Anything Left-Handed > Left handed children > Changing right back to left

Changing a forced right-hander back to left-handed

We have had a lot of articles and discussion recently about naturally left-handed children being forced to change from writing with their left hand to using their right and the adverse effects that can have:

We received an email recently from Virginia that asked about dealing with the consequences of this and whether it is possible to change a child (or adult) back to being fully left-handed and whether that would solve the various problems that had been created by the initial change.

Subject: Left-handed to right-handed. Can it be reversed?
I’m a teacher and one of my students (he’s 13 now), who has been also diagnosed with dyslexia, has a very poor writing and literacy problems, was forced to change from left-handed to right-handed. All his family was left-handed and, apparently, they didn’t want him to be lefty too.
I wonder if the process can be reversed and if this would help him to sort those problems out, or if trying to regain his left-handed abilities would make things even worse.
Can you help me?

We are not aware of any studies or research results in this are but Keith looked through all the comments on the previous articles on this subject and there have been a couple that are relevant and do seem to be encouraging for Virginia and her pupil.   That said, this is a very complicated area and we cannot make any recommendations or give advice on particular cases.

We had a comment added by Rick about the way his daughter was changed from left to right-handed and that prompted a reply from Jayne about her own experiences:

It isn’t too late for her to change back, in fact, she may benefit from it. Throughout my life, I’ve been clumsy. My handwriting was horrendous, legible but ugly, and arts and crafts were just embarrassing. I had trouble eating without being called rude for scraping the plate or being unable to twist my pasta correctly.
When I was 17, however, all became clear when my family and I learned that I had in fact sustained a nerve injury at birth that went undiagnosed. I was really left handed-but the weakened arm was unusable for fine motor tasks so I switched to using my right hand when I was a toddler. The good news was this-since I was 17, my nerves had had time to heal a bit, and I had a chance to regain my original handedness.
It’s slow and arduous. One must not use the right hand for any fine motor task unless 100% necessary. It takes 3 weeks for the hand to be on par with the right. After this time, the left hand will slowly improve to surpass it. I’m approaching Week Five. My left hand writing is slightly better than my right-your daughter’s hand will likely progress faster because she has no nerve damage. Either way, I’m seeing my font begin to develop style and character, and it feels way more natural.

We also had a comment from Kristin about her experiences with her own daughter:

I mistakenly taught my daughter to write with her right hand even though I knew she was left handed. I had NO idea this had an effect on her brain. She was having trouble with school work so I took her to a neurodevelopmental therapist and they suggested having her do all of her activities left handed.
She had to do several activities a day left handed: eating, writing 2x for 15 minutes, coloring, drawing, and fine motor skills activities. In about a month she was completely switched to left. I have to correct her some times b/c she’ll color right. She is more comfortable doing this but that is out of habit. Her writing is so much better now and her focus is getting better.   Now they have me covering her right eye 3 hours a day with a patch to switch her eye dominance. It switched almost immediately but I’m to continue for 3 months. They also have her wearing an ear plug in her right ear all day. This is to get the brain back to using the right side and to cut off any of the damage I did when I encouraged her to be right handed.
I thought it would make life easier for her but how wrong I was! The good news is, it seems easy to switch back with a few months of determination.

So, there are definitely some cases  where the effort to change back has proved worthwhile, but we know that the vast majority of changed left-handers never get to do that.   As noted before, we really cannot make recommendations on specific cases or offer any individual advice, but we hope you have found this helpful and we would really appreciate it if you would share your own thoughts or experiences by adding them as comments below.

 

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89 comments on “Changing right back to left
  1. Alexandra Aristera says:

    Hello,

    My name is Alexandra Aristera.

    I am 33 years old and switched back to my birth hand, my left hand 4 years ago after being forced to use my non dominant hand, my right hand most of my life.

    Please see below my video :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLPbJxd2M7c&t=7s

    I was blessed to be Lucia Capacchione’s last client ( she passed away last year) , a pioneer in expressive arts therapy who has been studying handedness and the brain since the 80’s and author of the book ” The power of the other hand”.

