life-2/being-a-lefty/)

  40. MDCruze says:

    Left handedness is misunderstood by many. When I realized that my son was left handed, I did everything I could to learn about it and tried to make sure that he got the right guidance and tools. I wrote an article on my views and published it in a local ECED magazine in Pakistan. Here is the link: http://www.ecdpak.com/nurture/Nurture-8/being_left_handed_in_a_right_handed_world.html

  41. Bob Larkin says:

    I went to school in the UK from 1947 to 1959 and only ever encountered one teacher who objected to my using a spoon in my left hand (I hold a knife and fork the usual way). Fortunately she emigrated to New Zealand soon after! At primary school I remember learning to write with a dipping nib pen, and although I made a bit of a mess at first, my teacher left me to it. I soon worked out how to hold the pen in a normal, not hooked, grip with the page straight, and was often complimented on my writing. I was good at art, woodwork and metalwork, and without thinking, could use hand tools in either hand, much to the amazement of the teacher!
    In later life I became a gliding/flying instructor and it was a great advantage to be able to sit in either left or right pilot seat and use either hand equally well. It’s interesting to note that at least a third of the pilots on the flying school were lefties!

  42. Raquel says:

    In elementary, I remember my cursive assignments being graded poorly because it did not look just like the guidelines! My teacher humiliated me in front classmates nearby, saying aloud that I got a C on the assignment and compared my work to the work of a classmate (who was right-handed). Teachers need be aware of styles for left-handers and to encourage students to be unique, but still write legibly. In addition, parents must understand the difficulties for a left-hander in a right-handed world. Being the only left-hander in my family, no one understood what I was going through. So now I am a college student and have learned to use right-handed scissors, can-openers, knives, and write beautiful cursive with my left-hand (but with a right-handed slant though :(
    Interesting observation: I’m majoring in engineering. As I look around in each of my STEM classes, I notice that maybe half the class is lefties. So this is where most of us are going haha?

    • Michelle says:

      Handheld can openers are the bane of our existence. I’ve always tried to keep one on hand just in case we need a can opened during an electrical outage, but it’s no use. They break within the first couple of uses (no matter how much they cost).

      • Amanda says:

        I’ve actually become rather adept with my right hand over the years. I actually find it easier to use a right handed can opener; as I naturally have more strength in my left hand and I can grip tighter with it. I also prefer right handed scissors because I have adapted to them. I found an old pair of my childhood lefty scissors. When I used them, the paper was a mess and it was terribly awkward to use them! When I switched back to my righty scissors, my cuts were much neater and I went a lot faster.

    • Marie H. says:

      so funny you say this Raquel – it brings to mind Lefties are in their Right Mind ;) however, I do think Lefties lean more toward being analytical. I’m not an engineer though I dated a few (heehee) but I would much rather work with numbers than type letters! (if that makes sense)

  43. M D'Cruze says:

    Left handedness is still misunderstood by many. When I discovered that my son was left handed, I took it upon myself to do everything to make sure that he gets the right guidance and tools for left handed persons. I had my experiences published in a local ECED magazine in Pakistan. Here is the link: http://www.ecdpak.com/nurture/Nurture-8/being_left_handed_in_a_right_handed_world.html

  44. SUSHANT says:

    in my school days, i have an advatage that i am left handed. during playing baseball am gets opening because i can hit on main area which is at my left side. my handwrinting is also good.but the same problems as explained are also su ffer by me …..
    these guidance is also helpful which i am not received in my school days………………..
    so thanks to left handers club……. so much………!!!!!!!!!

  45. Doran says:

    Consider looking into a handwriting program/curriculum titled “Handwriting without Tears” written by an Occupational Therapist (trained in natural development of children), there is also a chapter specifically created for children who are left-handed =)

  46. BETTY DILLON says:

    My grandson is in the 1st grade and is left handed. They make him do all his writing right handed. He plays softball for his school and he does everything which ever feels right to him. It is very confusing to him. I think they should stick with the left hand in all he does.

    • David Dawber says:

      Betty, forcing someone to write with their unnatural hand is barbaric! Some people who have been forced to write right-handed have developed a stutter later in life. King George VI was one.
      I always found it awkward when I was learning to write. I wasn’t “changed round”, in fact I used to write with the “hook grip” up to the age of 18, when I changed to an orthodox grip. We had nib pens and then fountain pens, and I was always crossing the nibs and blots would go everywhere! Since leaving school, I have not used a fountain pen.

      • Iris Bell says:

        Is there a link between left-handedness and stuttering? This did appear in childhood in our family (myself badly and a short period one of my children) but thought it was two different issues. Is there proof?

        On a plus side, left-handers have outshined the right-handers when it comes to learning to drive. I wonder if there has been a study to show comparisons. All the left-handers in our family passed first time in fewer lessons. Also the left handers appear to be better problem solvers, probably due to having to manage obstacles in early years.

        See, not all doom and gloom :)

    • Holly says:

      Betty,
      I can’t imagine what teacher, let alone country, in this day and age is changing a child writing from left handed to right handed!!!!!!! If his parents aren’t informing the teacher and school, maybe you should; giving her/him the tools and booklets that this site sells.
      I am learning from this site just how lucky I was that my parents told my teachers not to “change” me and had really good teacher in second grade for penmanship that showed me how to hold my pen and paper. This was in the 1960s in the USA. My mother was ambidextrous up until high school where she made the decision to stick to right hand writing because of the type of desks. My great-grandfather was left handed and in school had his left hand tied behind his back and was beaten if he tried to use it. I guess in the long run it didn’t do him much harm as he became a very successful business man with a town and a ferry named after him in his lifetime.

      • Michelle says:

        It is shocking to hear that the discrimination continues to this day. Mom is left-handed, and her sister was, too. Their combined K-12 years here in the States were 1947-1964. No one ever tried to force them to change. My K-12 years were 1973-1986. Although my 12th grade teachers encourage me to try to write with my right hand while a sliver of metal was lodged on the digital nerve in my left-hand, no one ever tried to force me to switch. Once my 12th grade teachers watched me try and noticed that I could do nothing more than write over-top of what I had already written, they relented and did as my principal and guidance counselor had told them (i.e.: have me take oral tests and make voice recordings of my homework.

        So, understandably, I was floored when my son came to me during the 2003/2004 school year and told me that his 23 year old teacher was trying to force him to switch. I would have thought that a teacher that young would have known better (Oh, and before anybody starts, my son didn’t tell me her age, the principal did).

        I guess they just don’t realize they just don’t realize that just because they have seen us doing something doesn’t mean that we weren’t doing it under duress.

  47. Shirley nagel says:

    I am appalled that educators don’t know much more about left-handed people and their talents than they did 40 years ago. Frankly, I survived as a lefty, mangaged to become highly educated, helped many students who lived outside the box as I did, and still I hasve to read these sorry letters that don;t understand the world of the left hander. We are more than a left pair of scissors or sitting on the end of the talbe. Frankly, I was so bored working with limited, linear people who were so slow to get a concept. I was so superior to them, yet I had to endure their barbs because they were the majority.

    Why don’t they find people like me so I can teach the teachers the needs of the alternate learner. Leftys are bored with limited thinkers and insecure people who don’t have the visual acuity or the syncratic thinking of an Leonardo Divinci.

    • Michelle says:

      If left-handed teachers don’t speak up and suggest ways in which they can help teach right-handed teachers how to teach their left-handed students (much like the way that the one 4th grade teacher who actually majored in math teaches the other 4th grade teachers how to teach 4th grade math), the right-handed administrators, school board members, and the like can’t possibly know that there is a problem. We don’t do what we do because it isn’t difficult or uncomfortable for us. We do what we do because we will be punished if we don’t (i.e.: we obey the adult in the room, so if she says, “just use that,” we do).

  48. KAREN LONDON says:

    I am lefthanded and at school as i child i was constantly smudging work or told my writing/presentation wasnt neat. I generally grew up doing most thing the right handed way and as an adult now cannot use the products designed for lefthanded people as i got so used to automatically using my right hand to the extent that when i was doing hairdressing at college they tried to teach me as a lefthanded person which was comendable on their part but i couldnt do it and the same happened with guitar lessons when i was at school and the positioning of a computer at work as it is now assumed if you are lefthanded you will have had these adaptations made for you when younger and not that you will have got used to the right handed way that is readily pushed when we are younger. I am fortunate that i can write with both hands and i write at the same angle as right handed people now, making it more comfortable but i definately could do with a lefty kettle and people remembering that i catch and throw with my left hand. I now work in a primary school and we use pencil grips for left and right handed children, encourage correct comfortable posture for all children and use lefthanded products like the scissors. I’ve never worked with a teacher in early years education or beyond that has tried to discourage a child writing with their lefthand and we are aware that children will form letters in a different rotation or need a different seating plan to cater for being lefthanded.

  49. Ariel says:

    I am 14 and I am just now realizing how difficult it is to be a lefty!! I play volleyball and I never fit in! The coaches(all righties) always ” try” to help me but just end up confusing me. My favorite coach is a lefty though and he is awesome! I love to paint my nails and I have now learned that I am pretty good with either hand! My aunt, and all of my first cousins(except 1) are lefties and we have a secret club, it’s fun to have something so special that no one else has! It’s tough living in a right handed world but I’ll make it through!!!

  50. sofia says:

    I’m 13 and i live in Portugal;
    I had never had any problems at school, i didn’t know there were left-handed scissors until 2nd grade so until then i got used to the normal scissors and leaned to the side (i borrowed a pair of leftie scissors to my righty bff and when she said it was impossible to cut with them i made her lean so she could see the line she complained it was too unconfortable; welcome to my world) my Elementary school teacher did not made a big deal out of it, she had been teactching for many years and did not demanded anyone’s handwrite to be googly though that was the case for the other girls. The spiral notebooks don’t bother me nor does the computer mouse. I avoid gel pens to avoid smudging.
    About a month ago the music room was renewed, they thought it would be sophisticated to get desks with the writing surface attached rather than individual tables and desks.
    When i walked in i asked the teacher if there was any lefthanded desk available her answer was “There are extra desks, sit between two of them”, the desk lean to the left side so it was still painful to write; that day when i told my mom about that on the drive home and i cried my eyes out, my arm hurt just by looking at those.
    My mom told my teatcher about my meltdown but all she did was steer the topic elsewhere and complain about her back so no progress was made.
    Is it so bad to want them to at least get one lefthanded desk? If they did i knew they at least thought about it! If the other 15 kids get to have ergonomic desks (even they think they’re unconfortable) why can’t the 3 of us lefties be intitled to the same?

    • Tina says:

      Sophia, i am sorry that you are having the difficulty with the desks. The school could have ordered desks where you can put the top on either side. If your teacher will not listen to you, then get your mum to write a letter to the headteacher complaining about the teacher. She is discriminating against you. I still get the same problem when i go on training courses sometimes. I tell them I cannot sit at a desk like that as i’m left handed and it will cause me problems. they can usually find a solution.try not to get too upset by this bully teacher be strong. Good luck
      Tina

    • Holly says:

      Hang in there Sofia,
      With the right handed desks I just turned sideways so the larger part of the desk was under my left arm. Not much room for books but it seemed to work for me. As for the gel pens, if you hold your pen correctly and have your paper slanted for lefties (opposite of the slant for righties) that should eliminate the smudging.

  51. A H says:

    I am a Lefty and I work at a school, I feel that there is not enough training given to Teachers or Support Staff to help Leftys in the school enviroment. Being a lefty has not stopped me from doing things but when I was at school the teachers use to spend a lot of time correcting my sitting position or the piece of paper that I was writing on as it was not the normal way of doing things to them. There are a lot of things out there to help leftys now more then ever. I am the only lefty in my family and very proud to be a Lefty.

  52. Wayne says:

    The saddist thing i found at school, some time ago, was that although I was provided with a left handed fountain pen it was almost forty years later that i learnt how to use it properly from a calligraphy book. From reading every one elses comments it is sad to see that there has been little progress. Perhaps teachers would benifit from some better guide lines especially in the early years of schooling

  53. Yvette Stanton says:

    I am an embroidery book author and I teach embroidery to adults and occasionally to children. I am left-handed. Most embroidery teachers (along with the rest of the population) are right-handed. Most books ONLY show how to do embroidery stitches in a right-handed manner. (I’ve now written a highly acclaimed stitch dictionary specifically for left-handed stitchers, to address this problem. Lefties LOVE it!)

