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Left Handers Club Newsletter – November 2010

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In this issue..

1. The effect of changing hands
2. Newsletters – How much and how often?
3. New left handed pen sets available
4. Left handed pencils back and now in sets of 10
5. Subscribe to comments problems
6. Twitter – What's it all about!
7. iPhone 4 signal problems for lefthanders and survey on preferred phone hand


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1. The effect of changing hands – feedback

Wow – this was a topic that generated a lot of interest. We have had over 180 comments left on the article and more than 25,000 words written by members about their experiences. Here are a few extracts to give you a good flavour of the typical feedback:

  • Child writing left-handedAs a child I was forced to sit by myself when taking tests, because the teacher thought that I would cheat because I was left handed; that was after she tried on several occasions to put the pen in my right hand. Plus, I was told to turn my paper a certain way that did not work for me. Am sure the experience has left my scarred in some way or another. I felt ashamed that my teacher would think that I would cheat after spending hours learning my vocabulary words. And I became a shy little girl that did not often raise her hand, because to write on the chalkboard because everyone would see that I was different.
  • My grandfather was left-handed and was forced to write right-handed as a child. He had a bad stutter. Then he got polio and his right hand was crippled. He was allowed to write left-handed and lost his stutter.
  • This is a long one but is a great example of exactly what we were talking about in our original article and I guess a lot of people have had similar experiences, though maybe not quite as pronounced. Our thanks to Alan MG for sharing

    From the age of 5 to the age of 26 I considered my self right handed and right footed and right eye dominant, but I suffered very bad symptoms which were detrimental to my learning through all those years. (including poor concentration, poor memory recall, reading difficulties and a very neurotic personality and physical tiredness) After visiting a family doctor when I was 19 and getting no diagnosis or cure I began what was to become 7 years of searching for the cause , I finally found out by chance discovery it was because of misuse of my co-ordination and that I should be doing everything left handed and left footed, and even the muscles on my face had been affected causing me to find it difficult to smile properly etc. With a theoretical understanding of the cause of the symptoms now gained, I proceeded to use my left hand for everything and walk to my left foot with a realization that this must never stop if I wanted to recover. Gradually the symptoms went away. Handwriting with the subordinate hand, all my life up to then had been the main inducer of the symptoms, possibly because of the levels of concentration and dexterity required for handwriting. Muscular imbalance and force of habit had disguised my natural tendency to the left. It was just as important to reduce use of my right hand and right foot, as it was to transfer duties to my left hand and left foot to enable recovery.

    Recovery took me many years partly because of my age(26 at the time, I am now 48), the duration and intensity of the symptoms suffered and the disruption in social interaction during what should have been my formative years. Basically having to learn many things that the neurosis induced had stopped me learning
    Now I can get on with people a lot better, and be a much more efficient worker and am a lot happier.
    The cause of the symptoms was much more difficult for me to find as I had retained no memory of being coerced into writing with my right hand at school in 1967 when I was 5 years old. It must have happened from bigotry in the school system in my country (Scotland) at the time because my parents never showed any attitude towards handedness ever.

There are many more stories like his and we would like to thank all members who have shared their experiences and hope they help others realise that “it is not just them”.

Barbara Sattler with Keith and LaurenAlan referred to some research by Dr Barbara Sattler, who we have mentioned before and who Keith and Lauren went to meet in Luxembourg not long ago to give a presentation (seen on the left in the picture, with us on the right). She has written a book and lots of research papers on this and there are some good links here (if a bit technical). Unfortunately the book is only available in German but this is a summary of what she has to say about the effects of forcibly changing a child's handedness…

Converting handedness does not result in a change in cerebral dominance but rather a multifaceted cerebral disturbance or damage. This can result in the following primary disorders:

  • disturbances in memory for all three areas of information processing (encoding, storage, and recall);
  • difficulty in concentration (early fatigue);
  • difficulty in reading and spelling
  • spatial disorientation (e.g. confusion of left and right);
  • speech problems ranging from stammering to stuttering;
  • fine motor disturbances evident in writing and other activities requiring precision.

The primary consequences can then go on and transform into secondary consequences:

  • feelings of inferiority;
  • shyness; introversion; overcompensation;
  • defiance to belligerence; braggadocio; provocative behavior;
  • bed-wetting;
  • nail-biting;
  • emotional problems that can last into adulthood with neurotic and/or psychosomatic symptomology; and personality disturbances

So basically – if you are thinking of making a left-handed child write right-handed, DON'T DO IT!

You can use this link to see all the comments for yourself or add your own feedback.

Or use this link to add any comments to this new article and update

2. How much and how often?

lhc newslettersThank you to everyone who took the time to complete our survey on the newsletter content and frequency. We received 417 responses in total and this is what you thought:

  • 83% thought that the current frequency of one newsletter per month was best
  • 87% thought that the current content of 6 to 8 articles was right
  • 60% thought that we should continue to show the full articles in the email body, while 39% thought we should have article summaries with links to the full article online. Only 2 people thought we should produce the newsletter as just a list of links to articles.