    I have collaborated with my first design teacher Linda Selwood when switching back to my left hand 4 years ago and kept track of all the changes my body, mind and spirit went through.

    I have also found this excellent book and reached out to Samuel the author who explains his journey going back to his left hand at 40 years old ” Hidden Handedness” Samuel M. Randolph.

    I currently have my first client who I am training back into her left hand.

    I am based in CANADA but can do session via zoom.

    Currently working on my website.

    If you feel you are left handed forced to use your right hand and wanted to go back to your birth hand, your left hand, IT IS POSSIBLE AND NECESSARY. I specialize in this and can offer incredible support.

    My email is : aristeradesign@gmail.com

    I hope to hear from you,

    Alexandra Aristera

    • nining says:

      My daughter might need your assistance to have her natural hand back. She’s currently 18 years old and live in BC, Canada.

  2. DAve says:

    I have always been artistically inclined yet I was never able to draw. I had the worst handwriting ever and eventually just gave it up. I was constantly punished in school for having bad handwriting and the teachers and my parents always blamed it on me and said I wasn’t trying hard enough.

    I never did well in school. I was always the problem child and I had very little respect for most teachers and my parents. I also hated myself for wanting to do art but having a hand which simply would not do what I told it to do.

    The list of things that I did poorly was fairly huge. So I was sent to a shrink and was given learning disability tests and my I.Q. was scored at 136. Just under the genius level of 140. I also found out later in life that I have horrible dyslexia. However I actually lucked out on reading. My Father accidentally taught me how to read as a baby. So when I got tested upon entering 1st grade, I was already able to read college level books. The way I learned to read was I was actually never taught to sound things out. Well people tried to but I could already read by then so I pretty much ignored them.

    The way I learned how to read was the only want to shut me us was to read to me. An my Dad was a super genius type who loved to read an so he would sit me on his lap and run his finger under the words as he read them. For hours every night. So I learned how to read by memorizing the entire word shapes. The letters came up later when I would ask too many questions and they would tell me to look stuff up in dictionaries or encyclopedias. I was about 3 or 4 i guess.

    Anyway, some time in my 20s I was having handwriting issues at work and my Mother says, outta the blue, “Well maybe I shouldn’t have changed you from left to right handed. Oh well. Nothing we can do about it now.” Like all that damned torture, all that pain, all that punishment and ridicule and grief an she just blew it off like it was nothing but an excuse why I couldn’t write pretty like she could. I could have killed her. I didn’t talk to her fr 6 or 8 months. An never told her why. Eventually my Father asked me why I was being a jerk to my Mom and I looked him square in the eyes and said “Tell me you had something to do with my be right handed an maybe I’ll quit talking to you too. ”

    So apparently my Dad didn’t think it was a good idea but some Jerk convinced my Mom that some book was gonna “cure” me of this left handed affliction blah blah and she convinced my Dad to go along. Not a single left handed person in my family but me. Not even cousins. So I was the freak and it required fixing. Both of my kids are right handed as well.

    Anyway, life sucked. This BS caused me a lifetime of problems and now I’m 57. I figure I was born a left handed, artistic, genius with lots of opportunity an a bunch of A hole adults screwed it all up for me, blamed the problems on me and punished me for their screw up.

    So I’ve never had a beer nor been drunk nor had a cigarette nor been a crackhead and was an athlete but I had my first heart attack at 36. I’ve had 5 so far. I’ve had two bypass surgeries. I don’t get any more shots at that either. This last year I got cancer. That’s been a joy. In the throat no less. Cancer is gone now. Lucked out big time with the no booze or tobacco thing. However, I lost 100 blbs in a month and couldn’t eat any food for 5 weeks. An that gave me a kind of brain damage that usually only drunks get. So it attacked my cerebral cortex and my eyes. Nearly killed me and nearly blinded me.

    So now I’m working my way back from that and the damage is on the right side of my brain which then effects the left side of my body more than the right. So I’ve been learning all i can on fixing my brain and an idia crossed my mind which doctors have said would be a good idea to try. An that is, try to learn how to be left handed again. Which I have not started yet but I am getting ready to start. Right now I just think about it all the time and imagine doing it.