    When I teach embroidery to right-handers, I switch my needle over to my right hand, and show them right-handed. When I teach left-handers, I show them left-handed. For me to teach right-handed, it does take effort and thought on my part, but that’s my job!

    SO OFTEN my left-handed students are thrilled to know that their teacher is also left-handed, because MANY of them report that they have had teachers say to them “I can’t teach you, because you are left-handed”. These are students who have paid just as much as the right-handed students to be there and to be instructed, yet the teachers seem to think it is ok not to bother to teach them left-handed. Can you imagine the outcry if I, as a left-handed teacher, turned up to a class of right-handed students and said “I’m sorry, I can’t teach you, because you are right-handed”? I’d never be offered work there again!

    Hopefully my left-handed stitch dictionary will help left-handed embroiderers. I know of right-handed teachers who own a copy just to take to classes with them, so that their left-handed students have a reference to follow. While it would still be better for the teacher to actually learn to SHOW the student in a left-handed manner (you pay for embroidery classes usually so that the stitches can be demonstrated and taught to you, not so that you can be referred to a book…) at least a left-handed reference is better than nothing.

    In terms of embroidery teaching, discrimination against left-handers is still completely rife.

    • Holly says:

      Hurrah for you Yvette!

      The left handed stitchers book is a great idea! The only stitch that I had much trouble with was the french knot, until I discovered that I just had to wrap the thread in the opposite direction from the right handed instructions!
      One of the things lefties can do when trying to learn needle work from a rightie is sit directly in front and facing the instructor. This is what the mother of a friend of mine did when teaching her to knit and crochet. I would think it would work for embroidery also.

  54. Robin says:

    I am a lefty! I like to tell people a big difference with left handers is the simple jesture of shaking hands. A righty will naturally put out their right hand the nature of lefties is to accomodate them and shake their right hand. I have enjoyed many a time when greeting someone by putting out my left hand and they get that totally confused look and don’t know what to do sometimes. I sometimes will apologize and say, I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were a righty and change to shake with my right hand. We always notice when someone is a lefty and it is great to share that motto, lefties are the only ones in their right minds.
    I would love to be able to find more lefty products here in the US. I love the left handed ruler I got from this website! It has made such a difference.

    • Iris Bell says:

      Left hand shakers – I have done this and the recipients normally assume it is due to me being female :)

    • Holly says:

      Yes the left handed ruler is a great idea. I always wondered why I had to turn it up side down when trying to use a ruler. Never thought about it being for a right handed person until I saw the left-handed version!

  55. Julie says:

    Following is an example of what NOT to do!

    Recently, my husband (a righty) texted me (a lefty) and asked me to handle something with our daughter’s school. (She is a lefty). Heather, who is 8, came home and told us she got in trouble for eatiing with the “wrong hand”. When se told the teacher she couldn’t eat with the other hand, she was told she was being defiant and she got lunch detention.

    My husband thought this might be better for me to handle the situation. I was LIVID! Especially when I found out the lunch duty teacher had been a student teacher in Heather’s room for 3 months. She should have realized that Heather was a lefty!

    I called the school and spoke with the principal. She could not believe this happened. She had the duty teacher call me to explain her side. Mrs. B. said Heather was intentionally hitting elbows with the (right handed) boy next to her. Mrs. B. told me Heather was using her right hand before this. (I KNOW this is not true because Heather CANNOT eat with her right hand). Heather told me she tried to use her right hand (after she got in trouble) but “it didn’t feel right”.

    I made sure my daughter knew that being left-handed is part of what makes her special. (She is the 3rd generation of lefty women, as my mom is also a lefty). And that NOBODY had the right to make her feel bad or upset because of being left handed. It was as much a part of her as her blond hair and blue eyes.

    I realized the biggest issue is that they make the kids stand in ABC order and file into the seats (12 on a side) and sit down. When I go into a restaurant or crowded dinner table, I always look for the spot on the far left. The teacher and I came up with a solution. Heather is now allowed to either be the first or last one on the row so that she doesn’t hit anyone with her elbow.

    Oh…and the right-handed boy did NOT get lunch detention.

  56. Julie says:

    My daughter (8) is third generation of left handed women. My mom (74) and I (42) all live in the U.S.

    None of us ever had anyone try to “correct” our handedness. For me, growing up left handed, the biggest issue was handwriting. I always received C- in handwriting. In college, I had to complete an entire printing (manuscript) and cursive practice book. My teacher (who was left handed) talked a little bit about the difficulties lefties had with slanting “correctly”. But she still marked me down for not slanting.

    I ALWAYS had ink letters on the edge of my left hand.

    In college, my biggest obstacle was desks. Most of our classrooms had the 1/2 desktop attached to the chair. There were a two or three lefty desks in each room, but there were 4 or 5 lefties in most of my classes. I ended up propping my open binder across my lap and writing on the left hand side of the binder.

    I never learned to use any “left-handed” implements. Our left handed scissors were awkward (and scarce). I just learned to cut with my left hand. I learned to use a mouse with my right hand (and right hand settings) but this doesn’t bother me as I have my left hand free to write if I need to). I don’t find the 10 key pad to be a problem as I took a business machines class in college and learned to 10 key by touch on an adding machine (with my right hand).

    As an adult, I’ve realized more things that have always been difficult, but I didn’t attribute to my handedness. (Like opening doors or even turning keys in a lock).

    Early on, I learned to sit on the left end of a table. Our family of 9 included 3 lefties. (An older brother as well). We had to arrange our rectagular table so 3 of us didn’t bump elbows.)

    My daughter recently had a run-in at school due to positioning, but I’ll start a separate post for that one.

    • Holly says:

      Julie,

      I very much agree with your statement, “As an adult, I’ve realized more things that have always been difficult, but I didn’t attribute to my handedness. (Like opening doors or even turning keys in a lock).”

  57. Cathi says:

    As a left-handed teaching assistant in a primary school and mother to 2 left handed children I am very aware of the needs of lefties. Handwriting practise sheets always have the example letters running down the left hand side of the page and I did suggest to one teacher that it would be very useful if they could also run don the right side of the page – meaning left handers wouldn’t be covering the letters they were meant to be copying.
    My youngest daughter (who is now in Year 7 at secondary school) recently encountered a problem in a textiles lesson; she was french knitting when the teacher noticed she was doing it ‘backwards’ and proceeded to undo the work and insist she do it ‘properly’. However, the teacher who has both my children for metalwork lessons is very understanding of their need to do things the opposite way to most of their classmates and tells them to stand in front of him and mirror his actions.
    I think generally the problems come from a lack of understanding by right handers who are lucky enough to be able to do everything naturally.

    • Holly says:

      Yeah for the teacher that caught on the “mirror” method of teaching. Maybe he could share this method with the textiles class teacher.!

  58. Kathryn Campbell says:

    I am left handed and my father was left handed too but he was forced to use his right hand at school..he had a slight stutter and he often wondered if it was because of this
    My twin grand daughters have just turned two..Claire who is the quieter one definetly is going to be a lefty but her sister Amelia uses both hands equally ..their daddy (my son) is right handed
    I would say my writing technique is fairly “normal and I keep my hand down low when writing..my primary school teacher always used to comment in my school reports that my writing needed attention..dont know why as it is quite neat
    One of my pet hates are pens that are attached on the right hand side as ithe are in bank for example
    When I browse through a magazine I always start at the back page as it seems more natural to me.I also have MS and they say that there is a higher incidence of MS sufferers that are lefties

  59. sam hansen says:

    I can tell You some great stories from the Grammar School that I graduated in 1952 at age 13. First off You had to write with Your Right Hand. We learned the Palmer Method. I play soccer with My left foot, and throw and bat when playing stick-ball. So there You are I guess I can be called ambidextrous but who said I had to like it. As Always Sam.

  60. Julie says:

    I have a nine year old left handed daughter, when she started primary school I was thrilled to find they had a left handed teacher and right handed nursery nurse, purposely to support both sets of children with writing etc. They supplied all stationery in both left handed and right handed formats and also blobs to put on pencils again for both sets of children to ensure they held the pencils correctly – they also sent equiment home to support me being a right handed mum with my daughter; they also gave me some training to support her at home. No complaints and totally fantastic support!

  61. Michelle Lee says:

    As a child my mum had to go in the primary school I was at to tell the dinner lady off. I was eating my pudding and was told to “stop being silly and eat properly” this being right handed!!!! This was over 40 years ago though. I still shout in pride when I see a leftie. I work in a primary school now and of the 31 children and the teacher in the class I’m the only left hander. I love being a leftie, we’re all unique xx

  62. Carole Bryant says:

    I’m in my 60s. Growing up back in the 50s lots of left handers were made to write right handed. I was lucky that I never had a teacher who tried to change me. The only person who did that was my father who insisted I learn to write right handed. I did that, then went back to writing left handed and he gave up. I ignored his prediction that I’d only ever be able to get a job in a pickle factory because I was left handed. I am fairly ambidextrous (and have an ambidextrous cousin and an aunt who was made to write right handed and has trouble with her lefts and rights as a result). I’ve set my computer mouse up left handed and it’s just too bad for anyone else who has to use it. I was delighted when I discovered left handed scissors as an adult. I love it when right handers struggle to use my left handed gadgets – my favourite response is “now you know what it’s like being left handed trying to use right handed things”

    At primary school I almost always topped my class for writing. Although dip pens and fountain pens were a hassle, I managed to work around them. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way for left handers to position their paper, it depends on their hand position and writing style.

    For me, spiral top notebooks work well.

    It would be helpful if lots more gadgets etc were made to be used with either hand.

  63. Mary Ann S says:

    I am a proud lefty. I had polio which paralyzed my whole right side. I write without the hook. My two brothers who are naturally left handed write with a hook. I attended a small Catholic school and there were three of us in first grade(all lefties). Sister taught us the correct way to slant our papers and we had no trouble. I was a teacher for 20 year and was always aware of left handed children and did what ever I could to make them feel comfortable. Both my sons are right handed, but I did not have any problems teaching them how to write. Teaching them to tie their shoes was another story. In college we had the one armed desks and I tried to get one that was left handed, but if I couldn’t I would pull another one over to write on. We have come a long way in our treatment of lefties. I enjoy our newsletters. My right handed sister taught me to crochet and I hold the needle in my right hand and moved the thread with my left hand. I also do other embroidery, needlepoint and various other crafts and have learned to adapt the methods to my lefthandedness.

  64. Andrea says:

    I’m not a teacher, even though I learned through the years and together with my music teacher how to learn to play guitar as a left-handed.
    I’ve always been aware of my left-handedness, but only starting to play guitar I smacked my head on the wall for not being able to do something with my right hand.
    I started taking lessons when I was about 13 years old, and my guitar teacher from a local music school never had a lefty student. He, as all of the right-handed people I know, tried to teach me the “RIGHT” way (intended using the left hand to make chords and the right hand to use a pick/finger the strings).
    As a child I began this new hobby with a friend of mine, who was right handed, and I was shocked seeing how easy were for him the exercises our teacher gave us from time to time.
    After two or three lessons I learned the difference between a right-handed guitar and a left-handed guitar, so I started switching the strings without telling the teacher. In my child mind I was acting like: I have to do this exercise, let me try to understand it in the lefty way and then let’s try it the RIGHT way. This game went on for about 5-6 lessons, when I decided to tell my teacher I was not going to play in the right way anymore. He was stuck to his idea of me playing guitar as a right-handed person, but I made my decision, and now I have about 40 concerts on my shoulders as the lead guitar of a rock band.
    So, to sum up: to all of you right-handed music teacher, it’s your duty to try to teach a musical instrument “the other way”, not the student’s who has to learn it your way!

    • Fred says:

      Andrea, I am left handed but have always played bass and guitar right handed, starting in 1972. I throw left, bat left, and kick left, but I can drive a golf ball right handed almost as well (or poorly) as I can left handed, just don’t ask me to chip or putt right. I’ve had guitar players and teachers tell me I should actually be playing the other way, but playing guitar left was not an option for me. I call it the “Glen Campbell Syndrome” (he’s left handed but plays right).

  65. Cathy says:

    I am both left handed and an occupational therapist in schools. I am constantly giving teachers pointers on how to help their left-handed children. For example, they should cut circles going clockwise, while right-handers should cut counter-clockwise. I also point out that they need to draw lines right to left or else they can’t really see what they’re drawing, etc. I find it amazing that these issues don’t seem to be addressed in teaching programs.

