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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 7:59 pm 
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OK, a bit of background. I have 3 children and the older 2 are left-handed.
The youngest one showed all signs of being so too as a baby/toddler and sucked his left thumb almost constantly. I thought that children sucked the dominant hand usually. He used to take it out of his mouth to pick things up, and fed himself with the left hand. He gave up thumb-sucking at 6 - his dad is a dentist and DS was aware of the potential tooth issues. By this time of course my son had already started school and learned to write, of a fashion. With his right hand. Initially he wrote with one hand and sucked his thumb with the other - he hated school to start with and I think it was comfort for him :cry: .

His writing has always been very poor for his age and presentation of his work is a constant issue. He can't write quickly. Tonight he has said that he has always felt he should be left-handed (he does lots of things with his left hand) but has tried to switch and can't write neatly with his left hand either as it is too slow. He is a bit sad and mixed up about it. He says his left hand 'feels' better - which to me is an indication of hand dominance.

I am not sure what to do. Does anyone have any experience of trying to change handedness; or does anyone know if there is a window of opportunity to do it in? DS is just 12. My own father was born left-handed and was made to change as it was the convention then - he never wrote neatly with either hand. I was ambidextrous and I have 2/3 leftie children so the inheritance is there, though I know the genetic linkage is weak. The only issue really is that my son is being judged on poor presentation at school and it now seems as if just maybe he really can't help it.

Any advice would be gratefully received. I would take him to a 'specialist' if such things exist and if it might help him.


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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 8:17 pm 
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A good paediatric OT may be able to help. There are ones that also specialise in handwriting as well as all the underlying issues.

I had my dd2 assessed by an OT because she finds handwriting fatiguing. You can easily see she has the wrong posture, and her arm, wrist, hand and fingers are badly positioned too. There are underlying issues which the right exercise programme will supposedly help, as well as using a writing slope and posture cushion. School will not speak to the OT which does not help, even though I am not wanting them to do anything or pay for anything.

I need to find the time to do the exercise programme with her, but alongside full time school that is not easy.


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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 8:57 pm 
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One of my sons is left handed dominant, but writes with his right hand. When he was younger he held a colouring pencil in both hands and if he was colouring the right hand side of his book would colour with his right hand, and use his left hand for the left side. His reception teacher encouraged him to write with his right hand as it is ultimately easier in many ways for right handers.

At the age of 5 or 6 he did a 10 week course of mini tennis lessons and used his right hand. He said he would rather play with his left so the tennis coach 'tested' him by asking him to place a number of balls onto cones. this he did using just one hand and the coach told me he was right handed as that was the hand he used every time. However, when he picked up each ball off the cone to put them back into the basket, he used just his left hand and totally confused everyone.

As the years have gone by he 'feels' comfortable using his left hand to play tennis, his right for rounders and cricket. He bowls with his left and throws mainly with his left but sometimes with his right. He kicks a ball with his left foot, eats like a right hander, with his knife in the right hand, scooters on the opposite side to all his right handed mates and gets on and off bikes like a left hander. When he broke his right arm, at the age of 8, the teacher promised him a computer to type his work on. However, when she saw him write with his left, albeit slowly at first and not very neatly, he didn't get a computer. As the weeks went by he got quicker and neater - I put it down to practice but I also realise that his right handed brother could never write with his left hand.

Over the years, he has sometimes looked awkward in his sport because of being left handed sometimes, but I have always suggested he tries both hands at everything he attempts to see if it feels right. He normally picks the hand which looks the most awkward but feels right.

I can't directly help you with your situation, but share my son's experience. I don't know whether he is truly ambidextrous or whether he, being forced to used his right hand early on, has meant he tries to revert to his natural left handedness when he can. His writing has gone from very neat in year 6 to not neat at all in year 8 but I have put this down to how quick he has to write now and how much he has to write. He didnt write for 2 weeks over Easter and on his first day back at school, said how hard it had been to get back into writing in the morning. My son is now 13.

Best wishes


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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 9:15 pm 
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Location: Reading
Practise. If you both have the patience, he will get there.
I'm 'confused' and do some things with my left some with my right and some I can do with both. I'm also dyslexic and apparently it's not uncommon for dyslexics to be 'confused'. These days I make more of an effort to use both. I write right handed but can write left handed but not as good (though most would say my writing is rubbish regardless :roll: ) I suspect if I made the effort my left would be better.
DH is also 'confused' but tends to be more right than left. DD is right handed, but occasionally will use her left, usually when throwing bread to the ducks for some reason.