There is pretty clear consensus that you want us to keep things as they are so that is what we will do! We generally try to keep the articles in the email newsletter fairly short anyway and provide a link to the full article online if it is a long one, so hopefully we are pleasing most of the people most of the time.

We received some lovely comments and also some useful suggestions.
Full list of comments received
Full list of suggestions for topics to cover (please add yours as comments on that page)

3. New left-handed pen sets available

We have just received a delivery of our left-handed cartridge pens from the German manufacturer and for the first time they have produced us a set with the left-handed nib and also a matching ball-point pen in a nice storage box.

Left handed pen set

This smooth-writing cartridge pen with a specially made left-handed nib writes very smoothly and is seen here with a matching ballpoint pen, both in a stylish silver coloured tube for presentation as a gift and future storage. The cartridge pen comes with a fully left-handed Iridium nib and has a plastic body finished with a metallic lacquer. It has a screw cap so it will not come off in your pocket or bag. The ball-point pen is operated by pressing down on the cap and is supplied with a fine tip and blue ink and will take standard ball-point refill cartridges.

The two pens in their silver tube are supplied in a protective outer box that includes a small note explaining that the cartridge pen is fully left-handed. The sets come with either silver pen / ballpoint or black pen / ball-point and the cartridge pens in either colour are also available on their own. The individual pens come in a flip top clear plastic protective box – see photos on our website. We have limited stocks of these and will not be able to get more until after Christmas so if you want them as a gift please get in quick to avoid disappointment.

Click here to order the pen sets ( £26.95 / $43.36)
Click here to order the individual cartridge pens ( £16.95 / $27.77)

4. Left handed pencils back in sets of 10

Left handed pencil

Some years ago we got fed up with the fact that all pencils are printed for right-handers and if you hold them in your left hand the slogan or other printing is upside down. We have found a manufacturer who can produce pencils for us with our own custom print, and printed the correct way round for left-handers. The slogan on our pencils reads:

It's a left-handed thing…
You wouldn't understand

This is aimed at the right-handers who pick up YOUR pencil and are confused by the printing being “upside down”.

Use this link to see our short video explaining the left-handed pencils and order your own

5. Subscribe to comments

We set up a system a while back to allow members to subscribe to comments on our articles so that you would get an email advising of any new comments posted.on that particular article. This was great but led to problems as the plugin was not compatible with recent version of WordPress that use for our blog and the subscription manager was not working so you could not unsubscribe and kept getting more comment emails.

Please accept our apologies if you were inconvenienced by this and we have now disabled that service and cancelled all subscriptions so you will not get any more comment update emails. We have spent many hours trying to get a replacement service working but without success so far – if there are any WordPress experts out there please can you recommend the best way to handle this?

Use this link to send a direct message to Keith

6. Twitter – What's it all about?

Follow LeftHandersClub on Twitter

Twitter now has over 175 Million subscribers and receives over 100 Million Tweets per day and it has become an great way to keep up with what is going on with other people and organisations you are interested in. Basically, you can make “mini-posts” of up to 140 characters called Tweets to update the world on what you are up to and anything important that has happened – in the case of LeftHandersClub we use it to announce any new articles or products on our website and interesting bits of news related to left-handedness.

LeftHandersClub TweetOnce you have opened a free account, you can “follow” other subscribers and whenever they make a post you will immediately see it in your Twitter feed on your computer, mobile phone or emails depending how you want it set up. There are lots of easy to use tools to help you reply to messages, either publicly or privately, and to pass on messages from others to your own followers. If you follow LeftHandersClub you will be the first to know about anything we do and any new products and special offers and our Tweets typically include a shortened link to the appropriate page on our own website..

If you already have a Twitter account, great and please follow LeftHandersClub. If not, you are missing out on quite a lot of fun so why not give it a go – make LeftHandersClub the first one you follow.
Use this link to see our feed and click the “Sign Up” button to get started

Once you are set up and have some people following you, please send out a Tweet to let other know about us – something like this:

Follow LeftHandersClub on Twitter for the latest left-handed news, products, offers and fun – please ReTweet to tell the world's lefthanders

and feel free to reply or ReTweet any of our own messages so that all your followers can see them as well – just click the actions links under any of our messages while you are logged in.

Join in the fun and let us know how you get on by posting a comment on this article here

7. iPhone 4 signal problems and phone hand use

Steve Jobs using iphone 4 left handedThe picture shows Steve Jobs of Apple demonstrating how to hold your iPhone 4 if you are left-handed! Our article on the iPhone 4 prompted a lot of response. Out of nearly 1,000 left-handers who voted in our poll, 70% say they hold their phone in their left hand (which is exactly the same percentage of left-handers who said they had a dominant left ear in a previous survey). That does seem to be the main factor, with a lot of people saying they hold the phone left hand to left ear but change hands and hold it right hand to left ear if they have to write something.

