Living Left-Handed

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Aug 13, 2010

Being left-handed in a right-handed world remains a challenge for those affected– especially  children. Everything from their school supplies to tying shoes can be difficult. spoke with Lucia Howard, Partner and Website Manager of Lefty’s, an online resource and store for all things left-handed, about the obstacles left-handers have to overcome.

What are some of the common myths about being left-handed?

Lefties have throughout history often been seen as evil, bad, associated with the devil. They have been burned as witches, and viewed with suspicion. More recently, they have been thought of as clumsy, and sometimes a little “slow”.

Lefties are in fact better coordinated than righties, as they have to use their right hand as well as their left. They have better reflexes for activities involving hand eye motor coordination like pitching a baseball. They are often highly intelligent, creative, and able to master complicated strategies.  Important military figures such as Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Julius Caesar were lefties, as were 5 of the last 7 United States presidents.

What are some challenges that left-handed children might encounter?

The most significant challenge is learning to write and cut, developing fine motor skills at the beginning of their school careers. Right-handed scissors just don’t work as the blade can’t be seen when held in the left hand.  Right-handed parents should just try it. Pens and pencils are hard to grip, and smear unless the hand position is hooked, which is painful, difficult, and leads to hand cramping.

Are left-handed children at a disadvantage?

Yes, because they have a harder time developing these basic skills so they do not develop confidence at a young age, and may dislike school. Things seem stacked against them, from right-handed school desks to notebooks that open the wrong way.

What advice/tips do you have for parents dealing with a left-handed child?

Parents should read the book “Your Left-Handed Child” by Laura Milsom (available on our website, among other places). They should make sure the school supplies left-handed scissors, and, if not, they should make sure their child has a pair. They should talk with the child’s teachers, and make sure they understand how to work with lefties, especially in K-3rd grades. And they should get their kids a basic lefty survival kit of pencils, pens, notebooks, and a ruler which work well for lefties.

What are some examples of products that are not generally made for left-handed children?

Aside from scissors, the most important is probably the pen. We sell several types which have a left-handed grip (Yoropens, Yoropencils, and stabilos) and fast drying ink which won’t smear when the hand goes over the written material. The Yoropens and Yoropencils have a great hooked design which allows lefties to see what they are writing. We also sell left-handed rules which read from right to left, allowing lefties to learn to measure easily.

For more information and resources for left-handed children:

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