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Old 05-21-2010, 02:33 PM   #1
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Handedness

Just curious if anyone else has noticed this, and I'm sorry it's so long

I have a four year old, and I can't figure out if he even has a dominant hand. I notice him using either hand 'mirroring' whoever is doing an activity with him (eating with his left hand if sitting across from a right handed person, etc), and using the same hand as someone sitting beside him. Mimicry, basically. But when doing something on his own, he shows no real preference, just uses whichever hand is closer or less occupied.

Now, if there was a distinct difference in the 'quality' of either hands work, I'd not even ask, but there isn;t really. He's slightly better at eating and writing with his left, but not noticeably so, so I'm assuming it's because he sits across from right handed people most of the time so his mimicry of their habits has made it a bit more refined, but everything else he does it's pretty much an even match up.

Just wondering if you'd assume he's ambidextrous, left handed, or just hasn't figured it out yet? I don't much care, either way, but it just seems curious to me.

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Old 05-21-2010, 02:48 PM   #2
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Re: Handedness

I'd assume he was a lefty living in a right-handed world! My husband is like that, he writes with his left and is essentially left-handed, but he does most things the way a right-handed person would (e.g. play tennis, guitar, eat, most other things!). Because he uses his right hand for a lot of things I think he never developed as strong a difference between his hand coordination as most right-handed people, i.e. I use my right hand for EVERYTHING and so my left hand is pretty much retarded! As an example he can use chopsticks with both hands fairly well, although prefers left, but I really cannot for the life of me use them with my left hand.

Which hand does he draw or write with??
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Old 05-21-2010, 03:08 PM   #3
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Re: Handedness

Left like 60% or the time, right about 40%. It's part of what confuses me so much. His daddy is left handed for everything but writing, which I thought was weird, until I kinda had a 'duh' moment and realized he went to a public school where if not specified otherwise they teach everyone to write with their right hand, and was later told it was further enforced when he broke his left arm when he was perfecting handwriting in grade 3.

Ah well, it's more curiousity than anything else, since he's interested in learning things that are hand based now, I'm just kind of stumped on which hand I'd be better off trying to teach him to use. For example, his daddy's guitar and chopsticks. He shows a slight lefty preference/better ability on the 'sticks, but not really much on anything else.

I do notice that he gets frustrated on occasion and switches things to the other side, like blocks to the left and play tools to the right, so I guess eventually he'll figure it out, just hope it's before he learns how to do anything well with either hand and has to essentially start over.
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Old 05-21-2010, 03:13 PM   #4
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Re: Handedness

Sounds like my brother. He is ambidextrous. Can do just about everything with the same quality regardless of which hand he is using. For the most part though he uses his right hand for everything but eating and writing.

He is 43 now though so there is no wondering about it.
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:40 PM   #5
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Re: Handedness

I'd say he's ambidextrous with a slight preference to his left hand. I'm like that, but my parents didn't realize it for a long time. We thought I was right handed until I was 11, and it was causing problems. I switched to my left hand, and they cleared up! But because of that, I do most other things with my right. Eat, play sports, etc. I draw with either, but can't brush my teeth with my left to save my life!

Because of that, we've done a lot of research about the sides of the brain and side preferences. Not only do you have a hand preference, but a foot, ear and eye preference. Watch what foot he starts walking with. Watch what eye he closes if he needs to focus with one eye on something, the eye he keeps open is his preferred eye. Also what ear he turns towards sound, like listening through a door. Most people are a mix, and these other preferences don't mean anything for what hand he uses, it's just interesting. I'm right footed, but everything else is left.

Whatever you do, don't pressure him to use one or the other. Even if he never really shows a stronger preference for one hand over the other, let him write with whatever hand he wants. I wouldn't assume eating with his left is mirroring who he sits across from unless you've seen him watching what they do and trying to copy. I'd say he mostly eats with his left.

Ambidextrous people really have the best of both worlds, they get the "advantages" of being a lefty but can manage using right handed things. He sounds very adaptable!
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:49 PM   #6
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Re: Handedness

My DD is left-handed (5 yo), and has almost always used her left hand from the time she used a spoon, picked up crayons, etc. We used to have to tell her to switch her spoon/crayon to her left hand, knowing she was better with it in that hand vs. right. She uses her left hand for writing, eating, brushing teeth ect, and rarely uses her right hand for fine motor skills
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Old 05-21-2010, 06:48 PM   #7
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Re: Handedness

I'm ambidextrous, and that is how it began! I'm betting you notice no distinct handedness in your son because he has none. You may notice that he likes to do certain activities with one hand better than the other over time, but that's normal. I write with my right hand at least 70% of the time because I hate getting ink all over my hand when I write with my left, but play golf left handed always. I fire my rifle only left-handed because I like my left eye better for firing, but I serve a volleyball right handed more times than not. If I play baseball, I bat with whatever hand will have me facing away from the sun (boy, that freaked a lot of people out in gym class back in school! LOL) I eat with whatever hand I pick up my silverware or chopsticks with. They always seat me next to my lefty BIL at family functions because I'm the only one other than him who can use chopsticks left-handed. These preferences were developed over time. As a kid, I mimicked whoever I was around.

Being ambidextrous is fun! I hope your son is! It sure makes writing papers easier when you're too young to type them, because you can switch hands when you get tired. I'm thoroughly convinced having two dominant hands makes life easier. I wish my kids were ambi, too. My daughter's a righty. My son has no preference yet, but it's too early to tell. I still hold out hope for him. We've had one ambidextrous person in every generation of my family on my dad's side, but never more than one, and I'm the only female!
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:57 PM   #8
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Re: Handedness

interesting thread....my older is clearly right handed but my 10 month old uses both hands equally and I have definitely noticed that.
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