  66. LaVidia says:

    I am a left handed teacher, with a left handed child. Fortunately for him he did not have to go through the torture of being told he had to write with his right hand of being seated in a half-desk designed for right handed students, like I did.

    But I also wanted to point out that we have to also think about children that are being forced to squeeze into desks that are too tiny, tuck in shirts that then leaves them exposed to ridicule by classmates and the failure of our schools to treat all children dignity and respect.

    Due to the one size fits all mentality of the school system, many children, including left handed children are expected to be the square pegs that must fit into the round holes. This is especially sad when the solutions are often quite simple to resolve, for instance seating a left handed child on the left side of the room. Thank you for taking on these issues that no one else seem to notice. BRAVO

  67. Peggy R says:

    Well being the only lefty in my house was a huge pain, no one was there to help me figure out what I needed to do differently than the rest of the family. When I started school there were no accommodations for a left handed person to learn how to form the letters properly or to use the proper scissors or to put me on the left end of a table. Needless to say, I had to learn to cut right handed, have teachers put their right hands over my left hand to show me how to form numbers and letters (total fail) and sit on the right side of the table next to a right handed person. Nothing was done to accommodate the little adjustments a left handed person needs in order to successfully accomplish the task at hand. Middle school with the combination locks (Fail), the seats that were in our High School that followed me into College that were for right handed people only. Couldn’t play softball because there really wasn’t many left handed softball gloves and if we did find a left handed mitt there was no one willing or able to teach me how to catch! I am way out of my 20′s and the evolution of the “No Child Left Behind” the the USA so loves still leaves out the left handed child who needs teachers to be aware of this issue who can either supply the support to help these children or find someone who can help them. Because of the lack of left handed scissors in my early years I learned how to cut somewhat horribly with my right hand and my handwriting is horrible so thank God for the invention of the computer!! Luckily none of my children are left handed but my youngest does favor her left foot when playing soccer and surprisingly it is her strong foot so some of my left handed attributes did come forward!! My desk is set up for ME and I love when someone sits at my desk and can’t figure out why the mouse is on the left and not on the right it gives them a little taste of how it feels to be a lefty living in a right handed world.

  68. Feddy says:

    This article is very interesting…I never had any problem writing with my left hand at school. Intact, I was always ask to assist with writing notes and announcement on the chalk board. What I remember is positioning myself to the right so I can have enough room to allow my gorgous left hand to do his own thing…my classmates simply wonder how I do that and I gladly tell them that Lefties are specially made

  69. Annie says:

    I was fortunate at school in the early 60′s that my lefthandedness was accepted. We were expected to learn to use cutlery and tie shoe laces at home in those days, the latter was imperative, but caused me much frustration as there was no left hander for me to learn from, and as for knitting! (Through shere perseverance I have stopped making fishing nets).

    I did not encounter left handed scissors until my teaching days and still find them as difficult to use as right handed ones. Left handed nibs for handwriting lessons in ink (age 11) were a must and I did discover a marvellous cartridge pen with a left handed nib but not until my 30′s.

    At Teacher’s Training very little was made of left handed pupils and I encountered very few. Once qualified I always had 1 left hander in the class and very often up to three. Left handed scissors were always available, tried once and sometimes never again. I always made sure posture and sitting positions were correct and was careful the paper slanted in the correct direction. I admit I did not encourage pupils to write over the top of the paper but rather encouraged them to keep their wrist ‘under’ the writing as a right hander. I often speak to left handers who write ‘over the top’ and most say it is every bit as awkward and tiring as it looks and wish they wrote with their wrist ‘under’

    Yes, lecture hall tables with chairs attached for right handers are SO annoying and difficult to manage.

  70. Al Parker says:

    The first truly lefthanded lecture hall desk (surface attached to chair) was due to a lawsuit filed in Mayfield Hts, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Now there is one in each row in most university lecture halls. I avoided the spiral notebook issue by simply turning the notebook totally reversed, with the spirals on the right side (drove the righties crazy). Having teachers and parents try to force me to be righthanded when I was a child, I am now militantly lefthanded, shake hands lefthanded when I spot another lefty.

  71. protein#1 says:

    i think as leftties,we always think that people dont take us into consideration or forget about the fact that there are leftties,but think about it-when your doing something as a group and it involves hands,the constructor always asks if there are any leffties!not once ive heard them ask if there are rightties!!!so were NOT forgotten!!;)

  72. Elisha says:

    I was homeschooled by my mom (a righty) and I remember as a kid that she would teach from in front of me rather than from my side or behind me. This allowed for both of us to use our dominant hands without conflict. I learned by the mirror effect I suppose you could say.

  73. T Towne says:

    Based on the experiences my daughter and I had in the classroom, I wrote my Master’s Thesis on Left-handedness.

  74. penny says:

    my parents were proactive with my writing and getting the right tools but i still had teachers who thought my writing was “messy” because i didn’t right certain letters the way they wanted, i have had to help my cousin who is the only left handed person in his family by pointing out to my aunt and uncle the reason he was having difficulty is that his handwriting sheets were all for right handers and as soon as they got the right ones by pursuing it with the teachers he was fine. in my experience unless someone has experience of being left handed then it doesn’t cross their mind alot of the time that there are different ways things are done, i constantly had to swap seats with my right handed neighbour as we kept bumping elbows when writing and yet it was also inferred that it was my fault!!

  75. Karin says:

    Math – I am a 6th grade math and science teacher and proud to be a leftie, sometimes when a child gets older and struggles in math we attribute the difficulties to be some kinds of deficiency’s, lack of teacher instruction or just plain lazy – The elementary teacher did not stress the multiplication tables, The students did not finish their homework because their hand got tired, they can’t read a ruler or number line. When this child reaches the middle grades they have already given up on themselves and just say. I can’t to “MATH”. I won’t except that, I will not give up on any child – right or left handed. I struggled all my life in school and if there are just a few things that I could to do to improve just one of my left handed students to feel success, I will do it!
    I am currently getting my masters in middle school math; my action research paper is on the success of the left handed student in math. Here are some of the strategies I have come up with to help my students.
    • Seating is always helpful, along with when arranging in group project putting the left handers together.
    • The right math tools, I love the left handed scissors, protractors and rulers.
    • When using the number line (I use it for everything from teaching integers to money, it is a great visual). Encourage the leftie to start at the right and pull towards their body instead of push the pencil.
    • Notebook, I have found that spirals that are on the top have been successful to use as journals, because they do not discriminate between hands, subsequently the lefties do not feel different. I would love to find binders that have the holes on the top to put their worksheet s and loose papers, but at the moment, I am still looking.
    • Last – As a teacher I try to create the answer slots on the right side of the paper so the leftie does not lose his/her train of thought by lifting his hand to write the answer on the left.
    These are just a few suggesting I have implemented, I would be very interested in other things that I can do to help my students. Any suggestions?

    • Michelle says:

      As a lefty, I can’t use those with a spiral on the top either. My knuckles hit it when I write.

    • Lisa says:

      “When using the number line (I use it for everything from teaching integers to money, it is a great visual). Encourage the leftie to start at the right and pull towards their body instead of push the pencil.”

      I’m cross-dominant, a true switch-hander, and I do this with the right half of the number line (or any straight line I have to draw!) When I get to the center, I switch over and pull from the right. Are you sure not everyone does this?

      Also, there are left handed rulers? I never realized that rulers could be right handed. No wonder I turn them upside down.

  76. Judy says:

    I think I got very lucky. I was in primary school in the late 1950s; when we started learning to write with ink instead of pencils, the teacher made a point of showing me two possible ways I could write without dragging my hand through the wet ink. I could hold my hand under the line of writing or I could curl my arm around so my hand was above the line of writing. I chose the second approach and didn’t have too many problems even though we started off using dip pens (much messier even than fountain pens). I think ball point pens were allowed when I was in high school.

    I’m sure we didn’t have left handed scissors at school but somehow I didn’t have too many problems cutting. However, I was ecstatic when I got my first pair of left handed dress making scissors as an adult and found that the handles did *not* cut into my thumb and fingers as right handed scissor handles do.

  77. Jodie in England says:

    Hi, I’m a lefty currently at school. I’ve had some problems with being a lefty (bumping elbows as such) but nothing serious. I remember not being allowed to go to a hand writting club in reception as I was left handed but I think that was just a dream! I always have probelems in school with scissors, though, as most teachers don’t bother with left and right handed scissors. ‘Scissors are scissors’ seems to be the attitude of most righties I’ve met which is fustrating because I do actually find it easier with a pair made for lefties. My textiles teacher recently bought some left-handed material scissors but they’re a bit rubbish so I use the right-handed ones instead. I don’t know if this is the same for many people but as a child I would write certain letters backwards. E’s and J’s I think which was noticable seen as these are in my own name! As a teenager I can write backwards quite well, just not at any great speed :)

  78. Marie H. says:

    And righties grumble/complain when they sit at my desk at work and my mouse is on the left-hand side! :) I take guilty pleasure in it because they have just tasted a minute part of what we lefties went through growing up in a right-handed world, especially at school!

    • Amanda says:

      See, this is where I find computer mice odd. You would think that one would mouse with their non dominant hand so that they can write with their dominant one. IE: a mouse on the left for righties and vice versa. That way you don’t have to stop and start while mousing and writing at the same time. I tried using a left handed mouse after already being used to the right way, and it drove me up the wall.

  79. Lesley says:

    At school (many moons ago) we had to write with a fountain pen – I could never get it to look nice. Now as as adult I recently found out that these pens are specifically for right-handers. I am now a PE teacher and consider my pupils and teach skills for both hands. I also recall being asked by a music teacher what my opinion was about teaching guitar. She didn’t think it would matter to the wee left-hander in the class that his guitar was strung for a right-handed person. If it didn’t matter then why not string them all for a left-hander – hmmm, that idea didn’t go down too well…

    • Amanda says:

      There’s a lot of talk on here about using fountain pens. While I’ve never used one, I do have a scratch art tool that I can’t use because it’s made for righties. The sharp edge of the blade, is on the left. I tried to use my right hand, but ended up making a mess. I told my mom that she might have to do the picture for me as I can’t use the scratching tool.

  80. Dianne Du Bois says:

    hi , when i first started school in the late 60′s i had a problem with my writing that i use to write from right to left , so the teachers couldn’t understand what i wrote so they didn’t bother giving me home work so i got off with not learning much .they just gave up on me , still i get my letters wrong way round even small words & also mix up captal letters with small letters ..

  81. mike burns says:

    Surprised so many lefties seem to have probs with handwriting – mine was fab (don’t ask me why it was and why it didn’t smudge, but it didn’t). Since senior school and leaving the fountain pen, my handwriting, with a ball pen, is appalling!!!!!(Prob an age thing!!)

    p.s. do (did) any of you guys use CAPITALS when writing with a ball pen? (just seems easier for me!!)

    • Michelle says:

      I am left-handed and my cursive writing has been compared to that of the writing that you often see on the inside of antique books that had been given as gifts more than a century ago. Being unable to write much while a piece of metal was still lodged on the digital nerve of mt left-hand helped to make my handwriting even prettier (because I had to take my time with it).

    • Iris Bell says:

      Yes all three generations write with capital letters when writing notes.

      I would like to say there are positives for being left-handed – We might not be the neatest joined up writers but we seem to be very artistic and good at maths.

      I wonder if anyone has done studies on this?

  82. julia says:

    I’m left handed and in the first grade my teacher did not know I was left handed until half way through the year at a parent teacher conference and I had told my mom my teacher kept taking my pencil out of my left hand and putting it in my right hand. Then couple years down the road I almost failed because my teacher could not understand why my cursive writing was so different from everyone else in the class. Needless to say the US school system needs some reform.

  83. K Cowan says:

    I am one of three children. Two of us are left handed. My grandmother was left handed back in the days when teachers used a yardstick or ruler on the lefthander. The only uncomfortable experience I had as a lefty was the scissors, ended up with a blister every time. I worked in education as an aide. Most of the teachers I worked with didn’t have a problem with any lefthanders in class. As usual there is always one who wants to “convert” the lefty to a righty. The only way to get a right hander to understand a lefty is to tie their right hand behind their back so they could experience being a left hander. I don’t think teachers, in all of their training, are taught how to deal with lefties but having a left handed awareness day is an excellant idea.