My sister is left handed and sucked her left thumb. When she started school writing with her left was what cured her of thumb sucking. She couldn't suck her thumb and write at the same time.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 7:20 am 
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Hi Amber children with dyspraxia can have issues with hand dominance - my son has been assessed with Dyspraxia by a specialist OT at the Dyscovery Centre, run by Professor Amanda Kirby University Of South Wales Newport. I started by filling out the questionannaires on the website: http://www.newport.ac.uk/research/resea ... dults.aspx and then realising there was enough I wanted advice about to pay for the chat with an ed psych who then recommended a full OT assessment. I believe it can be possible to get an NHS referral.

Interestingly enough the diagnosis has then lead to me to realise my joint problems were due to hypermobility and me being diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome hypermobility type and DS may also have this - so has now been referred to a paediatric rheumatologist


Last edited by DC17C on Sat May 25, 2013 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 8:39 am 
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Interesting. I have a husband and son who write with their left hand and play many sports with their right. Son swaps hand in tennis to play backhand?

DH says Nadal is right-handed but his uncle (coach) made him learn tennis as a left-hander as it is an advantage. This would suggest that practise is the way to go?


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 9:14 am 
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I did fencing briefly at university and made the conscious decision to do it left handed. No one ever wanted to be partnered with me as it was more difficult against a lefty.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 10:58 am 
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How depressing to simply be judged on presentation - that is a throw back to 'the good old days' of education!

I'm afraid I don't agree with Tinkers to practice endlessly to improve. My dyspraxic DS must have done almost every handwriting scheme and had to redo loads of work both at primary and at the start of secondary. The most useful was not like a handwriting scheme and annoyingly I can't find it, so can't advise. But I bought and did it myself and use some of it with anyone who appears a bit dyspraxic in my class. It involved lots of big movements, paint, water etc, but very little actual writing.

He was diagnosed by an educational psychologist - I always steer clear of private groups, as I meet parents almost weekly who have had their child assessed as this, that and the other by companies with dubious professional credentials, but plenty of private tutoring to help. Just my opinion obviously.

He gets 25% extra time in exams and use of a laptop. Just a word of warning - he had to get a standardised score of <80. His handwriting is no better than when he was in reception and very slow. He is right handed.

My DD has to use her non-dominant hand due to disability. She has to be a leftie. I have worked hard to get her to sit properly, hold the pencil properly and form letters properly. She has lovely writing, but is painfully slow and is one of the few not allowed to use pen in her class - harsh. She doesn't appear to have as many problems as dyspraxic DS.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 11:14 am 
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Location: Reading
I agree that practise won't help if there's an underlying issue.

However from what Amber has said, the issue with her DS is that he thinks he is using the wrong hand to start with. Using what he feels is the correct hand may help and he will probably improve with practise, unless there are other issues. Going from using the 'wrong' hand to using the correct hand (as Amber's DS is wanting to do) is possibly an easier adjustment than going the other way (as Wonderwoman's DD is doing).

There's also an effect on how dominant the dominant side is. If, as in my case, neither side is really dominant over the over, it is probably much easier to swap. However if one side is very dominant over the other, then it is probably much more difficult to learn to do something with the non dominant side.


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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 11:31 am 
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Hi Amber,
DD1 has awful writing! Primary school standard? I'm sure there are infants with neater writing.

She is left-handed but didn't 'decide' until she was nearly five years old. She would use both, but mostly left, (75:25) up to that age. She uses left for everything now, keyboard mouse, sport etc.

Thankfully, for my DD, we live in an age where IT is used for almost everything. The older your DS gets, the more he will use IT in his school work and his difficulties with 'hand-writing' will become less openly evident. Laptops can be used for GCSE's an beyond if there is a proven need. In Uni, DD has had a 'note-taker' in most lectures - her writing really is that bad. It's not stopped DD being highly regarded by her tutors for her quality of work. Her main expertise / strength is her 'report writing skills' - all typed, naturally!

Either way, whether your DS attempts to switch or not, try to bear in mind the 'social model' vs 'medical model' - regarding disability. It's important for DS's self-esteem. Of course, DS may need help to 'neaten up' (medical - the problem is with him) but in addition, he also needs the social barriers removed (laptop / extra time / note-taker). Secondary school, with lots of hand-writing tasks, and teachers who 'think' medical model can make school life very painful and ridiculously hard. :cry:

I sometimes get utterly fed up reading that 'disability' problems can / must be resolved as if my DD is the one with the problem! Society is the problem, not my DD; her disability will be life-long! Thankfully her university has allowed her to thrive, using the social model. She is a capable physicist and highly regarded.

:D


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