It also seems to be pretty common to hold the phone in the right hand when actually dialling or entering any sort of information using the keys or screen – we prefer to use our more accurate left index finger to do the work. This may have distorted the vote a bit, with some people voting for the hand they use to hold the phone when texting rather than when actually speaking and listening.

And it is not just iPhones that have problems, LaRue Wunderlich says: I have a Blackberry Storm. The cradle it sits in to charge is right-handed, therefore when I pick it out of it’s cradle to answer it, it is upside down. I have to turn it 180 degrees in order to answer it. Not good if one needs to answer quickly.

We have not got a definitive answer on the left-handed designers of the original Apple Macintosh computer yet, but we are told that Burrell Smith was the team leader and we should take a look at a 1985 BBC2 Horizon programme, Professor Norman Geschwind Mystery of the Left Hand”

We have also been advised (by a Twitter reply from Pierluigi to our original tweet on the article!) that the GNU / Linux Operating system software gurus are also lefties. If anyone know more about this please let us know.



That's all for this month – we will be in touch again soon

Best wishes

Keith & Lauren

and all at the Left Handers Club

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18 comments on “LHC NL November 2010
  1. Mike, UK and Canada says:

    Reading the various articles has spurred me to write with an observation of my own.
    If you got to a restaurant and look around you, you will notice that the place settings have the fork on the left and knife on the right. You will also notice most people eating using this arrangement, myself included.
    My observation is that as a left-hander, I use the fork in my most dextrous hand – the left. The knife which is used only for the menial act of cutting remains in the right hand. Now to watch my right-handed family members using their cutlery the same as me makes me wonder if most people eat “left-handedly” because surely the most dextrous hand for a righty is their right hand?
    And on the subject of cutlery, I cannot use a spoon in my right hand at all! For example, when pouring a measure of Buckleys decongestant I want to pour with my strong hand AND hold the spoon with it too, meaning that I struggle holding the spoon in my right hand without spilling anything…
    Hopefully this hasn’t confused too many people!

  2. G6JPG says:

    Something to consider for future newsletters: looking at your pencils, it occurred to me to wonder if there’s any handedness about the lettering on book spines (and box folder labels, and anything like that) – from the top or from the bottom? I’ve seen both (in book lettering 0 not sure about labels), though from the top is commoner – but then with a closed book lying flat on the table, front cover upwards, top start does make it read right, so there is that to it too.

  3. Trevor says:

    I am left handed so is my wife, both children are right.
    My sister is right but eats left handed
    I eat right handed,

    • Phyllis says:

      Funny how handedness comes out in children. Both you and your wife are left handed and your children are right handed. I’m the opposite. Both my parents were right handed and my sister and I are left handed. When I was a baby my mother would put the spoon in my right hand and I’d move it to my left. After a while she just figured I was left handed (runs on both sides of my family).

  4. Helen Riley says:


    just an idea. I was hoping to buy manicure scissors but see that all your scissors are pointy. I need these to cut my baby and toddlers nails as the ordinary ones are not easy to see the cut. It maybe a nice idea to add baby manicure scissors to your products as I’m sure there are a lot of leftys like me with little ones.

    Many thanks, Helen.

    • Ben says:

      I ve altcaluy adapted to use right hand scissors, i had no choice as the lefty ones in school were almost always crappy. I use the mouse right handed too. I spend more time adapting where i can, which saves time instead of forcing the equipment to adapt to me. That might be where the idea that lefties are more flexible mentally come from.So i’m mildly ambidextrous that way, but i can’t write with my right hand to save my life. It looks like my grade school handwriting before it got decent. But almost everything else is primarily left handed.

  5. Lexa says:

    This is a little long winded, so I appologise in advance lol

    This newsletter is really informative and it’s fun reading all the comments. I’m glad I’m not the only one finding living in a right-handed world difficult! All my life I have lived in a right handed house, where everything is on the right, and I have had to use my right hand for everything. Even something as basic as putting the kettle back the “right” way – and it doesn’t help left-handers feel “normal” when little things cause others to pick on you – especially family.

    I even eat right handed (I know holding my fork in the left hand is the right way of eating (haha) but I do I find it more comfortable this way).

    I know my mother’s brother is left-handed, but since I’ve never met him, I don’t have anyone in my family I can talk to about the difficulties I face.

    I can see now how making yourself (or being forced to) use your right hand for things you should be using your left-hand for, can have adverse affects in other areas.

    I have found that whenever I get sick of moving everything around to accomodate my left handedness and use my right hand, my hand writing suffers – it has never been very good to begin with, but it does get better if I use my left hand more often for different things like making tea or what have you.