  84. Gill says:

    I never got any extra help at school and really struggled during the lesson where we were taught joined up writing as obviously the way the teacher wanted me to shape the letters etc was not how I could do them being left handed, this was in the 1960′s, and, of course, my work was always smudged and messy looking through having to write from left to right! I have tried writing from the bottom of the page up, and this worked very well (no smudges), except the right handed people reading it got consfused!! I also found mirror writing very easy and use to do that as well sometimes. I think there is a bit more awareness now in schools. I too put my children’s pencils etc in the middle to see which hand they favoured, first child was ambidexterous but now favours the right hand for writing, and second child is just right handed. My mother was left handed and made to use her right hand, and my grandfather was left handed. I wear my watch on my right hand, but find the control knob is inconveniently placed, I can only operate it if I take the watch off! However, wearing the watch on my left arm does just not seem right some how.

    • Amanda says:

      So many lefties wear their watch on their right arm! I’m one of the few that doesn’t. And my right handed nephew wears his watch on his right arm. Even I think that’s weird.

  85. J M Baker says:

    Many children in primary school are taught to use the number line to assist with calculations.This is drawn from left to right with the calculation beginning on the left hand side. This is difficult for me to teach as I automatically draw a line from right to left & equally for many left handed children to follow with ease.

  86. Michelle says:

    If you position a board in the center, and then stand to the right of where you write (with your left-arm nearly fully extended), people behind you can see what you are writing, but whether you are using a white board or a chalk board, you will still have a smudge on your pinky.

  87. nancy says:

    My father was a principal in my school district. He arranged for a special training class of all the primary school teachers, along with all the odd/scattered left handed students. Both the children and the teachers were taught why we were different and the things that needed to be compensated for. I was very lucky. Because I was so young, and I was taught by ‘authority figures’ to my teachers, I never backed down when I had a teacher who did not know. I still had my troubles. Never had Left Handed scissors, and now can’t use them. Sports, no one could ever teach me left handed, so I would attempt to be right handed, and never excelled. I did learn to crochet. I hold the yarn and the hook in the right handed way, but then I move the hook and yarn the exact opposite to a right hander — how we have to adjust to the world!!
    Yes, I get the eyes, when I say I need to sit at the end of the table… I did find some camera’s that were “Left Eyed”. I could cope with the right handed buttons, but not the right eye (lol). So I am the product of being left handed in a right handed world.
    I received some therapy for my vision, and it included exercises on eye hand coordination. The therapist was amazed, as I was doing things she had never seen. Seems I had acclimated my body so that I did all fine motor control with the left, and gross motor control with my right. I think it would be nice not to have to accomodate like that, but then again, doesn’t that mean that we are constantly using both sides of our brain???

    One point, Don’t know if any of you noticed, but we eat with the fork in left hand, and when we need to cut meat, we keep fork in left hand and use the knife with our right.
    Right handed people constantly switch their fork from right to left, so they can use their right for the knife. I always thought they were odd. very odd.

    • Peggy R says:

      You are so right about the fork and knife!! My husband and kids look at me strangely when I cut my meat with my right hand and keep my fork in my left hand they just can’t get the concept of doing that. Score one for us!

    • Amanda says:

      I actually cut my meat right handed. My mom tried to teach me to use my left hand, but it was just uncomfortable. Cakes and pies on the other hand….

  88. Kelly P says:

    I don’t recall having too many problems being left handed at school. In primary school the only thing I encountered was in handwriting lessons when moving on from pencil to pen- the teacher wouldn’t let me write in pen because I smudged things. I complained to my parents and my mum explained to the teacher, after that it was fine. I still curl my hand around my work when I write, though.
    All of my schools have had left handed scissors, and not just one pair either, so that was no problem.

    At secondary school I had a few problems with the sports teacher- every lesson I’d have to remind her of my handedness and she’d roll her eyes and sigh.

    Desks have never been a problem. At school I always sat on the left of the table and explained why to any teacher who thought I wasn’t following their seating plan. At my university we don’t have chairs with a desk-thing attached, it’s just a table and chair- no problem.

    Teachers just need to be more aware- I don’t think they are prejudiced towards left-handed children, I just think it’s ignorance of the issue that left handers face.

  89. K Chamberlain says:

    Very interesting article. I am a primary school teacher and my son is left handed. I did the PGCE 6 years ago and don’t recall being taught anything about teaching left – handed children. It would be very useful to have a national awareness day where schools could make a big effort to put some of the above advice into practice. However, August is just about the worst month for this……!

  90. Amanda Murray says:

    Amazing that so many of us share the same problems. I’ve never had any trouble with my computer keyboard or mouse (although my mouse sits on the left side of my keyboard.
    I’ve also never got on with left handed bread knives, I expect it’s because they weren’t around so my mum taught me to cut bread with an ordinary one and I’ve always managed.

  91. Claire says:

    I am an Early Years Practitioner and work with children aged 6months to 5 years, so the ages where children first pick up writing impliments, whether it be crayons, pens, pencils etc. Children move from mark making to letter and word formation within this time frame so it is important that left handed children get the same benefits as right handers a this crucial stage of their development.

    Within the setting where I work we have six lefthanded children and after talking with other practitioners I realised NONE of them understood the need to provide resources that would aid left handers in their development e.g. scissors.

    I am currently studying towards a degree in Early Years and last year one module related to inclusion. As individuals, the class were asked to choose an area that they felt needed further investigation. Left handedness has always interested me as having a left handed father, i always thought it strange growing up that he held his pen in the “wrong” hand (sorry). Anyway, I chose lefthandedness and this was of interest to members of the group as within the group of 19 students 5 are left handed and the tutor pointed out that no one had ever chosen this area of interest before.

    I prepared myself for the module, figuring Id gather all the relevant information I needed, put together a PowerPoint and put together an essay filled with left handed research and literature for all to read. But it did not work out the way I intended. I found very little information or research out there regarding lefthandedness itself, let alone in young children. I struggled to find anything I could use and definately no conflicing views (necessary when when writing a critical peice of work). I am VERY sad to say, I had to change my mind and look at another area of development, with regard to inclusion.

    I have always tried in my work to ensure lefthanded children get the necessary resources available for them to progress as well as make sure they sit where they have space to write, with no “knocking” elbows. I talk to practitioners more, sometimes just to point out they are working with a lefthanded child (some adults just dont see it) and even parents about the differences, especially with regard to letter forming (sometimes the letters can be transposed), as some worry their child is “getting it wrong”.

    I was glad to see your email titled “Teacher training and left handed children” and have truely enjoed reading the other comments left here. Fingers crossed more literature and research will become available….Keep up the GREAT work…

  92. Merry says:

    My 5 year old daughter is lefthanded, but I don’t think the teachers really understand challenges of a lefthander in a righthanders world. Even with her learning to write letters she comes home will letters to copy, and guess which side of the page these are on! The left hand side so she can’t see them easily to copy, so I have to write them on the right hand side of the page. I will be requesting the teachers thinks about this after our next parent teacher meeting in 2 weeks time. It’s just such a small thing for them to do, apparently there are 5 children out of 30 in her class who are lefthanded.

  93. ED S says:

    Over forty years ago my second grade teacher told the teachers aid not to push me to use my right hand. The aid said “Then I can not help him”. My Teacher then said, “Don’t worry I will teach him”. I will always remember her for standing up for me. She was also left handed : ) All it takes is patience, understanding and support.

  94. Sandy says:

    Years ago as a first grade teacher, I was, of course, required to teach my students the alphabet and how to print the letters. Even though I was left-handed, I never had any trouble as I worked with both right and left handers helping them write. What was amazing to me was that no student ever asked me why I wrote on the board with my left hand or commented on it at all. Maybe it was because I don’t curve my wrist causing smudges while writing.

  95. Pat Paterson says:

    I am now 65 and started primary school in 1952. I don’t remember having any particular difficulty being left-handed at that time. Certainly I was never encouraged (or forced ) to use my right hand. I eat in the ‘normal’ right-handed way and also knit right-handed. I use a computer mouse with my right hand and have never found it to be difficult. I have never used a pair of left-handed scissors but it would be interesting to try! I sew and crochet left-handed, and also played dart, tennis etc this way. I did have a left-handed hockey stick but I understand these are not allowed for competitions. When using a fountain pen I did have a left-handed nib and my writing paprer is placed at a 90 degree angle. My writing has always sloped backwards but was always neat. None of my kitchen tools are left-handed, althougha left-handed corkscrew would make life easier. You get used to turning the bottle rather than the corkscrew! Pepper and salt grinders are used by turning the base- not the top! Finally, I really can’t say that I have ever been greatly inconvenienced or placed at a disadvantage through being left-handed.

  96. Faith says:

    Give the chid adequate room to angle their paper so that they can write as right handers do, not with hand curled around the top. This actually will make better penmanship (in my experience.)

    • Elisha says:

      I agree with this soo much! There’s a lot less chance of smudging when you write if you don’t curl your hand over.

  97. Andrew says:

    when i was at school i hated it when the teacher would ask me to write a sentence with my right hand as i told the teacher i am left handed also my parents told the school i was at that i was left handed as well. i even got told to use a spoon with my right hand and i couldn’nt do it.

  98. Jack Teegarden says:

    You ask – “Do keyboards discriminate against lefties ????”

    If there is a “left handed mouse” to use with a conventional keyboard, I have never seen one. But now after 10 years of so of using a “right-handed mouse”, I’m used to it, but it was a difficult chore.

    • Michelle says:

      The mouse has never been a problem for me. I think that’s just because I only have to rest my arm on the desk and aim and click. If I had to do more with it than that, then I’d be screwed.

      • Joanne Moss says:

        I’ve never had a problem with a computer mouse but do switch the function of the button via the control panel. I do have the mouse on the left hand side of the computer and do get annoyed when right handed colleagues complain that my mouse is weird. At a push I could use a mouse conventionally but not for a long period of time. My husband is a leftie too but not to the same extent as me, he can use a mouse conventionally. So if I log onto home computer the mouse will adopt my setting and vice versa, with a remote mouse we have two mouse mats so we always know who was last on the computer by where the mouse is! (he says my mouse settings are weird too, but then he needs left handed scissors whereas I can use conventional ones…)

      • Mike says:

        In order to turn the mouse to left hand, you have to either go to the mouse setting on your computor or maybe download a driver.A
        Microsoft mouse’s driver can do it
        Mike.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, there is. My husband is a techie. It doesn’t involve a different mouse. It’s something you input into your computer, I believe, so that the left-click is now the right, and the right click is now the left and then you can use it with the left hand. I’d have to get back to you on exactly what you have to do to make the change.

      I’ve always used a right-hand mouse. Before computers (Yes, I am that old) I worked in a store and had to use a cash register, which is nearly impossible to use left-handed, and later a desktop adding machine, which is also right handed. Since I was already “right handed” for those things, the mouse was simply fine in my right hand.

      • Gillian Yeager says:

        I am able to adequetely hold a mouse in my right hand, but prefer to hold it in my left. At school the teachers don’t let me flip it around to my left because it “messes it up” and makes it confusing for the person that gets on after me. That’s why I opt to use the school laptops because laptops are non hand descriminating. Most schools have laptops, you just have to search around for a while.

      • Cathy says:

        Update: My husband says the place to switch the mouse from left to right handed is in the control pannel on your computer. Go into the Start section and find the control pannel. It depends on which version of Windows you have exactly where it is, but there will be controls for the mouse. Go to those and you can change it.

        • BR says:

          The only real issue with the mouse is if the mouse is ergonomically built for right handed comfort. The buttons can be switched easily enough as described, but you can’t change the tilt of the mouse itself. The older mouse models were usually not ergonomic so they can be switched easily, but it’s getting to where almost all of them are ergonomically designed for right handed use. For myself this is not an issue as I use the mouse right handed, but being left handed, I do see how it could become an issue for those that want to switch them to the left hand.

  99. Michelle says:

    Another thing that would help is for schools to equip themselves with more left-handed desks (when they are the chair with the desk attached to the arm), and to make sure that all students who are sitting in the left-handed desks that they do have are left-handed students, too. Also, stop being politically correct and taking the sides of the right-handed kids when they won’t give up the left-handed desk to a left-handed student because “they were there first.”

