August 13 is observed as International Lefthanders Day and it is celebrated in honour of the innate uniqueness possessed by the left-handed people, worldwide. According to various studies, nearly ninety per cent of the global population are born right-handed, which means only a minor ten per cent have an inherently dominant left hand. International Lefthanders Day is aimed at raising awareness on the advantages, challenges of being lefthanded, in a world that is predominantly designed for the right-handers.
Living in the world of right-handers often causes challenges in the everyday life and productivity of a left-handed person, as most apparel and utilities, right from buttoned shirts to scissors are designed keeping the majority i.e. right-handed people in mind. Unfortunately, being left-handed people is still perceived as an oddity. In many parts of India, parents still try to impose the practice of using the right hand instead of the left, often reminding the child to change the habit of using the left hand. Doctors caution against changing the habit of using the left hand as it can lead to severe and irreparable consequences in their later years. Read on to know more.
Negative Effects Of Forcefully Changing Left-Handed Tendency In Children:
Parents as well as school teachers constantly telling a kid to use the other hand, whenever they pick up the ball from the playground or take out a pencil to write down notes, could cause persistent confusion in their minds. This could hamper with their memory, giving rise to a tendency of being a scatter-brain.
Being forced to switch hands for practically every activity, particularly eating and drinking, through the day leads to excessive stress in the neuronal cells in the brain of the child. This, in turn, causes them to feel tired and sleepy frequently, negatively affecting their studies as well as day-to-day productivity.
In many instances, left-handed people who were forced to use the right hand during childhood, find it difficult to speak coherently and fluently later in life as adults. They tend to develop stutters and even severe disorders like apraxia, aphasia and Tourette's syndrome and constantly encounter ordeals in pronouncing long or complex words.
Kids born with heightened right brain activity naturally have dominant left-handed characteristics. Hence, such children, on being forced to swap the pencil or pen from their left hand to their right hand to write, often do not know the right way to write and thus have very illegible handwriting. This affects their examination performances in school and college and even causes their colleagues to question their abilities at work.
Children who have been forcefully using their right hand, opposing their natural tendency to function with their left hand are predisposed to acquiring an introverted personality. They lack confidence in interacting with their peers and are often socially withdrawn at parties and family gatherings.
Ways To Eliminate The Stigma Associated With Left-Handed People:
Although International Lefthanders Day is earmarked to recognize the distinctive traits of left-handed people, they are still viewed in a negative light in many countries today. Reasons for this vary from ancient religious beliefs to historical events and even social taboos.
It is important to encourage any individual, be it a child, teenager or an adult, to utilise their left hand to perform routine chores like cleaning, eating, cooking, if that is their natural tendency. Moreover, they should be allowed to lead a normal life, whether at home, work or any gathering, just as any right-handed person. Here are some simple ways to help abolish the negativity associated with left-handed people.
Being the majority, right-handed people must not look down or act superior in front of their left-handed colleagues, friends or family members. Consider their handedness as their inherent inclination, appreciate their talent, skill and keep things casual and friendly in their presence.
In case one or more people amongst a group of friends at a party or employees in a company happens to be left-handed, do not create an instance of embarrassment for them. It is being mature and considerate while not raising any minconceived superstitions, rumoured bad omens about left-handers and steering the talk in an amicable manner.
Inclusion In Groups
Right from a young age, understand that left-handers think, act and function in pretty much the exact same way as right-handers. At school, college or work, do not isolate them socially or professionally. Invite them to get-togethers, keep an open mind and work alongside them on projects.
Simple Tips To Help Left-Handed Children To Write With Ease:
By teaching kids who are lefties to follow these basic guidelines, parents and teachers can certainly help them develop neat and legible handwriting and gain confidence in their identity and abilities.
Correct Grip Of The Pencil
Teach kids who display a left-handed dominance to grasp the pencil about 1 – 1.5 inches i.e. 2 – 3 cm above the tip, which enables them to clearly see what they are writing and avoid hooking or clenching their wrists too tight to do so. This provides children with secure control while scripting words and sentences, prevents pain in the left hand, wrist and also keeps their work free of smudging.
Adjust The Tilt Of The Paper
The natural tendency of a left-handed child is to write in the direction towards their body, whilst distancing the pencil further apart from them. Hence, it is difficult for them to pen down letters on a piece of paper placed exactly vertical in front of them. Inculcate in left-handed kids the habit of tilting the paper or notebook before beginning to draft words, with the left tip slanted up such that the paper is parallel to their left forearm.
Utilise The Right Hand For Support
Although kids need to practice writing neatly primarily using their left hand and gradually increase their pace of drafting as they grow older, parents and teachers must also instruct them to balance with their non-dominant hand, in this case, their right hand. This aids in stabilizing the position and angle of the paper such that left-handed children can move along the sheet smoothly from left to right and write comfortably.
The need of the hour is in-depth insight and understanding, of how changing the left-handedness in children could potentially make them slow learners for life. Creating awareness amongst parents, teachers and children, to help left-handed kids survive in a world designed for right-handers, will certainly go a long way in making them feel more confident to take on any endeavour in life.