Write with the good hand! Not the left!!

Write with the good hand!        
Not the left!!
Photo by infralist-unsplash

Some years ago, I had a mum who brought her autistic non-verbal son (5 years old at that time) for an assessment. Mum was mainly concerned about the boy's handwriting. I checked on the pre-assessment questionnaires that the child is right-handed. All good.

One of the first tasks was for the child to colour a circle and a star and stay within the lines. I placed a pencil close to his reach, he picked it up with his left hand and started colouring. Mum was completing a form and did not realise this was happening.

When she looked at the table, she immediately interrupted the activity and prompted the child with a firm voice to swap hands by saying, "I've told you many times; We write with the good hand, Not the left!"

I was left speechless!

I am aware that hand dominance is not always well-established before the child enters primary school, but this was something different. (I’m not sure whether this is relevant, but the family held roots form Bangladesh).

I know what I saw. The boy throughout the assessment would use his left hand to catch or throw and left foot to kick a ball. He was not very comfortable with right-handed scissors, and I could clearly tell which hand he preferred.

The fact that he was very adaptable and showed no reluctance to his mum’s commands does not necessarily mean that he is ambidextrous.

His pencil control was below his age-expectations and after a lot of thought I had to write in the final assessment report that “He showed a left-side dominance although he has been practicing more on his right side”. The child also presented with delays in his basic life-skills such as dressing/undressing and toileting.

Approximately 90% of the world's population is right-handed. So, the world is basically designed to be efficient for right-handed people, which means that it may be inconvenient and uncomfortable for left-handed people. School desks and kits, kitchen implements, and tools ranging from simple scissors to hazardous machinery such as power saws need to be developed and designed for left handers.
Source: The 13th of August is #left handers day
A day to celebrate and support people who are left handed.

by Karen Garner, Director of Sensory Smart Child Therapies & Specialist Occupational Therapist

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