    • Cathy says:

      I used to have that problem in college, and the teachers always told me to handle it myself. Other students would refuse to leave the lefty chair because they were there first. I started simply putting my stuff on the seat of the chair to the left of me so I could use that desk. If someone objected to my having two desks, I’d tell them that I’d be happy to use only one desk if they’d convince the rude righty in the lefty desk to let me sit there.

  100. pat simmons says:

    am left handed and had a very hard time in grade school, and to this day my handwriting sux, and to this day i have trouble @ work place as things are always set up for right handers from puter mouses to phone set up………… do not know what is being done in fla but i doubt much of anything……….. would love to find out tho,,,,,,,,, let me know what i can do to help.

    • Michelle says:

      Pat, when I am working in an office, I always move things around on my desk to accommodate my left-handedness, and I’ve done this in PA, NH, NC, GA, and FL. In 28 years, no employer has ever taken issue with that.

  101. Colin says:

    I was taught to write with a pencil, then when I was about 7 or 8 we had handwriting lessons using a fountain pen. Naturally my hand trailed behind what I had just written and smudged it. I can still remember the teacher coming round and saying ‘Oh, I didn’t realise you were left-handed Colin’.

    My Mum was a primary school teacher for many years and said she never had any training on how to teach left-handers to write.

    My children are right-handed, but I gather from talking to parents of left-handers that things haven’t improved a great deal since I was at school.

    • Michelle says:

      I am left-handed and have an ambidextrous son who is left-hand dominant. He’s 16 now, but when I enrolled him in kindergarten, I told the school that they will see him eat with his right hand and write with his left and they are to do absolutely nothing to change that. I also had them include a letter from me. stating that same thing, in his record folder.

      He only ever came home one time and told me about his 2nd grade teacher was telling him that he was holding his pencil wrong and trying to change him. I had my son show me how he holds his pencil, and he held it the same way that I do. I went straight to the school that next day, and when the teacher pulled out the writing handbook and tried to prove to me that my son was doing it all wrong, I told her it was a guide, not the Gospel, and from that point forward, she let him be.

  102. mike burns says:

    great article – did A-Level Woodwork and had to use a Filister plane (boring to those of you that don’t know!) -BUT a Filister plane comes left or right handed (and as the ONLY person to take the exam and as my school wouldn’t buy this specific piece of equipment) I spent 3 months learning how to pull(!) a right handed plane towards me as opposed to push a plane away (told you it was boring!) Anyhoo – invigilator’s (correct spelling?) face as I did this was a picture!! PASSED THOUGH!!

    (as an afterthought, told by my mother that my Great Grandmother used to tie my left hand behind my back to try and make me a (gasp!) rightie!) – still love her to bits though and she didn’t succeed!!!!

    LOOKING FORWARD TO 13th AUGUST (day after my 59th birthday! – cards and pressies gratefully accepted!!) – INTERNATIONAL LEFT HANDERS DAY – WE’RE RECOGNISED!!!!!! CELEBRATE MADLY!!!!!

    • Joanne Moss says:

      I did wood & metal work along with tech drawing in 1st and 2nd year and had the joy of a left handed teacher for all wood and metal work! The best class was tech drawing (loved them all and wish I could have taken tech drawing at O level) as myself and the other leftie in the class would stand in front of the teacher (rightie) while all the others crowded round behind him while he demonstrated what he wanted us to do. He was quick to pick up we were lefties as he knew we were “reversing” what he was doing in our heads. Needless to say me and Billy (the other leftie) got top marks!

  103. Trevor says:

    In my opinion comfort is the key to succeeding when it comes to school. I know a lot of schools still use the desks where the chair and the writing surface are attached but most of them are designed with the bar and the desktop coming out from the right side. They do make them for the left as well. Encourage the teachers to place the students in the desks that suit their needs to write comfortabley and and correctly. The basics will stick must better than if the students left arm is hanging half way off the desk and they have to munipulate it as to be comfortable.

    • Michelle says:

      That’s what I mentioned in one of my earlier posts. They should accommodate our needs, but don’t even have enough left-handed desks around just in case they have more lefties than they guesstimated they would. Teachers who look out at their students and see left-handed kids in right-handed desks should immediately switch out the desks for them.

  104. Julie says:

    Growing up in the U.S.:
    Many years ago, when I was in Kindergarten, I remember that
    left-handed SCISSORS were never available in class. It was
    frustrating trying to use right-handed ones (they just folded the
    paper as I tried to cut). My teacher told me I was just being
    difficult and I didn’t need different scissors. Craft time often
    turned to tear time. Later in school I wished there were notebooks
    and JOURNALS for lefties. SPIRAL NOTEBOOKS were agonizing. “Just
    flip it the other way”, was the common response. It would be nice if
    manufacturers made left-handed stationary more readily available than
    it is today.
    I was thrilled to find your website.
    I still get strange looks at restaurants when I always note that I
    need to sit to the left of someone, so we won’t bonk elbows!
    My daughter groans every time that I note that someone is left-handed.
    I find it quite exciting to meet a fellow lefty! Most of them write
    with the “hook”. I am lucky that I never developed the same writing
    still.

    • Michelle says:

      It’s amazing how many people look at us funny for wanting to sit on the outside left at the dining table.

      I am also American. I don’t know what the scissors looked like at your school, but the ones in mine clearly had hunter green rubber around handles, so there was no mistaking the left-handed scissors for the right-handed ones. However, because ours had the padding, the right-handed kids would not give them up, and unfortunately, our ignorant teachers let them get away with it.

      Did you know that many things that may look ambidextrous are not? Take, for example, the butter knife.

  105. Katherine says:

    Thank you for you email asking for help for children who are left handed.

    At school I had a bad time with handwriting – my handwriting was deemed “poor, careless and illegible” No help was offered as to how I could improve. It wasn’t until I was introduced to Italic writing an bought a left handed Italic pen that things improved. Left handed fountain pens make a big difference and now my writing is considered pretty O.K. There are some famous left handed writers – Gaynor Goffe being one. Don’t ever try and change a left hander, whether child or adulkt. I was once asked if I would not find it easier to use my right hand to which I replied “About as easy as you would to use your left hand”

    So use a left handed pen – Manuscript make some good ones in different sizes and a reasonable price. I also like using ink which I get from get from Private Reserve or Diamine by Mail order. There are some lovely colours.

    Where are you demonstrating on 13 August – perhaps in London? . If so, I’d be happy to to demonstrate to any left handed people child or adult how I use my pens. Are you having any workshops on that day?

    I hope you will prodce leaflet with all the excellent advice in your email.

    Can you ensure that workshops are included at Teacher Training colleges, so that teachers get to find out about left handers during their training. There are a lot of us “lefties” around. Is it 35%? (or more?)

  106. Marian says:

    Some further points to raise:
    - Cartridge (ink) pens aren’t very useful to left-handers. I remember
    permanently having an inky edge of hand, and even left-handed nibs
    seemed to catch and scratch on the paper.
    - using a whiteboard remains a problem as my natural writing style
    means my edge of hand rests on the writing surface. For whiteboards, I
    have to hold the pen as one would a scalpel, which is tiring over
    time.
    - completely agree about sitting left-handers on the left-hand edge of
    writing areas so they don’t bump elbows with right-handers. I still do
    this in meetings!
    - if trying to teach joined-up writing to left-handers, don’t punish
    them if they don’t manage it. I write capital Ns from right to left to
    this day, and form letter Os by drawing a clockwise circle. This meant
    that when trying to write joined-up (which I still don’t) at school, I
    used to go round and round in circles until finally I sling-shot off
    to the right to form the next letter. I also cross Ts and Fs from
    right to left. I only realised these differences in adulthood.
    - many children nowadays use laptops as part of their everyday
    learning. I use a mouse on the left (with the buttons NOT switched
    over), and find that click-and-drag from right to left (my default
    approach) sometimes highlights more than one wants, so one has to drag
    from left to right.
    - left-handed scissors in the classroom – what a joy they’d have been.
    I use right-handed scissors in my right hand, because nothing else was
    available.
    - left-handed hockey sticks? I don’t think they exist, but I remember
    struggling with the “standard” hockey stick and using it bowl-side
    forward in my left hand
    - left-handed grips on racquets – I grip my squash racquet the
    opposite way round from the way it’s supplied (by adding a second grip
    over the top) so that its ridges run parallel with the fingers of my
    left hand.

    • Lesley says:

      As a PE teacher, I can tell you there is no such thing as a left-handed hockey stick. It is in fact a benefit to be left-handed playing hockey as that is the hand at the top of the stick and is the controlling hand. I am left-handed….

    • Janice says:

      Hockey sticks, my 10 year old son is made to play hockey, of course the boy can’t do it the teacher makes him use a right handed one, its cruel, he has to cope with all the jibes from class mates because the ball goes all over the place!
      As for handwriting schooling from 41/2 – 7 years was a waste of time, he suffered arm pain because he had to do it the schools way, he is left handed I cried on deaf ears. School became a chore for him. He is just about average now but if he had had the right left handed nurturing in those early years then maybe things would be different.
      He is a wonderful little boy & has taught me so many things being the only leftie in the house!

  107. Mrs Iris Bell says:

    Keyboards are fine but if you are data entry using numbers the numbers on the left would be better.

    • Michelle says:

      That’s why I use the ones on the qwerty most often. My keystrokes are much higher when I use them rather than the number pad.

  108. Mrs Iris Bell says:

    Possibly four generations of left handers:

    I am left handed, with 2 out of 3 children left handed and a grandchild who may be. In my past also worked five years as a teaching assistant. So is a subject I am very aware of.

    My dad 73 was possibly left-handed but it had been frowned on in his day and he was made to use his right.

    Myself, when at school was made to use my right but when I bought home my first written work which looked bad, my dad put it up against a mirror and it was perfect and insisted that the school let me use my left hand from then on. Looking back I remember that the bell on my bike was pretty useless (one for my left thumb would have been much better as I always wobbled when trying to ring the bell).

    When my second child went to pre-school when doing paintings was made to write her name on the right-hand corner of the page (not to my surprise she wrote it backwards as she started in the wrong corner). Once I made the teacher aware she was fine.

    Once she started proper school left-handed awareness was at its peak and she was given a special taller chair etc. This did not make her feel special but different.

    By the time my third child started school things had become more sensible and he had a choice of different materials i.e. sissors, pencils with grips.

    Even teaching a child to button up their own coat and tie shoe laces is an obstacle for the right-handed person teaching.

    About this time I became a teaching assistant and was pleased with the approach to left-handed children. If they struggled with sissors, writing implements they were given a suitable alternative to try.

    Of course some things will not change in school i.e. door knobs are a problem for small children but impossible for left-handed small children and computer mice are always situated on the right.

    I have seen many teachers in the playground not realising that a left-handed child needs to hold the bat in the left hand.

    Even at my age I would like to crochet and will need someone left-handed to show me as all visual instructions are back to front to me.

    I hope your cause to make new teachers aware goes well then if any of my grandchildren are left-handed they will have an easier time.

    Iris

    • Michelle says:

      My grandmother was born in 1921, and just died two months ago. As far as she could recall, she was naturally right-handed. To the best of her sisters’ memories (they were born in 1908 and 1910), they were also naturally right-handed, too. But, they all seem to recall being told that their brother (born in 1906) was born left0handed and forced to be right. There were three other boys born in 1903, 1912, and 1916, but they all died before the age of five.

      Anyway, Gram, Aunt Florence, Aunt Lillian, and Uncle George all married right-handed people and each couple had left-handed kids. Other than the fact that Uncle George’s daughter adopted to infants who, ironically enough, also turned out to be left-handed, I have no clue about the rest of my grandmother’s nieces and nephews.

      My mother’s sister married, but died childless. I am the only one of Mom;s kids who is left-handed and my ambidextrous son (an only child) is the only one of her grandchildren to be. One of my nieces just gave birth a to a girl a week after Gram died, so it’s too early to tell with her, but we shall see. We at least know that in my direct line – mother to daughter to grandson, we have three generations of left-handedness.

    • Victoria says:

      Iris, the lady who taught me to crochet was right-handed. I just sat directly across from her, and it wasn’t too hard to follow along.

  109. Donna says:

    I make my checks backwards.
    My younger sister copied me and she is left-handed also.
    The worse problem is one armed desks that you find in University classrooms. Many times there is not a left-handed desk. I have to pull another desk next to me so I can write on a surface.

