Anything Left-Handed > Uncategorized > Kate’s Journey – update

Kate’s Journey – update

To see the original newsletter feature on Kate’s inspiring journey so far, please click here

We were blown away by the huge number of responses to her story – a small selection of these are shown below:

Clare Porac MD wrote a book about all the research ever done on left handers titled the enigma of left handedness. I would start there for anything ever studied about lefties and ADD


I read your article with much interest. I am personally 73 years of age and had all sorts of problems in my infants school by the actions of my teachers.( a South Woodford School, East London).
Their policy at the time was to tape my left hand behind my back and insist I use my right hand.
I remember being very tearful when I got home and telling my Mum what had happened, there were three of us in my class that had our left hands taped. When my Father heard of what had taken place, he was livid, and approached the headmaster at the school, shortly after his visit, their policy for taping the left hand was abandoned. Apparently talking to fellow members of Men’s Sheds I was not alone in this cruel policy which seemed to take place throughout the country during the 1950/60 school years.
Hopefully modern teachers are more aware of left handed pupils needs in their schools nowadays.

Fabulous, keep it up Kate.


OMG! I’m a subscriber to your newsletter and Kate is a 100% right.

My parents were told that I was a “slow learner” in grade one by my teacher!
Wrong! I was very left handed and that causes major problems for a child. Especially in a school environment.
I had trouble tying my shoes and only learned when I was taught the rabbit ears loop method. I was a disaster trying to do it by the right handed method. I was always confused about how to do things like using can openers, tools, writing and sports. Lucky for me an uncle of mine was very left handed and put me through some tests. For example, I showed him how I would throw a a ball, swing a golf club, use a tennis racquet and swing a bat, etc. My uncle knew exactly what was wrong with me. I was left handed and the world is right handed. At 67 years of age, I still question a lot of things regarding handedness.
Really appreciated your article.


I hope Kate and I have inspired others to tell of their experiences 


Victoria is not representative of all Australia.  I taught in NSW schools, and in teacher training at a university. The issue of handedness has been addressed in NSW syllabus since at least the ’70s.

As a left-handed Principal I always made sure my teachers were aware of the provisions and treated their left-handers appropriately. Amazingly though, in my training, when I took my chalkboard writing assessment in 1975 I was made to do it right-handed! Not that anybody uses them here anymore, as it is all whiteboards- and a whole new generation of board skills needing to be adapted for us!



What a very interesting and enlightening article!  Many thanks for it.  I also live in Australia and have already sent it to the daughter of a friend of mine who is a teacher.  I am in my early 70’s, and although I was not of the generation to be “forced” to become right-handed, my own handedness was never considered to my knowledge.  I do very little with my right hand (wrote backwards when learning to write, played all sports left-handed, find it difficult to do some chores if I have to use my right hand etc.) and now wonder if I had had some assistance whether I might have been more interested in my own education!

Thank you again for posting this very interesting article.


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15 comments on “Kate’s Journey – update
  1. Frank Newall says:

    This article was drawn to my attention by a cousin and I found it to be of great interest. I am 62 but had problems in earlier life especially at school with practical tasks such as handwriting and any task requiring physical coordination. Most sports to I found difficult. At the time and indeed well into adult life I tended to blame myself and wrote myself off as clumsy which tended to impair my self confidence. I realize now I was blaming myself unduly and many of the problems I faced may have had been due to forced right handedness when I was naturally left handed. Even in later life to make this realization comes as a great relief and explains much. Thank you for a helpful attitude.

  2. Barry Heath says:

    Interesting to read the response from whoever it was in South Woodford. I’m approaching 76; I went to school about four miles from there, in Ilford – to the same school (and in the same class) as Noel Edmonds. I was never treated badly by teachers and forced to write right-handed (I still can’t) though my penmanship is still pretty awful. I never knew any leftie, apart from my grandmother who was born in 1903, who was forced to write right handed – and to the end of her days, it was the only thing she did that way. The only issue I ever had was when we were taught italic writing. Even with a ‘left-handed’ nib, I couldn’t manage. I eventually developed a personal grip which looks uncomfortable to others, but suits me. I still prefer to use a fountain pen, as ballpoints ‘run away’ with me.