    It’s hard for people living in a right-handed household, and even more living in a right-handed world.

    Thanks for making me feel not so abnormal 😉
    ~Lexa – UK

  6. Nwadiaro Emeka says:

    I am left handed but was forced to
    use the right.I only use it to write, eat sometimes, but still use my left hand to do an other thing with my left hand. The implication of this change is that it weakened my calculation ability on paper. when ever am asked to carry out anything mathematics on paper, I fail woefully, but can tell you for example I can tell you off heart when a motor car can get to its destination, given by the speed, and the traffic jam on the way, and it will be so right, but so wrong on paper.

  7. nosa idele says:

    my girlfriend is righthanded but she doesn’t know i’m lefthanded.we’ve been together for 2yrs now.i’ve decided to learn using righthand to do virtually everything,but i’m not too ok with it. i love her very much. please what do i do?

  8. Ron Josey says:

    Left Handers.

    Improvise, Adapt, Overcome. We are in general better and smarter than the majority of right handed people because we have learned the first three words of this paragraph at a very young age. I have included below only a few of the adaptations I have learned.
    I started playing baseball catching the ball while holding my glove made for the left hand on the left hand, quickly taking the glove off of the left hand and throwing the ball with my left hand. It did not take very long to figure out that I could wear the glove on my right hand with very little improvising. this was back in the early 1960’s. A right hand wearing glove was not heard of. When I started playing hockey around the same time there were only two choices for a hockey stick. One with a little bit of a bend to the left (made for a person who shoots right), the other straight with a bevel made for a person that shoots right. This obstacle too was easy to overcome.
    When I started to play golf in my mid teens left handed golf clubs were very rare with the exception of the cheapest of sets. Instruction manuals for left handers were to put it simply, not made. I used to read the books over first and every place where reference was made to a right hand position, grip , ETC, I whited it out and replaced it with left hand comments. When I wanted to watch a right handed instructor in any of the sports I played it was very easy to pick up the skills because I just mirror imaged the right hander. They on the other hand had a hard time adapting.
    When I had taken my Instructor courses in Rappelling / High Angle Rescue it was very easy again to mirror the instructors and course materials written for right handers. When I instructed in Firearms, again it was very easy for me to adapt to a so-called right handed way of Instructing and weapons while maintaining my left handed ways. I would not left them change over the firearms because it was easier for me to use the so-called right hand firearms than it was for the right handers.
    So, relish the fact of life that you are left handed. Right handers are envious of us.

    Left Handed and proud to be!

  9. Eibhlín says:

    I’ve always been a proud ciotóg and thankfully I have never had any problems with being forced to use my right hand.

    I’d like to mention that I have found it most annoying to see that many banks have recently installed new ATM machines, which are extremely right-handed oriented. Not only is the slot for inserting your bank card on the right hand side of the machine, but they now have a lip that juts out, curving towards the right, making it even more awkward for left-handed people to use.

    Thanks for all the great work, you’ve always got very interesting articles.

    Eibhlín, Ireland.

    • Phyllis says:

      Here in the US most of the stores have credit card machines that are right handed (where you have to swipe your card). I find this extremely annoying and inconvenient. I will use my left hand anyway and it’s awkward. Don’t understand why they can’t all be the same and swipe on the top.

      • JC says:

        @ Phyllis – I agree!! a left-handed person has to almost contort themselves to slide their card. And have you ever found yourself explaining to the checkout clerk who is attempting to slide your card, that you’re left handed and that maybe they should slide your card ‘backwards’, because ‘the card is used to being used by a left hander’?

  10. LaVerne Rose says:

    Thanks for the wonderful information provided as a result of the survey of left-handed people. I am one of many lefties in my extended family as well. As a child I was often slapped on the hand with a ruler by my teachers in order to force me to use my right hand. It never worked, and finally they gave up. To please them I practiced my handwriting everyday; as a result I have excellent penmanship in print and cursive.

    My mother took someone’s advice and enrolled me in piano classes to get rid of left handedness. I excelled in piano, but it didn’t change my handedness. I was also ridiculed by fellow students and friends who thought something was wrong with me.

    Keep up the good work!

  11. john bunning says:

    we have 9 in our family .being left handed has never been a problem to me .just get on with it .

  12. sandra says:

    The newsletter is great. I have enjoyed reading the results of the survey. I was impressed by the stories about people stuttering after being forced to use their right hands and the fact that the stuttering went away after reverting to using the left hand.
    My uncle, who sometimes used his left hand is a good example because he had a bit of a stutter too. I remember seeing him use his left hand and being surprised because up until that point I was the only person in my family that was left handed. This is all so interesting. It was very good to see the possible affects of forced right handedness.
    Thanks so much for the newsletters.
    Sandra / USA

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