    So. . . pretty soon I start learning how to draw and write with my left hand. I also started taking a fencing class to try to get my balance back and I’ve already started doing that left handed. Which I’ve always been somewhat ambidextrous with that sort of thing so that’s how I’ve started to change back.

    The goal, of course, is to turn the cancer problems into a win. Because if I could learn to draw, that would make the cancer worth having to go through.

    Anyway, that’s my complaint fest. I’ve obviously some bitterness going on but I’m tryin to turn it into a positive which is my usual way of dealing with life’s difficulties. So we shall see how this turns out lol Worst part is my Dad is gone and the Mom has dimentia. . So I can’t even bitch at them about it lol

  3. Kabir says:

    I was forced to change from left to right before i turned 3, my handwriting is very terrible so the extent my teachers find it hard to understand am 18years old now is it too late to switch back to left?

  4. M. Mujahid khan says:

    I was by birth left handed but was forced to become right handed my all abilities were become below average. now I have switched back to be a leftee much better result have been seen about my progress.

    • Slyvia says:

      I’m 13 years old and often get bad cramps in my right hand (I blamed this on slamming my hand in a door when I was 10) and am always getting terrible headaches and often can’t see properly. I’ve been diagnosed with too many things to list but have nothing but alleged stress (I’m not stressed).
      I was asked the other day if I was left handed and was told I did everything except writing left-handed. It’s true, except throwing and batting where I was forced to use my right hand by my last sports teacher who was an ancient dinosaur, I’m currently reverting and the ‘stress’ is disappearing and I have a natural ease for writing with my left (it’s very neat, neat as my right, and I don’t have bad habits like with my right hand yet). I remember being forced to write things over and over because of my terrible handwriting and being told not to use my left hand. I thought the adults knew best!
      Like I said I’m trying to revert but it’s hard because like I mentioned I’m slow with my left hand but I often get ‘episodes’ from writing with my right. I have to keep up in school. What should I do because all I got is break my right hand and that seems WAY too drastic?

      • ConfusedProbableLefty says:

        Omg are you me? People blamed my problems on “anxiety” and “stress” but I have nothing but vision problems and low muscle tone, and I think I was supposed to be left handed but started writing with my right because I copied my mom. I get excruciating writer’s cramp and have all these weird problems with my handwriting and how I make my letters, and they just don’t happen with my left hand. I’ve been trying to switch but my handwriting is not as steady or as fast as with my right yet, so I keep doubting if that’s the problem. But when I switch back to my right, it cramps immediately.

        Don’t give up and do NOT let those people convince you that you’re feeling things you aren’t! Stress is such a garbage term. Knowingly or not, so many people use it because they just don’t want to or are too stupid to try to figure out the real problem, and I say this as an adult.

        • Ariel says:

          Hey. I’m 28 and I started thinking also that i was left handed just last year. I always had communication issues growing up. I was always very fearful. Quiet and reserved. I grew up with self esteem issues. Eventually my handwriting was terrible. And I aso was cramped up. So recently without searching anything up. I was laying in y room thinking and a weird thought entered me that I could be left handed. I was always joking about it growing up. And I’ve always been stronger with my left but never put any mind to it. I have left handed uncles from my dads side of the family. Also I always grew up writing hear and there very rarely with my left hand to mess around with people and it always gave me a sense of more reality that scared me. But now I’ve been practicing writing with my left hand for a few months now and I’ve improved in many areas of my life including communication. It wa hard to at work because people notice me making mistakes when trying to do things because I would use my right and then my left trying to correct it. Now what I do is when I’m alone. I write and I even started playing guitar with my left which I learned how to play at the age of 13 right handed. It is so relaxing now. Well I encourage you to do what works best for you. Not everyone in my family have helped me with this much less believed me. I’m pretty much alone with this, but I’ve been doing it. With the help of God. So don’t let anybody stop you if you see that it’s working for you. Also don’t try too hard to switch back to left handed when your in public, unless it’s like a fine motor skill like writing or eating or things like that. Everything else comes naturally. Hope you that best.