Science » Planet Earth
Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Leave Left-Handers Alone!

Many parents believe that the “habit” of their children to do everything with their left hand is a whim that should be stopped. These people are greatly mistaken. ”Left-handedness is one of the options for the normal development of the body, it is due to structural features of the human brain and is determined at genetic level,” psychologist Svetlana Shishkova explains to readers of MedPulse.ru.

The modern world was created for people who are doing everything with the right hand. Stationary and kitchen appliances, doors and locks, computer mouse, and much more are designed for right-handed people.

Other 500 million people, nearly one in ten, are forced to adapt.

Russia has long been wary of left-handers. They were even forbidden to testify in court. It was believed that the devil himself was a lefty. In Soviet schools little left-handers were subject to mandatory retraining.

Even these days there are some parents or even teachers who are trying to retrain the “wrong child,” which causes psychological stress and lower grades,” says psychologist Svetlana Shishkova. “It is known that the most common manifestations of neurotic symptoms caused by lefties’ relearning are sleep disturbance, disruption of appetite, headaches, abdominal pain, fears, enuresis, stuttering, and lethargy.”

In 2008, British scientists have found “the gene of left-handers,” LRRTM1. It played a key role in determining the part of the brain responsible for specific functions such as speech and emotions. In right-handers the left hemisphere of the brain is usually responsible for speech function and language, and the right one - for control of emotions. Everything is often different with lefthanders.

"Parents should remember that left-handed children are very vulnerable, and require careful treatment, attention and kindness. These children have their own development peculiarities that must be considered in the process of training and education. In practice, when they are considered, grown up left-handers show a strong character and a powerful creative potential", adds the specialist.

"Left-handed children usually have much more subtle sense of color and shape of the object, they see the differences between subjects even when right-handers feel they are absolutely identical, i.e., they individualize the outside world. That is why there are many left-handed children in school for artistically gifted.

In studying, left-handed children are more oriented towards sensory impressions, not speech, so to better understand the material they need to rely on a picture or some visual aid. Usually it is hard for left-handers to work in large groups in strict conditions. Their element is individual work, their own initiative and intuition is important, “Svetlana Shishkova shares her observations.

It is unlikely that there are professions where left-handers did not make a contribution. One interesting and challenging occupation, in which left-handers show themselves in all their creative energy and hard work, is directing and shooting movies. It is very difficult process that requires special creative approach to the entire process of film making. James Cameron, the director of Titanic, Terminator, and Avatar, is one of the few left-handers in film direction.

Mireille Mathieu was also left-handed from birth, but her teacher required her to write with her right hand. And when the girl tried to do it with her left one, the teacher used the well-known to many left-handed method of punishment - beating at the “wrong” hand with a ruler. As a result of such training, Mireille started stuttering when reading. Later, singing became her life.

The list of famous people who did everything with their left hand is astonishing - Mark Twain, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Beethoven, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Marilyn Monroe, Robert De Niro. Interesting fact: of the last seven U.S. presidents, five were left-handed. Namely: Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

In an interview, the leader of Nirvana Kurt Cobain said that he was left-handed, and that finding the right instrument was very problematic. Of all the guitars “Fender Mustang” was his favorite, but it did not prevent the musician from altering the guitar for his left hand.

International Lefthanders Day was first celebrated on August 13, 1992 at the initiative of the British Left-handers Club established in 1990.

On this day, left-handers around the world seek to attract attention of producers of goods to the need to take them into account, arrange various activities and competitions. It is no secret that left-handed people are forced to work with equipment meant for right-handed, which is unnatural for their motion and results in muscle stress.

In this regard, on the eve of August 13, left-handers among the Urals were surveyed about the most unsuitable things for them. The worst object was a regular pen as it is hard to see the written text and they have to turn their hand to the side. Honorary second place was awarded to a computer mouse, the third one to scissors, the fourth to pencil sharpener, and the fifth to guitar. Even innocuous playing cards, boomerang and ladle made the rating.

Incidentally, during the recent scandal surrounding iPhone 4, Lauren Milsom, head of the organization Left-Handed Club, recommended that Steve Jobs engages left-handed employees in the development and testing of his products. The reason was faulty antenna, which is located in the lower left corner of iPhone 4. As soon as a left-hander takes it in her hand, the signal gets lost.

However, there are those who help left-handers make their lives comfortable. For example, Tony Hemmings, an inventor from Bristol, is one of the founders of a special pen for left-handers. The product has an ergonomic S-shaped neck. This gives left-handers (and Arabs) at least some opportunity to see what they write.

Liliana Lokatskaya
Medpulse

Read the original in Russian

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