Left-handedness once caused great excitement. It is estimated that about 15% of the population is left-handed. Such people do not have problems in everyday life, because nowadays in schools there is a great attention to their needs, such as more space to write. In earlier centuries, left-handedness was considered an aberration from normality, and during the Great Inquisition such people were sent to the stake. Let us find out where left-handedness comes from.

What determines left-handedness?

Left-handedness results from genetic predisposition. In the case of left-handed parents the probability of its occurrence in a child reaches as much as 46%. During fetal life we develop various characteristics, including whether we will be right- or left-handed. Left-handedness can already be observed in unborn children, who are more likely to operate with their left hand. This is due to the fact that during brain formation in left-handed children the right hemisphere of the brain develops much faster. The opposite is true for right-handed people – it is the left hemisphere of the brain that is more strongly developed. Later diagnosis as to left-handedness takes place after birth. The child between the third and sixth month of life begins to learn to grasp objects. At this time it can already be observed whether the infant grasps toys with the left or the right hand. Hand choice becomes more conscious and less spontaneous. The child notices that the left hand is much more efficient. The Annett Questionnaire and the Oldfield Questionnaire are also used to later diagnose left-handedness, and tests are performed that examine hand dexterity. The tests also show which hand is more likely to be chosen spontaneously.

Our left-handedness or right-handedness cannot be influenced. We can only improve both hands at a later age through manual exercises. In spite of this, it will still be apparent in everyday work which hand is the better one.

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How can you help a left-handed child?

If you notice that your child is more willing to work with his left hand, you should not forcefully encourage him to use his right hand. Some instruments, such as scissors or specially designed pens, will allow the child to manoeuvre them much more easily in spite of being left-handed. Children can easily draw or cut out shapes with them. It is also worth paying attention to whether the child has adequate space at school, as sitting in one desk with a right-handed friend may significantly worsen their learning comfort. It’s worth talking to the teachers about whether our child has the right conditions. The child should not be discouraged from writing or operating with other hand than the left one. In order to develop the right shape of writing, so that it is legible, it is worth encouraging the child to practice writing at home. Thanks to this, the legibility of writing will not be affected by being left-handed. Left-handed children should also be more willing to use keyboards and mice adapted to them. This will help them learn to type faster. In the future, as an adult, they will certainly learn to type on a traditional keyboard, but in the initial stages of learning, it is worth thinking about such a facility for the youngest. You should make your child aware that being left-handed is nothing unusual. Some studies even claim that left-handed children grow up to be more creative and self-confident.

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