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Left Handed FYOS

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#1 naturalgoodness

Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:25 AM

DD2 has been at school for 3 weeks. I talked with her teacher today about writing, letter recognition, reading and the fact the Eloise is left handed.

I have bought her scissors, pencil grips, pencil & ruler for left handed people but am wondering if there is anything else I can be doing for her?

She often writes letters perfectly backward and the teacher did say that she has tried to demonstrate as a left hander, but obviously this is not natural for her.

It would appear that the teacher is not very experienced dealing with left handers - I want to help Eloise as much as I can so that she feels confident in what she is doing.

Any suggestions from other left handers or mothers of - including whether I should just be leaving her alone to naturally work it out (if this is what happens?)

#2 LittleListen

Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:28 AM

I found this for my preschool children - some helpful points and diagrams.

Left handed writing skills

#3 Mumsyto2

Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:33 AM

One of mine who is a LH had issues with letter formation and writing as the way they are shown does not gel with my lefty. I had no clue so at age 6 I took them to see an OT who seemed to sort it out (once a week for half a year). I have no idea what they did to fix the situation but they could then write without issue and I have not noted any problems since. I do note that some letter formation seems odd when they write but it obviously works for them so I am not going to interfere.

#4 Mrs Bunny

Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

I'm left-handed. I'm an infants/primary teacher, specialising in K-2 and early learning support (learning difficulties and disabilities). I'm assuming your daughter is in infants? I wouldn't start worrying about the reversal of letters until she's in Year 2. By mid-Year 2 she should be getting her letters and numbers spot on. But if she's in Kinder/Prep or Year 1, it's normal (and not just for a left-hander) and I wouldn't criticise the teacher. There are plenty of kids in Kinder and early Year 1 who aren't left handed who reverse letters/numbers or confuse similar letters (eg b and d).

Things you can do:
* You can practise the letters at home on a mini white board
* Make fun games when you're out and about - "what's that letter? trace it with your finger! draw it in the air!"
* You can also print off from the internet or buy books with letter formation (handwriting) practise. They will do this in class as well, but a good sheet or book would have an outlined letter that they should follow (draw inside IYKWIM), with arrows that show the direction (eg a capital D you start at the top of the straight part then pick up your pencil and go back to the top and go downwards for the curve).
* Alternatively, you can ask the teacher which letter they will do in handwriting each week and for a copy of their handwriting sheet with her homework so you are reinforcing what she's learning, not confusing her with different letters to school. This would be my preference if you're going to do practise at home.

Try to work with the teacher, don't put pressure on your daughter and if she's had enough of practise, leave it - don't push it. Letter recognition and formation "falls into place" for most children by the end of Year 1. Remember that in Europe, most children haven't even started school by that age.

I also think, scissors aside, you really don't need to buy special left handed tools. She will adapt to the right handed world original.gif and that adaption will be to her advantage. There are many things I can do that right handed people can't because I've had to adapt (I can use scissors and knives in both hands, do different things with each hand concurrently, use racquets and bats with either hand or kick equally well with both feet. Think of Australian cricketer David Warner!).

#5 Mumsyto2

Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:11 PM

QUOTE (naturalgoodness @ 20/02/2013, 12:25 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have bought her scissors, pencil grips, pencil & ruler for left handed people but am wondering if there is anything else I can be doing for her?

Sorry, I am in no way being mean but I just can't get the image of Ned Flanders Left handed Emporium out of my head now. I'm just imagining you shopping there and keep giggling.

Apart from scissors I did not buy anything special for my lefty. When they awere a little older (6/7yo) we set up a computer mouse as left handed for them but they did not like it and wanted it to go back to the regular right handed mode and they have been happy using it like that ever since so apart from scissors they have adapted to everything else mainly by choice - I think they feel it's easier to 'fit in'. The only issue they really had was writing on the whiteboard at school when younger, as blackboards are no longer used, they would write then their arm would rub out what they had written as they went along. However once they got older and taller that issue disappeared so ended up being a non problem.

