Interview with Dr. Michel Galobardès, former researcher in education at the University of Toulouse, who talks about the "particularities" of left-handed children.
Why are we left-handed?
Dr. Michel Galobardès : First of all, remember that being left-handed is neither a handicap nor an anomaly, but a physiological characteristic, a gestural and mental difference to be taken into account.
There are 13% of left-handers in the French population, about 10 girls for 15 boys. Being left-handed is genetic, but we also know that testosterone (hormone msuculin) plays a role in this. One can be left handed, but right-handed, or eye. Thus, there are left-handed homogeneous and left-handed heterogeneous. In fact, we mostly notice the left-handers, because this can cause problems for writing.
It is said that many left-handers have problems because of poor education ... is that true?
Dr. MG : A left-handed person will remain it all his life, it is for this reason that it is very important to take it into account in the pedagogy, remembering that any attempt of contrariety could lead to various pathologies (stuttering, enuresis, behavioral disorders, school phobia, onychophagia, and later stomach ulcer, migraine ...).
In France, there are only 1, 5 million left-handed pupils in primary schools alone, and I estimate that at least 500 000 are in psychological distress. So teachers need to learn to help them.
Left-handed people and writing
Will a left-handed child have difficulties writing?
Dr. Michel Galobardès : The left-handed pupil, although just as fit as the right-hander, is not equal for basic learning: reading and writing. A left-handed person will have difficulties because he will write from left to right, so contrary to his natural meaning of writing and reading from right to left. But, if we understand it, and help it, it will be able to adapt. For some, it will take eight days, for others, several months. It's all about patience, even if it makes a mistake.
So best to let the child fend for himself?
Dr. MG : No, let it go, do not annoy it is insufficient, because the child adapting alone, does it wrong: notebook too leaning, wrist twist and compensatory scoliosis with vertebral pathology.
To avoid the consequences of a bad position, it is better to place it in the left row so that he can look to his right. A southpaw in a good position will not write badly. One must imagine that the right-hander moves his elbow away from his body while the left-hand approaches it. It's a clenching gesture, and it's one more difficulty.
How to avoid a twisted wrist?
Dr. MG : To avoid the twisted wrist, you have to shift the notebook to the left by 4 to 5 centimeters and turn it 15 to 30 degrees to the right in the extension of the forearm. You can also use a finger guide.
This method must be applied as early as kindergarten because twisting takes several years to be visible, even if it often already exists very early.
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Will he be better in sports?
Dr. Michel Galobardès : Left-handers are better at certain sports, especially those where you have to be fast and where you move from right to left, such as ping-pong, foil, tennis or track cycling .
This phenomenon is explained by the proximity of the motor center and the center of the spatial vision in the right brain in the southpaw.
On the other hand, in the right-hander, the center of the spatial vision is located in the left brain and the information must therefore flow between the two brains by the corpus callosum before triggering the movement. The southpaw gains precious hundredths.
Will he be good at artistic subjects?
Dr. MG : Left-handed people are good at artistic subjects like sculpture for example, because they have a more complete and faster spatial vision. There are three types of memory in humans: visual memory, auditory memory and memory of touch (kinesthetic).
Left-handers tend to develop the kinaesthetic sense. They will always prefer to be shown things rather than explain them to them. In addition, the sense of space and touch is in the right brain, the most intuitive, and the one that is most stimulated in the southpaw.
It is said that left-handers are grumblers, is it true?
Dr. MG : This reputation surely comes from the fact that they are in a world where everything is done for right-handers. For this reason, children must be given the proper tools. The most essential are: the sharpener, the ruler, and the pair of scissors.
Imagine the difficulty of a child who has to draw a 5-centimeter stroke on a right-handed rule. First, the 0 will not be on the right side and then he can not draw, he pushes, so it has a challenge more than others to meet.