    Strange: One accounting class, there was a majority of left handed students (of course there were only 6 students enrolled in the course).

    Make certain you get the “C” seat on an airplane, so your left arm is in the aisle.

  110. Johan says:

    this is a great article. I started school (Scotland) in the late 70′s and my P1 teacher was of the “old school” – trying to make me write differently (right handed). That didn’t work I still did my work left handed and tried not to go to school but ended up with a great teacher who put me on the correct side of the table (left) – which I still choose. But i still do lots of things righthanded: knit, eat etc but scissors are the best thing for me. I’m now getting ready to pass my skills onto my nephew who’s 19 months old and already a dominant leftie with r-h parents. these articles and the brill website will be more valuable to me now. please keep up the good work.

  111. mars says:

    three molly dukers in my house, myself included. I learned how to do everything like a righty. awkward at first but now it is second nature. I am more adaptable than my right handed counterparts. the other two southpaws are strictly south! even my middle name is Dexter! hah!

    • Michelle says:

      I was once asked at a new friend’s house to cut some tomatoes. When I said that I couldn’t because I was left-handed, our mutual friend (whom I had known my entire life) stepped in and backed me up. I can cut tomatoes, of course, but my (new) friend was just gullible enough to believe that lefties tend to squash them when cutting.

      • Joanne Moss says:

        While paying for a set of kitchen knives for my husband and me she commented to her friend how ironic is was that we were both lefties! The sales assistant heard this and prompted stated “well they won’t be able to use these!” and suggested a universal set instead. Bless her! Would have loved to have seen the look on M-in-L’s face!

  112. Susan says:

    My 8yr old is in Grade 3 in Australia. They copy a list of spelling words each day for a week as part of their homework. I have had to ask the teacher if the four days can be done in reverse across the page. ie Fri to Mon instead of Mon – Friday. Every time my child wanted to copy the next days words into the next column, they were hidden under her hand. The Teacher had not even thought about that. I too have had to show her how to do things Left-handed which is awfully weird for a right-hander. We do have the left handed scissors but have you noticed that pencil sharpeners are also geared to “righty’s” and don’t start me on Camera’s and Camcorders……Just a note, my daughter is also limb deficient, no fingers on her right hand but a fairly functional thumb and she can manage just about everything except camera’s and cam-corders.

  113. Janet Brown says:

    Some years ago when I was training to be a primary teacher I was sent out for teaching practice to a Primary 1 class. After observing for a couple of days, I was trusted to do a very basic writing lesson.(The class teacher had not noticed that I was left handed.) I picked up the chalk, drew the letter on the blackboard and turning round I saw all the children looking at me. They then(all of them) changed their pencils to their left hands and copied me. Their teacher was horrified since she had spent 2 months sorting out which hand each child was using.
    The next day when I arrived at the school, I was told I had been transferred to Primary 5 where I could do less damage.

  114. Karen says:

    My name is Karen and I am so excited for this. I live in the US, work as a teacher, educational consultant and I have a left-hand learner daughter.
    Many years when I began teaching I don’t think I gave left hand learners a second thought, besides the ordinary seating arrangements (which arouse from their neighbor complaining, never the left hand learner) and scissors. When my daughter was about 8 months old I noticed her left hand tendencies. As she grew, and I became more aware of her struggles I researched the ways I could help her.
    One thing I noticed was in her first year of school. So many worksheets required students to find a matching picture from the first column. Left-hand learners automatically place their left hands on the left side of the paper causing the students to match the first picture they saw (one of the answers).
    A second thing I noticed in the early years with LHL- is the process of ordering from least to greatest or greatest to least (or big to small). So many LHL will reverse the order. It isn’t that they don’t know the answer, or “don’t listen to directions.” Their brain actually processes the information the same. Right to left is the natural function of their minds. How do we fix this? Easily, pull your LHL and work with them, have them choose, and point to wear they need to glue or write. They have the answers, just not the muscle memory to present the information
    Learning to tell time was another way we needed to think outside the box. Classroom teachers need to be aware that the LHL processes the information in a counter clockwise fashion. How did we remedy this at home? Use very large pictures of clocks and use large red arrows to point out the direction of “clockwise.” In addition, we used a large whiteboard, and had her draw out her own clock and move magnets into the number places. Long muscles create different memory patterns
    I always use the term “left-hand learner” when I train teachers. Teachers need to hear that it is not just a tendency to use a particular hand to write or cut. It truly is a brain process. Observing and adjusting the teaching style is needed. I cannot tell you the looks I get with teachers who feel that I am excusing my daughter’s learning needs. They are not excuses; they are legitimate brain based facts. Observe the natural tendencies and find a way to adapt your teaching style to adapt.
    I will be very happy to work on this in the coming months. I would love to write a book! I haven’t even begun the issues in the middle grades. I am only a consultant, I do not hold a Ph.D, so my research and modifications are trial and error with my own daughter, as well as ideas from adapting teaching to learning styles, and observations from other LHL (and many ideas from products on ALH)
    I have several quick tricks to share with parents or teachers that are quick fixes for many issues. I will gladly share more as they come to mind.
    Allow students to write with flair pens, they don’t smudge and they have a higher visual impact
    Use a graph paper for math. Those columns tend to drift and don’t line up. If that is not possible, print out a large graph with heavy dark lines on the computer, and tuck behind paper.
    Use graph paper to teach printing and spelling. One letter per box.
    Flip notebooks. I know that ALH sells LH notebooks, but many US schools supply classrooms with notebooks. Flip it so that the spine does not interfere with writing.
    AND for the love of peace- don’t FORCE LHL to write in a binder. I would love for RH teachers to try it out backwards and see how annoying and painful it is!
    If there is a specific question or need, ask. I may not have the answer right away, but I generally can come up with a modification to try.

    • Michelle says:

      Amen! Unfortunately, as an educate here in the States, you also know that although we lefties can write in spirals from back to front, many teachers will not allow that. Obviously, the best compromise is to use a notebook with a glued or sewn spine, but they won’t even let kids use them for fear that the papers will fall out (Can you say, “cop-out?”).

      When I studied to teach back in the mid-1980s, the colleges and school districts were aware of the learning disabilities that develop in left-handed students due to them having to adjust to living in a right-handed world, rather than being accommodated. It’s a shame that there are any teachers out there at all who still believe that since all of the other kids can do something, a lefty should be able to do it, too.

    • Barbara says:

      Some simple ideas for teachers and schools regarding left handers.
      -Please don’t be lazy. Don’t force a left handed student to write in a spiral book the
      same as right handed students, simply look at the front of the book as they can
      naturally place the label on the front for their view which will show you where it
      begins.
      -allow them to use items to help avoid smearing of the work.
      -adapting to having the number keypad on a regular keyboard is not that difficult, I am a
      full left handed person when it comes to writing and typing and this is one area i found
      easy to adjust.
      -PLEASE, for any classes that use any form of machinery or tools from sewing to
      mechanics GIVE THE STUDENT EXTRA TIME TO ADJUST TO SAFETY FACTORS AND BE
      SURE THE TOOL/MACHINE CAN BE ADJUSTED FOR SAFETY IF NEEDED! Too many times I
      had to take extra time and lose marks just to do this for myself to avoid accidents,
      even being called clumsy, slow. lazy or told I do not have the abilities needed for the type of job for doing so.

      • Michelle says:

        I can use the number pad, too, but it is still unnatural and awkward for me, so that’s why I use the numbers above the qwerty more often. It’s funny how many people feel the need to urge me to use the number pad (as if numbers won’t appear if I used the others) or let me know that is exists. They just can’t see that the pens, pencils, stapler, telephone, coffee mug, etc. are all on my left, and that when I need one of those things, I reach for them with my left hand and write with it, too. I just tend to ignore everything to the right of delete.

    • Barbara says:

      Some simple ideas for teachers and schools regarding left handers.

      A great way to understand is to have a right handed teacher try a few things. Try cutting with left handed scissors, use a spiral notebook starting on the last page and have the paper on LEFT side of the spiral, use the keypad on their cell phones with their opposite hand than they normally use, try knitting, crocheting or any other craft with their left hand, set up and use equipment that is left handed by nature and this way they may get not only insight into the adjustments that are done regularly by their left handed students but may come up with options that could help students.

      -Please don’t force a left handed student to write in a spiral book the
      same as right handed students, simply look at the front of the book as they can
      naturally place the label on the front for their view which will show you where it
      begins.
      -allow them to use items to help avoid smearing of the work.
      -adapting to having the number keypad on a regular keyboard is not that difficult, I
      am a full left handed person when it comes to writing and typing and this is one area
      I found easy to adjust.
      -PLEASE, for any classes that use any form of machinery or tools from sewing to
      mechanics GIVE THE STUDENT EXTRA TIME TO ADJUST TO SAFETY FACTORS AND BE
      SURE THE TOOL/MACHINE CAN BE ADJUSTED FOR SAFETY IF NEEDED! Too many times I
      had to take extra time and lose marks just to do this for myself to avoid accidents,
      then being called clumsy, slow. lazy or told I do not have the abilities needed for the
      type of job.

    • Lisa says:

      This whole article has been quite informative. I especially appreciate Karen’s insights into LHL learners. I’m cross-dominant with a left-handed daughter. I bat left, golf left, do gymnastics left, throw right but catch with whichever hand is closer. I’m clumsy with my right hand despite it being the hand that I write with, and when I knock things over with my right hand I can usually catch them with my left before they hit the ground.

      I taught myself to read when I was three and I was a librarian for eleven years. I was never a “math person” until I realized that math and language are essentially the same thing and I am now finishing my master’s degree in middle and high school math education. I’ve learned that I’m a very good technical artist but lacking in creativity; on the flip side, I am not spectacular with arithmetic but very comfortable with abstract math, connections and creativity.

      I’ve been wondering if my brain is cross-wired too! If math and language are processed through the more emotional hemisphere and art through the logical hemisphere. That would explain a lot.

      I’m really glad I read this article and the comments because from what I’m reading, I seem to have more left-handed traits than I’d thought… things that I take for granted. When drawing lines I always start at the left and pull right. Doesn’t everyone do that? If not, I need to root out my other stealthy leftie traits. I don’t want to get rid of them! As a teacher it helps to know when you’re doing something that will seem counterintuitive to the majority of your students so you can show them both ways.

      I’m incredibly relieved that there are left-handed rulers. I end up flipping my head over and scrunching around to see it. I also have a very hard time distinguishing right from left in an image… embarrassing! I’ve had my class correct me before. I tell them teachers make mistakes too.

      Thank you for your thoughts on left handed learners!

      Raquel noted that she sees a lot of lefties in her stem classes. I noticed that as I got deeper into abstract math the proportions of lefties to righties changed; by the end it was 50/50. This makes me wonder about middle school math teachers versus high school math teachers. I’m willing to bet that there are more left-handed high school (math) teachers than middle school teachers because you find more math majors teaching high school whereas you have more education majors teaching middle school.

  115. Janet Brown says:

    Some years ago when I was training to be a primary teacher I was sent out for teaching practice to a Primary 1 class. After observing for a couple of days, I was trusted to do a very basic writing lesson.(The class teacher had not noticed that I was left handed.) I picked up the chalk, drew the letter on the blackboard and turning round I saw all the children looking at me. The then(all of them) changed their pencils to their left hands and copied me. Their teacher was horrified since she had spent 2 months sorting out which hand each child was using.
    The next day when I arrived at the school, I was told I had been transferred to Primary 5 where I could do less damage.

  116. KatSmith says:

    As a left-handed future teacher, I will be automatically on the look-out for left-handed students and will seat them accordingly. I remember bumping elbows and shifting my arm around many times during my school years, and I want my classroom to be a comfortable learning environment for everyone.

    To teach me how to write, my right-handed parents sat across the table from me, so I learned how to hold a writing implement in a mirrored way from them, and I learned to form letters on my own, by tracing outlines of the letters without any guidance.

    Since I can use right-handed scissors, that has never really been a problem for me, but I will ensure that I have some in my future classroom.

  117. Jenny Hartt says:

    Two tips from a ‘left-handed’ teacher:

    Encourage left-handed students to have their writing paper angled to the right (45 degrees). This prevents ‘smudging’ and makes it easier for the left-hander to read their work. It also helps to encourage a conventional pencil grip too.