#6 bark

Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:17 PM

There are quite a few left handlers along with my son in his class. The teacher has pencil tips and scissors there. Other than that they do everything fine. Like a pp has said letter reversal is still normal for this age and not just for left handers.

#7 gizboo

Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:23 PM

I didn't buy any extras, just let his teacher know he was left handed and needed to be put in a seat where he would not be bumping constantly with a righty. original.gif

#8 DrFeral

Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:43 PM

I never bought anything for my lefty either (now in year 3) and I've seen letter reversal in both my kids in kinder- both lefty and righty.  I would recommend scissors however but never bothered with the rest.  The only thing you might want to be aware of is that most handwriting books are written for right handlers with the examples on the left (which a lefty hand see because there hand is in the way).  The best books have the examples above but if your child's school isn't using one like this you could suggest that the teacher write an example letter on the far right where she can see it.  That said, I think my lefty is a good speller because he can't easily cheat at "look, say, cover, write, check" which is the way they seem to do speeding from year 1 on :-). It's a right handed world out there but it is common for lefties to use both hands for different tasks and sometimes even favour their right for/ right hand for certain tasks!

#9 FeralZombieMum

Posted 20 February 2013 - 12:51 PM

I have 2 left handed kids, and haven't bought them any special supplies.

I just have to look away when they write as it looks so awkward!

I also have to remember not to comment negatively to their teachers - as surprisingly they've had a few left handed teachers! ohmy.gif laughing2.gif

#10 naturalgoodness

Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:29 PM

Great - thank you. The stuff I bought came as a school pack when looking for scissors, but I have seen today that it has a great template mat with slanted lines to use as a template so she can see her writing so she can use that at home.

I will let her be and just keep the observation stuff going when at home and let the teacher guide whether more assistance is required.

#11 tomson

Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:42 PM

When you are showing her how to do stuff ( e.g. tie shoelaces) sit opposite her. My left hander found it easier to see when he sat opposite.

#12 PrincessPeach

Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:48 PM

QUOTE (tomson @ 20/02/2013, 02:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
When you are showing her how to do stuff ( e.g. tie shoelaces) sit opposite her. My left hander found it easier to see when he sat opposite.

My mum did this with me - except we are the other way around, I was the only right-handed person in a house full of lefties!

#13 msro82

Posted 20 February 2013 - 02:57 PM

My daughter is a leftie and also in FYOS

She writes most letters correctly now, but when tired she does do some backwards (lower case b and d mostly)

When she was learning these letters, most of them were backwards. This is normal in both right and left handed children.

I found the Eggy alphabet app (ipad/iphone) has been useful in reiterating the correct way - it numbers where you start and finish each letter.

#14 msro82

Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:55 PM

QUOTE (Ferdinand @ 20/02/2013, 04:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am left handed, as is DS, neither of us have had any issue with letter formation, but both of our pencil grips are terrible, even by left handed standards. Just make sure she is holding the pencil correctly and keeping her hand on the table, but below the line or her hand will tire very quickly. Lefties have a habit of getting their hands into all sorts of awkward positions in order to see what they're writing and not smudge the writing.

Oh, when cutting with scissors, make sure she turns the paper and not her hand, another bad lefty trait.

If you're concerned at all, an OT can definitely help with this sort of stuff.

eta: my lefty has started doing things right handed because everyone in his class does. This is obviously not a good habit to get into with a true lefty (as my son is), so we've had to make sure he actually uses his dominant hand. Something to keep an eye out for.

How do you define a true lefty? My daughter is clearly left handed but taught herself to use a right handed mouse and scissors (because everyone else was). She has always preferred her left since she could grab things. She also chooses to throw with her right arm at athletics...... She is just as capable on her left though.

I got her left handed scissors without realizing she had switched to her right - she said it was just to hard to use the right handed scissors in her left hand.

#15 msro82

Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:47 PM

Thanks. Her pop is ambidextrous so makes sense!

I have watched her write and it's so awkward and must surely hurt her wrist!

