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Handedness

 
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HuaJiaShuYuan



Joined: 18 Apr 2005
Posts: 6
Location: Minnesota

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 12:21 pm    Post subject: Handedness Reply with quote

We have a daughter (just about to turn two years old) that we adopted from China. She shows signs of being a "lefty," but can use either hand for many things, such as eating. Since she was in a Chinese Social Welfare Institute for 14 months, she was likely allowed to let nature take its course. We don't have any particular aversion to left-handedness, and do not want to force her to be a "righty" against her nature. However, we have some particular concerns.

Because we are a bilingual household and homeschool (Chinese Mandarin and English are coequal and used interchangeably), we are anticipating an issue with Chinese penmanship. Chinese script is not meant to be written with the left hand, especially with an ink brush. The strokes are formed in a manner that cannot be accomplished with the left hand.

To give you an idea of the difficulty of using a brush in the left hand to produce right-handed strokes, just think of the difference between pushing a logging chain or pulling it. The latter can be done fairly easily, but the former is just going to tire you out.

So, what we're looking for is a method or systematic approach for teaching "ambidexterity." I don't know if it is even possible to do this, but I believe practice with both hands will have benefits. In fact, we're thinking that we should teach left-handed dexterity to our other daughter, who is a natural "righty."

Again, we are not seeking to squelch "left-handedness," so please don't attack us for seeking information of how to develop "both-handedness."

If anyone has some ideas, suggestions, or resources that may be of help, we'd appreciate it very much. Thanks.
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Househusband



Joined: 15 Mar 2005
Posts: 12
Location: Arkansas

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was young, I would play around with writing with both hands ( handwriting was just as bad with either Smile
A few broken bones on the dominant right side made the left side work even better. I might suggest to do llike our folks did and encourage her do try doing things with both hands. Most musical instruments will have that added benifit as well.
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HuaJiaShuYuan



Joined: 18 Apr 2005
Posts: 6
Location: Minnesota

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 11:08 am    Post subject: Handedness Reply with quote

I never thought about it, but you're right! Teaching musical instruments will, for the most part, require developing fine motor skills in both hands.

Although we don't have a piano, my wife plays fairly well by ear (being Chinese, she uses a different script for music, so that makes two of us that can't read Western-style sheet music). We've been thinking of getting a keyboard (one of those electronic ones you can get at Best Buy for just a couple/few hundred dollars) or a real piano (though afraid of the tuning and maintenance requirements, not to mention a fear of getting a "lemon," since we'd be getting a used piano from the annual piano sale held by the University of Minnesota).

We've got the girls enrolled in a local Chinese Dance and Culture Program, and now I'm curious about checking into Chinese musical instruments as well. I just love listening to the "gu zheng" (a cross between a harp and a guitar that lies horizontally in front of the player). I am also fond of the "di zi" (similar to a fife or flute) and a few other Chinese string and wind instruments. Of course, one needs to depend upon the passion of the child in these matters, so I won't force either of them beyond their tolerance limits.

Thanks for the great idea. I will have to consider some of the other arts as well, such as needlework -- which I enjoy myself. Hey, don't laugh ... famous football player Rosie Greer also did needlepoint. My mom taught all of us (five kids) to embroider and sew (sewing came in handy while I was in the military). I never realized that Mom was teaching us fine motor skills, and we've all become quite creative in our approach to life.
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Rich



Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 173
Location: Coastal New England

PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2005 10:36 am    Post subject: Re: Handedness Reply with quote

HuaJiaShuYuan wrote:
We have a daughter (just about to turn two years old) that we adopted from China. She shows signs of being a "lefty," but can use either hand for many things, such as eating. Since she was in a Chinese Social Welfare Institute for 14 months, she was likely allowed to let nature take its course. We don't have any particular aversion to left-handedness, and do not want to force her to be a "righty" against her nature. However, we have some particular concerns.

Because we are a bilingual household and homeschool (Chinese Mandarin and English are coequal and used interchangeably), we are anticipating an issue with Chinese penmanship. Chinese script is not meant to be written with the left hand, especially with an ink brush. The strokes are formed in a manner that cannot be accomplished with the left hand.

To give you an idea of the difficulty of using a brush in the left hand to produce right-handed strokes, just think of the difference between pushing a logging chain or pulling it. The latter can be done fairly easily, but the former is just going to tire you out.

So, what we're looking for is a method or systematic approach for teaching "ambidexterity." I don't know if it is even possible to do this, but I believe practice with both hands will have benefits. In fact, we're thinking that we should teach left-handed dexterity to our other daughter, who is a natural "righty."

Again, we are not seeking to squelch "left-handedness," so please don't attack us for seeking information of how to develop "both-handedness."

If anyone has some ideas, suggestions, or resources that may be of help, we'd appreciate it very much. Thanks.


While I can't specifically recommend a particular program or source of information, I can share something from personal experience. Both my wife and I are right-handed. There is no occurrance of left-handedness in my family and my wife only has one uncle who is left-handed yet, two of our three children are left-handed. Our son, who has always preferentially used his left hand to write and has undergone neurodiagnostic testing for dyslexia and ADHD, is thought by the neurologist, to actually be right-hand dominant. Our nonscientific thought is that his older sister, who is the other "lefty" in the family and who enjoyed teaching her baby brother everything, might have influenced his hand choice by how she herself wrote. He, being dyslexic, as we would come to learn, would be very able to "get outside of himself" in how he experienced things and could easily adapt this way. It's our guess that maybe he might be more ambidexterious, but picked up left-handedness by preference or just plain intrigue, from his sister. It's hard to support that thought given that both of his parents are right-handed and likely would influence his choice just as much. Regardless of how or why it would come to be, our son has consistently used his left hand from the time he picked up his first crayon. My point, if there really is one, supports your thoughts that, even if your daughter is left-handed, she could be taught to use her right hand to write Chinese characters. When she's writing her ABCs, she can use her left. Being that she's so young and if the process is consistent, she will likely develop dexterity with both and come to feel as though it's natural for her to use both hands. Your other daughter may or may not adapt her writing style but that shouldn't deter you from your "lefty" to use her right hand for her brush. No doubt she will come to try her left hand and she will then see the difference. Watch, if she's anything like my son, she will make perfect characters with her left hand, have no trouble at all, and show you that you are wrong Laughing Good luck to you
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