    Ensure that the left-handed scissors are not just left-handed grips – they need to be left-bladed! It was a revelation to me to use proper left-bladed dressmaking shears.

    Thank goodness teachers no longer use chalk boards – as a left-hander writing with chalk and trying to look over my left shoulder at the students was a nightmare.

    • Michelle says:

      White boards are not any better than chalk boards, and many teachers who will allow kids to use pens require that the ink be erasable.

  118. Mary Sinclair says:

    Hello, Im a lefty, but I also suffer from a disability in another part of my body,

    I just thought that because there is so much stress, pressure, insult given to left handers to live in a right handed world, well I honestly think that if we want to get our own back, we should give the righties a taste of their own medicine. I think LEFTIES should declare themselves or implement change acknowledge lefthandedness as a DISABILITY seeing that it is so wrong to be a lefty.

    YES, WE SHOULD REQUEST THE LAW TO CHANGE, AND ACKNOWLEDGE US AS DISABLED.

    WE MAY BE LEFTIES BUT OUR BRAINS, EYES, AND EARS AND THE REST OF US STILL WORK!!!!!!!

    DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT IM TRYING TO SAY????????

    • Karen says:

      I do think that parents of left-hand learners should have schools draw up individualized plans for their students. Here in the US we have IEPs for students with special needs, all of the modifications listed and teachers need to read, sign and follow each of the modifications. Although these plans take time, resources and money from other students with special needs, I think a big push in this direction would be beneficial in the long run.

  119. Deirdre Viana says:

    When my son whose now 10 years old started primary school 6 years ago, I had to purchase a left handed sissors for him to have in school as he’s teacher couldn’t answer me when I asked if they had left handed sissors available for him in class. His teacher who was newly qualified didn’t know that left handed children formed letters in a different direction to right handed pupils. I really felt she had no clue and was left feeling let down by her and the school.

  120. Amanda Murray says:

    My wonderful mother taught me to read and write before I started infant school in 1962 aged four and a half. The first teacher I had the misfortune to have at school told me I was ‘cack-handed’. She placed the pencil in my right hand and said I wasn’t to use my left hand again. In fact, if she found me using my left hand, she called me a disobedient little wretch and smacked my hands (imagine that happening today!!). She then said my written letters (block capitals) were appalling and untidy and I was called stupid. Thank heavens my mother found out. I told my cousin who was a year ahead of me at the same school, she told my aunt who told my mother. My mother confronted this teacher and told her I was left handed and to try to make write with my right hand was totally un-natural. The teacher told her that if she didn’t want me to be normal then that was up to her. I wish I had heard my mother’s response to that. Of course when I was growing up there were no such things as left handed scissors…….I could never cut in a straight line then – or fountain pens with left handed nibs. I used to ruin all my pens!! The funny thing is that in my family, left-handedness goes from aunt to second-born niece. My mother’s younger sister was left handed; I am my aunt’s niece and am the younger of two sisters and my own sister’s younger daughter is left handed. Co-incidence?

    • Tina says:

      Amanda, my older brother had the same problem when he started secondary school in the early 60′s, they compared his handwriting to a 6th former and then he was wrapped across the knculkes with a ruler because of his awful handwriting and they tried to get him to write right handed, my mother went to the school and told the teacher to put out their hand so she could use the ruler on them, she had suffered a similar experience when at school and my nan had to intervene so she was determined her children wouldnt suffer. He turned out to be ambidexterous and has great handwriting. Me im proud top be a lefty, whne i forst started work i used to turn the pencil sharpeners round the other way on the filing cabinets, staff used to moan and say whose put this on the wrong way and i used to pipe up its not the worng way for me. Ive been used to all the jokes about being cack handed etc but at the end of the day, i champion leftys telling people it is because we have sperior intelligence that we are special .

  121. Gail says:

    I’m left handed and have a pair of right handed twins. I get to do it all the other way around, as I’ve had to adapt to learn how to hold the pen correctly right handed to try to show them what to do. Fortunately, having never been forced to write with the wrong hand, it’s not something that casues nasty flashbacks. They do sometime wonder why mummy’s writing is nearly as bad as theirs when I’m showing them what to do though (they are only 5!).

    It’s something that teachers, left or right handed, should be given some training in – how to hold a pen/pencil (in both hands), it would help all of them I think, which ever their dominant hand is, to help all the students in thier classes. Mind you – as the above comment states – we’re moving to technology so fast that writing may become obselete in the not too distant future.

    By the way – do keyboards discriminate against lefties????

    • Jenny Hartt says:

      Righthanded keyboards do discriminate against lefties as the ‘number pad’ is always on the right. In common with many ‘lefties’ I learned to use the computer mouse with my right hand! I also text with my right hand……..

    • Michelle says:

      Yes, for us, the keys to the right of the qwerty are in the wrong place. Naturally, I use the number keys in the qwerty area instead.

      • Val Banton says:

        I’m a book keeper by profession, and I had to find a “l handed” keyboard for work. It’s woinderful – the number pad is on the left hand side. I also carry a little USB number pad (about the size of a calculaor) for if I’m out and about. If folk at work have to key in numbers using my keyboard, they begin to realise how difficult it is for me to use a right handed one.

        • Julie says:

          I think a good point here is that if right handed people tried using left handed things, they’d understand us better. My mom used to carry left handed nursing scissors–even though she never used left hand sewing scissors. I asked her why. She said of anybody asked to borrow her scissors at work, she knew they wouldn’t keep them! (Note…If you don’t know, nursing scissors are angled and have a lip to the side. Very difficult to use with the “wrong” hand.)

    • mike burns says:

      Hi Gail,

      Not sure what you mean about keyboards (never had a problem), but I always found using the right handed mouse gave me loads of space on my desk to make notes left handed whilst all my colleagues had to move stuff around to get to their pen and paper (electronic office!! – don’t make me laugh!!) – we’ll always need paper and it’s easier for us lefties!!

      Was difficult to show my right handed son D-I-Y though (my daughter’s sensible, she’s a leftie!!)

      Mirrors are helpful if you haven’t found that tip yet!!

      Best wishes to you and the bookends xx

    • Cathy says:

      I’m a school-based OT and left handed. No one who taught our OT courses ever addressed left-handed issues and would roll their eyes when I’d ask or make suggestions. Since I have to work with both left and right handed students, I have become adept at holding the pencil/pen with either hand, since I often have to work hand-over-hand with the more disabled students. I can also write upside down and backwards becaue I’m often sitting across the table from students. I find these things are really important whenever working with children on writing.

      I actually think I have the advantage being left-handed, since I’ve had to be creative all my life in order to use right handed tools (You should see how I use a manual can opener) in a left-handed way. I see many right-handed therapists struggling to figure out how to work with left-handed students, and they often come to me with their questions.

      As for the keyboard, I don’t think the keyboard itself is necessarily right-hand oriented. Of course, I have a laptop, so I have no right-hand number keypad. I only have the numbers across the top of the keyboard. There are number keypads that are separate from the keyboard that can be purchased. Those could be attached like a mouse, and be used on either side of the keyboard. Unfortunately, I don’t know of anyone who makes a number keypad that has the numbers going right to left, so it would only be a halfway measure to fix the problem.

  122. Philip Schwartz says:

    There used to be quite a stigma attached to being left-handed. When I was in the earliest grades, I was actually *punished* for trying to write with my left hand. I was forced to stand in the corner of the classroom, facing the wall, as if I had been naughty. I hope that attention is finally being paid to the needs of the left-hander. I am proud to report that three out of the last four American Presidents (Bush II being the exception) have been lefty. No stigma in that!

    Philip Schwartz

  123. Paula says:

    Based on my own experience while studying, students can request for left handed arm chairs for their respective classrooms, and some teachers allow left handed students to switch seats with the person on the farthest left.
    I’m not sure whether this practice is done in other countries, but in the Philippines, as long as the teacher is aware of such things, I believe they are given consideration.

    • Michelle says:

      Teachers in the States are aware and should accommodate too, but – OMG! If they make the right-handed kid move out of the left-handed seat then the right-handed people are going to get offended, so instead of being understanding, we are told that if the teacher allows one person to move, then she’ll have to let everyone else who want to switch seats move too. There is no convincing the politically correct that there is a difference between ergonomics and fairness.

  124. Bob says:

    Hi, I have several suggestions to help left handers:

    1. Position of paper when writing: The picture you have included in the “teacher Training of Left Handed Children is the perfect illustration of why Lefties usually have a terrible writing position. The girl has the paper slanted to the right, and she is also expected to SLANT her writing to the right. Pretty difficult to do both and not have most lefties not bend their wrist and hand way to the right. When my teacher would place my paper to the right, after she walked away, I would slant it to the LEFT, and therefore had no problem slanting my letters to the left and did so without having placing my wrist and hand in a contorted position.

    2. Loose leaf spiral tablets: Obviously made for right handers, as they don’t have the problem with the spiral wire being in their way when they are writing, as Lefties do pretty uncomfortably! So, what I would do is write in my spiral notebook, starting from the back page, placing the spiral to the left side so that it didn’t bother me! Thus my left hand didn’t have to be continually on top of the wire as I wrote! At first my teacher gave me a hard time about it, but I persisted and finally convinced her that it should really matter how I was holding my tablet, as long as I was using it for the purpose the notebook was made for–keeping notes! So all of my notes were kept in my spiral notebook from the back of the tablet toward the front!

    3. Neatness affected as lefties often drag their writing hand over what they have just written. If they are using a pencil, they will often cause lead smudge marks. And if they are using pens, they will oftentimes smudge the ink! I have never seen a right hander with a dirty hand from writing, but you will usually see lefties with ink or lead marks on their hands after writing something. For left-handers to avoid this, they basically have to hold their hand slightly in the air so as not to touch the paper and smudge their writing! something right-handers don’t have to do! And this not only can be pretty uncomfortable to do, but also can affect the way a lefty holds their pen or pencil! Teachers should be made aware of this when grading left-handed students on neatness!

    4. classroom student desks: These chairs all have the desk area on the right side, making it easy for right-handers to use and difficult for lefties and another reason for the poor way they hold their hand and wrist when writing. First, the teacher makes the lefty slant their paper to the right, then they are forced to hold the paper way to the right side where the writing surface is, and then they are also forced to write their letters to the right, making it impossible for most lefties not to have a contorted writing style. And also a big reason why most lefties have such a hard time writing and most actually either slant their letters straight up or basically slanted backwards to the left.

    My writing is not the greatest in legibility and I blame this on most of my teachers forcing me to write very uncomfortably and disciplining me when I continued to have problems conforming to their strict writing methods which were all geared to right-handers.

    Thanks and hope this is helpful to you.

    Bob

    • Bob says:

      Hi, a couple of corrections to errors in my response:

      1.I held my paper slanted to the left so that could more easily slant my letters to the right without contorting my wrist and hand.

      2. I placed my notebook backwards so that the spiral wire would be to the RIGHT and not in my way when writing, thus keeping my notes starting from the back page, toward the front page!

    • Amanda says:

      I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched righties tilt their paper to the left so they can write. I was taught to tilt mine to the right. When I do, my letters actually come out straight. If I keep the paper straight, my letters tilt to the right.

  125. Kagema Gichuhi says:

    I am a Kenyan, 45 this year, left handed and have been receiving your newsletter for a while now. Here in Kenya I hardly know anyone who is left handed! The only friend I remember who I once taught with at university is now living and working in the UK.
    Interestingly, I only became aware of the challenges left-handers go thru via your articles. the biggest challenge i recall from school and college is the sitting/writing position. I always had to work this out for myself as I was all thru the years the only left handed person in class.
    When I started reading stuff on the ‘condition’, I realised that there are some things that I could not and still cannot do with my left hand! Amazing, isn’t it? For instance, I play the guitar like a right handed person. i also cannot hold my toothbrush with my left hand while brushing. I’ve tried and tried and found it impossible. Also, I cannot work with scissors using the left hand! Therefore, it seems the only thing I do with the left is write and eat. When using a fork on its own, i cannot use my right, if i do (and this includes writing as well), I become very clumsy and make a mess of everything.

    • Michelle says:

      I am not sure about Barak Obama, Sr., but Barak Obama, Jr. is a left-handed man of Kenyan descent. However, I don’t know if that comes to him through his mother’s side either.