#16 Peppery

Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:57 PM

Sorry to hijack but i have a question for other lefties - do you own left handed scissors? I just use whatever the supermarket has and I use my left hand with them. I have never really considered the different between left/right handed ones.

I am just curious unsure.gif

#17 Peppery

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:13 PM

Thank you. I wasn't sure if I was missing out

#18 LJandAJ

Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:19 PM

I have noticed with my son that some scissors wont work Left Handed

Edited by LJandAJ, 20 February 2013 - 08:19 PM.

#19 Rilee's~Mama

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:19 AM

I'm a Lefty, as is DD - FYOS for her.

I remember having a bit of trouble learning to write some letters etc, but it was because of how it was being explained. Once I understood what the teacher was saying, it was a lot easier. I did have a bit of trouble with my pinky finger smudging the ink, but soon worked out how to get around that (we didn't start using pens until prob Y3 or so).

I also remember having to sit on the Left at the desk, so our elbows didn't bang!!

DD has Lefty scissors, prefers to be Left dominant for sport, can do a few things with her Right though.

I hadn't even thought to mention to her teacher about the Lefty thing!

#20 Psyduck

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:33 AM

QUOTE (Ferdinand @ 20/02/2013, 04:39 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Oh, when cutting with scissors, make sure she turns the paper and not her hand, another bad lefty trait.

I never realised that I do this!! I am a lefty and I still get confused as to which Gand I throw,catch and use a sporting implement in. When I played tennis as a child I couldn't grasp the concept of backhand so I just used to switch hands! Really frustrated the coach!
I still do this when playing tennis now.

#21 TheGreenSheep

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:33 AM

We haven't done anything special with our lefty. Didn't even occur to us to advise his teacher.

He has quite neat writing so far. He does write some letters backwards and start the letter from the wrong direction. DH has spent time wi I'm to address this. DH is also a lefty so it helps he knows what he went through too and how to correct it. DS has no issues with scissors or cutting. We don't own LH scissors. He kicks and throws right handed. It just happens more naturally for him.

Interestingly DH irons and uses a mouse RH as well as batting in cricket, playing golf.

#22 spersephone

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:37 AM

Do you know what?  I don't think I've even told the teacher that my daughter's left handed.  She's been doing fine these last few weeks.  I did think about buying scissors (as we have some at home) but then I forgot.  I'll have to ask her when I see her next whether there is anything I should be doing to make their lives easier.

I have assumed that there will probably be more than one left hander in the class and I also make the assumption that it's not like the old days and they'll happily work with the child to make sure they're not disadvantaged by it.

#23 naturalgoodness

Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:35 PM

DD2 herself mentioned the scissors sitting in the classroom on the second day of school. The teacher then asked if she was left handed and offered to get her some scissors. DD2 is the only left handed child in the class. She also plays tennis left handed and finds it much easier when I switch the mouse for her during computer usage.

At school we have stuck a letter formation template for lefties on her desk and she has a template with slanted lines that you place blank paper over, when she uses it as a guide the paper is on a slant meaning that she can see what she has written but is still writing on a straight line (if that makes sense). I will leave it at that for now. If the teacher raises that there are any issues, we will deal with them as we go along.

Thanks to everyone that responded original.gif

#24 seven times 3

Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:05 PM

True left-handed scissors are engineered with the blades reversed so the left-handed blade is on top.  With the left blade on top, lefties can see what they are cutting, and the motion of the scissors is natural. While many older lefties have adapted, and can use right-handed scissors for most things, even they can cut far more accurately with left-handed scissors.


DS is a lefty. I bought him left handed scissors after reading that, and they are quite right - using scissors in the wrong hand means you can't cut accurately along a line, because you can't actually see the line you are cutting along.  A bit hard to explain, but really obvious once you have the scissors in your hand.  

Scissors which claim to be ambidextrous, to work for both left and right-handed people, are not truly left-handed - and will not function well for left-handed users

I think this is what lots of the left handed scissors you can readily buy are. Try using them in your left hand to cut out a shape that you have drawn and see if you can see the line you are cutting along.

You will find some great information here:  http://www.leftys.com.au/

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