  3. Paul says:

    Really and your uniqueness didnt give you the skill set to conquer?
    Well I have nothing but good new. Lefthanders are the only ones in their right mind. We are the ones who can get out of tight faster. We are ones with the quickest qwip. The fiercest and undefeated army were the Levites of King David’s people. The requirement was to be left handed and because it was seen as a bad trait so they probably couldnt get married and oh by the way the Levites did not marry. I am ambidextrous in nunchucks, sign language(not deaf), snow boarding, baseball. I play billiards by shooting with both hands. Freaks people out when I switch hands. I had problems by not abiding by right rulers. I am an artist, engineer, published author, I have a medical patent. I have no degree but a polymath approach to learning. I aced the IQ tests as a teenager because I took some many of them I saw the approach to model.

  4. Lesley says:

    I am 79 years old and was educated in Ilford Essex, England. I have never been taught to use my right hand and had never met a leftie that had trouble at school until I came to Australia. There were people younger than me who were forced to write with their right hand. I have previously posted about my DD who jokingly says I should write correctly. Lefties cannot help the way they are. In some cases it’s an advantage e.g. tennis, some sports. So be proud of being a leftie ‘why be like the common herd’.

  5. Angela says:

    As a child, I was the only person in my family to be left handed. I can remember hearing stories about left handed people who had been forced to use their right hand instead of their left hand, and I can remember asking my mother about this. She told me that she and my dad had talked about the fact that I’m left handed, and that it would be better to let me be the left hander that I’m meant to be as it would be wrong to try to change this. When I think of some of the stories that I’ve heard, it makes me realize how lucky I was.

  6. Susan says:

    I am 77 years of age and had the same problem when first starting school. For the first week I refused to do anything regarding writing and the teacher sent for my mother who promptly told the teacher I was left handed and to let me use my left hand. I was fine from then on. My grandmother who was also left handed, she taught me to knit and crochet as no one else was able to. These days I find that I am able to use my right hand for a lot more things except writing. Even though I am left handed I use a knife and fork together as normal. My youngest son turned out to be ambidextrous but uses his knife and fork as if left handed.

  7. patricia Overbey says:

    I am in the USA my hand was also taped/tied so I could not use it. Multiple problems through out my life. I clap hands, tie shoes. sew thread a needle anything with a ball all left handed. Things would be left alone the way God created them. PS my hand writing is horrible.

  8. Barbara Mawson says:

    I am 85 and attended in the 40s .I also am a leftie and had a horrible few first years at school. My teacher forced me to use my right hand for writing . I now can write with both hands but do nearly everything with my left hand. Out of family of 4 girls I was the only leftie so my lovely mam said “everyone uses their right hand” and did nothing about it. Thankfully it doesn’t happen now as my oldest daughter is also a leftie. But my first few years at school were a misery.

    • Anne says:

      I really feel for you. I am not much younger but never experienced any pressure to change hands.
      It can be awkward at times but somehow I have always managed to cope.
      After being the only one in my family I have two lefties children. No grandchildren though.

  9. morag MacPhail says:

    I wonder if anyone would be interested in meeting up. My 63 year old cousin would really value being able to chat with others who have been forced to be right handed and have suffered the consequences their whole life.
    He is in Glasgow but would travel.
    He has found your comments invaluable.
    Many thanks to all who have shared.

    • Ssenyonjo Suleman says:

      I will personally be very pleased to meet anyone left handed from any part of world and share experiences.
      Thank you.
      Yours affectionately,

      • morag MacPhail says:

        Many thanks. It has been a revalation to him, finally understanding why he has had so many difficulties, and now knowing it was not his fault. He would love to correspond or meet up with others similarly affected.
        My cousin can be contacted by email

  10. Terrence W. Walston says:

    I appreciate these stories, and at 84 years old, I still am left-handed and proud of it. The beatings by teachers begin in kindergarten at five years old. They would yell at me, screaming in my ear, they would slap my hand with a rule, twist my arm behind by back, and when that didn’t work, would literally drag me off and stuff me in the closet. I did not how to be right-handed, I tried, oh, how I tried. That went on until about the age of ten. The principal of the school came to apartment one day to tell my parents that I would taught how to right-handed, I never told them what happened to me.

  11. Thomas Farmer says:

    Very interesting.I was left handed at school and changed over. I developed a speech impediment,/stammer for 15/25 years. It hS affected me all my life. I am 73.

    Great work. Congratulations. Thomas

  12. Ssenyonjo Suleman says:

    Hello lefts,like Kate has said, I also suffered insults and humiliation during my early primary school years here in Uganda. My handwriting teacher would beat me every school day,destroy my work book and tell me that I will go to hell for using Satan’s hand. Worse of it even my relatives weren’t supportive as they called names related to using the left hand. I am now 50 years old and people look at me with mixed feelings when using using tools with my left hand especially when eating food with forks and knives. “were did you go to school or were you not beaten for using the left hand?” people ask me every day.