  126. Ed says:

    In the USA, they are useless with things like pen grip. Even right-handers often hold it like they are about to carve their initials in the desk.
    Their cursive letter shapes are different in many cases to block letters and they make no accomadations for left handers.
    They are getting so married to technology (smart boards, ipads, inquiry-based group learning) that there’s no time for the basics.

  127. Elaine says:

    We found we needed to ‘give’ our son ‘permission’ to use his left hand because it wasn’t ‘right’ and he thought that you had to write with your right hand. Then for a long time when he was on his own he would use his left hand but if he was in a group situation he would use his right hand and would need a reminder that using his left was ok if he found it easier (and the teachers at nursery/school needed to recognise this prompt too). I think he still uses scissors in his right hand because he was ‘taught’ to use them that way!

  128. Shiraz E says:

    I remember in primary school at the age of 5 and 6 (so 1994 and 1995), the rare times I was allowed to have school dinner, I was constantly corrected using my cutlery. One teaching assistant would come and snatch the cutlery out of my hands and tell me to ‘hold them the right way’. She didn’t know I was left handed, but I couldn’t understand why she was being so aggressive when it was the way I had always held them. This needs to be addressed – I wouldn’t be surprised if this still happens. I still held them correctly, just not in the same hands as right-handers.

    However, in my new prep school when I was 9, the teacher identified that I and another left-handed girl needed to be seated at the end of our tables, to make sure our writing wasn’t constantly interrupted by knocking elbows. I really appreciated this (although it was a bit disappointing not being able to sit right next to my friends all the time). It did make things much easier. More teachers need to recognise the small needs of left-handed children, as these little changes could make a big difference.

  129. Frances Thesiger says:

    As a left-handed person with experience of both teaching and studying, I have a few other points to offer:

    1) If using student chairs with a writing tablet like this: http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=student+chairs+with+tablet&hl=en&rlz=1T4GGHP_en-GBTR419TR419&prmd=imvns&source=lnms&tbm=isch&ei=IXpoT5ecK-ek0AXvhKmBCQ&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=2&ved=0CFoQ_AUoAQ&biw=1366&bih=641 sufficient left-handed chairs must be provided.

    2) A left handed teacher cannot easily use a black/white board if it is positioned in the right-hand corner of a room.

    3) If desks are positioned in a “U” shape around the room, or even if in rows to an extent, left-handed students should take the seats on the left side of the classroom in order to be able to face the teacher/board and write notes easily.

    4) Left-handed rulers, protractors, slide rules etc must be provided for Maths and other relevant lessons.

    5) Some sports allow for different handedness – you can have a left-handed tennis racket, lacrosse stick and fencing foil but there is no such thing as a left-handed hockey stick – perhaps hockey should be discontinued or be optional.

    6) If students are taking part in cookery/domestic science lessons, appropriate equipment such as potato peelers, saucepans with a pouring lip etc should be provided for both left and right-handed students.

    These are just a few ideas, I’m sure there are many more areas to be considered.

  130. Tom Finochio says:

    I can remember my third grade teacher, litteraly tying my left hand to the desk, so I would be forced to use my right hand, I also recieved the strap numerous times for just being left handed. It’s gotta be better in the school system these days. keep up the good work!

  131. Susan says:

    While I am ambidextrous, my grandson is truly left-handed only. I bought his leftie scissors and a writing kit. What surprises me here – is that in his pre-k, expensive daycare, the teacher had not even noticed he was left-handed, until I told her and gave her the scissors. He starts kindergarten this Fall. Until I started to receive your emails, etc. I had no clue that there were ways to teach us to write and about the over/under way we hold our pens/pencils etc. As a start, would like to see more left handed awareness in schools so that these kids can have the proper tools to use in the classroom.

    Thanks for all you’re doing!

    Susan

  132. Carol Glynn says:

    I just wanted to share a couple of left-handed related experiences I had growing up. When I was 12 years old, my paternal grandmother taught me to crochet left-handed (even though she was right-handed) by sitting facing me so I would see it left-handed. It woked like a charm. I can still crochet to this day. I thought it was very clever of her. Second, when I was in third grade (approximately 1968) my teacher did not understand how left- handed people write and kept trying to tape my writing paper down with a right-handed slant (we were learning cursive – if that doesn’t date me …). And every time she would walk away or turn her back I would rip the paper and slant it the other way (to me the correct way) and continue writing. The way she had it taped, I would have had to write upside-down, no wonder so many left-handers look like they’re writing upside-down – they are. My brother is also left-handed. When he was learning to write he was attending a parocial (church based) grade school (probably early 1960′s) and they still believed at the time if you were left-handed there was somrthing “sinister” about being left-handed and it must be changed. So they forced him to switch to his right hand “for his own good”. Archaic catholics! His hand writing is still some of the worse I ever seen. Most of the time he prefers to print, he’s just not comfortable with cursive to this day. Thank the nuns for that.

  133. Sandra says:

    Yes, things for left handed children have to improve, but on a positive note in my lifetime (40yrs old) the improvements that have happened have to applauded.

    35/4yrs ago I was learning to write in the British miltary schools system & I will always remember at conversation I had with the teacher who’s name and gender I can’t remember. However, the conversation when something like this:-

    Teacher – “You are a very lucky girl, you are on of the first children to be ‘allowed’ to write with their left hand!”
    Me – I started laughing at which point the teacher demanded to know why I was laughing, so I explained as only a young child can “You make me use me right hand & my Daddy smash your teeth in”.

    To me at the time it was as simple as that, now people are proud of being left handed. Instead of left handed knifes, pens, scissors etc being ‘specialist’ items that cost a small fortune they are more main stream. Lefties no longer have to make do using right handed equipment or hide the fact, feel ashamed that they are lefties.

    I would like to think that in the next few years we will be able to simply walk into shops & be offered left or right handed equipment as a matter of course. Just as we are able to chose a size or colour of items now. Having two American presidents out of the last three who are lefties might help towards that goal – maybe :-).

  134. Mohamed Tawfic Ahmed says:

    This is a very interesting atricle and it gives real message for the special needs of left handed children. it also brings to focus the need to educate teachers on how to deal with their left handed pupils. These information should be dissimenated and also mainstreamed in schools at all levels.

    Mohamed Tawfic Ahmed
    Professor, Suez Canal University, Egypt

  135. Ahsan Zafar says:

    Im a recent business graduate and help a girl with her O-Level Studies in my neighbourhood during my time off from work. She’s an intelligent student, but like many teenagers of her age, she has some self confidence issues which haunt her especially during exams and question answer sessions. I was surprised (somewhat horrified) to find out that she was originally a left-hander but as a child she was forced to switch to her right hand due to obscure social and relegious beliefs of her parents. i’ve read about the adverse effects of such practices but could it be that her shyness in class and panic in exams could be a result of being forced to switch hands?

  136. Julie Jackson says:

    We are an usual family in that only my husband is right handed. I had the same conversation with early years teachers for each child (now age 24, 17 and 15). Teacher ‘I can’t get him/her to leave a finger space between words’ Me ‘well you try doing it when writing with your left hand’ Teacher tries, then with look of amazment on face ‘oh it isn’t really possible is it’.
    Perhaps teachers especially EYFS should actually spend some time being left-handed to understand some of the problems these youngsters face.

  137. Pat Story says:

    I am a left-hander. Did my student teaching in 1973-74 as a Health & PE teacher. I always demonstrated doing activities as a left hander, but always took the time (and effort) to show same activity as a right hander. My advisor pretty much told me it was a waste of time (shame on her!) In school, remember having to “reverse” in my mind what my right handed teacher demonstrated to me; PE was always my FAVORITE subject although took more effort. Fortunately, noone ever tried to force me to be right handed; however, I have had right handers smack my hands when I worked in a bank because it bothered them to watch me! Being left handed has been quite a challenge, but don’t really desire to make a change. Even though I golf and can’t share clubs with my colleagues! Being left handed makes us unique and more intersting…and I think smarter and more creative!

  138. A.Ahamed says:

    I need more guidlines regarding this, because my son also using lefthand for writting and other some works

  139. Erin Clark says:

    As a teacher trained and working in Virginia in the U.S., I have never seen any special accomodations or considerations made for left-handed students. The idea that classroom tools, including scissors, are “universal” for use by all students is prevalent. I myself was completely unaware of the difference simple accomodations can make until my daughter, who has a very strong left-handed preference, was having trouble learning to form the alphabet and numbers in preparation for kindergarten this year. She quickly began to excel in these areas, however, when I did a bit of research to become a better teacher for her and bought her some left-handed scissors. I have helped make her teacher (a truly fantastic teacher with 30+ years experience!) aware of some strategies for helping left-handers be as successful as they can be!

    On another note, I am a voice over artist as well as a teacher, and I’d like to offer my services for the production of your awareness campaign at a discounted price. Please see my website if you’d like to know – and hear – more: http://www.erinclarkvoice.com.

    Thank you for helping me become a better teacher and parent to lefties! I love my lefty!
    Erin.

  140. bashilova says:

    I have a little news for all: you can become a left-handed. My son after the accident, was left-handed. The right eye is almost blind, right arm and leg bad move, barely moving. The son learned to walk again. The left hand began to work instead of the right. This happened in three months. He is now slowly recovering, but the left hand has become a major.

    • Michelle says:

      Yes, when the need arises, which extensive occupational therapy, anyone can learn to use the uninjured or remaining hand, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to switch otherwise. That’s why I spent my entire senior year of high school (1985-1986) exempt from writing anything other than my signature while I still had a sliver of metal lodged into the digital nerve of my left hand (and had to wait until the summer for surgery). Sure, they tried to have me write right-handed, but – try as I might, I could not get my letters to not go right on top of each other.

  141. Ginny Carter says:

    My own experience of having a left handed child at primary school, is that although basic equipment such as left handed scissors is provided, little attention is paid to establishing good writing practices for left handers. This may well be the case for right handers too, but left handers often need special attention to make sure that they are holding pencils in the right grip and positioning the paper in the right way. This does not happen in my experience.

  142. Chris Hall says:

    I was constantly having my writing book “straightened” so that I had to write with my hand smudging the words I had written. I write with my book/paper sideways to write toward myself. Teachers should be made aware that whatever the position of the book there is no “right” way, only the comfortable way. To top it all, I got marked down on occasion for scruffy writing.

  143. POOJA JAIN says:

    Left – handers believes on Demo, if you tell a thing like ” X exists” they need a prove that X really exists or
    if you say that you give a force, they need to know that how you give a force,
    this is my personal experience that I catch things very quickly when I see them, I can’t by heart it if some teacher says.

    I also think that, when you write a answer, lefty ans a questions to the point, what is been asked, they don’t like to make a story of the answer, telling about its past, etc. but according to a teacher a answer is complete if you write, how it came to existence etc etc, this could also be a matter to see upon.

    And lastly, you all are doing a great work, keep going, I AM PROUD TO BE LEFTY!!!! :-)

    • SUSHANT says:

      POOJA,
      I AGREE WITH U AS I ALSO EXPERIANCE the same thing i.e. am also lefty and i also feel proud on it. now one thing that every lefty have potential, the only thing make differance is understnding/analising ourself for which ciub help us…..
      thnk u ………

  144. Linda S Graham says:

    I AM left-handed and I was a teacher for quite a few years, although not to primary grades children. However, I did have a left-handed child of my own. Schools are not designed to aid the lefties. We even have desks that have right arm rests but not left, although those are slowly disappearing. As a youngster myself the only class I ever failed was penmanship because the teacher didn’t know what to do with me. I was never taught to use left-handed scissors and now I can’t use them but I did make sure they were available for my child and for kids at school who needed them. Computers are a blessing for lefties, as we no longer smear clear across a page when writing, but it still happens in classes.

  145. K Newrith says:

    I found this in College and even now when i go to courses as a grown-up
    i do not know what there called but there chairs with a table attached and everysingle one is for a right handed person in fact i dont think i have ever seen a left handed ones which mean i have to write either on my lap or find a table a proper one

    • Adam says:

      I am a university lecturer, and being mainly left handed (writing & knife holding, but most other functions right handed) am very conscious of the issue that K Newrith raises – that of right hand only attached tables to chairs. I got my classes to raise this as a complaint through the official channels and now left handed variants are being supplied in small numbers to rooms. The chair covers are usually of a different colour as well allowing for easy of recognition.