Anything Left-Handed > Left handed children > Your Left Handed Child

Your Left Handed Child – book by Lauren Milsom
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Our own Lauren Milsom was approached as a leading authority on handedness and commissioned by international publisher Hamlyn to write a detailed guide to life as a left-handed child and giving advice to parents and teachers. The result was the book  “Your Left-Handed Child”.

Essential reading for any parent or teacher of a left-handed child, this book is a practical and comprehensive guide to the challenges your left-handed child may encounter from their first years right through school life and beyond. From basic skills like dressing and handwriting to learning new sports and musical instruments, this beautifully illustrated book explains common problems caused by right-handed bias in equipment and layout and offers ways to help your child harness their natural creativity and problem-solving skills to become adaptable and confident in a right-handed world.

Lauren Milsom has worked with left-handed children for over 20 years, is co-founder of the Left-Handers Association, the leading organisation for left-handers worldwide, and a Director of Anything Left-Handed, providing equipment and advice to left-handers for over 35 years. In this book she offers a fantastic insight into a left-handed child’s perspective, covering aspects such as:-

  • Development of left-handedness
  • Pre-school development
  • Strategies for everyday life
  • Left-handedness in school
  • Sport
  • Music
  • Practical and educational resources

Essential skills such as writing and cutting are covered in detail with beautiful illustrations and clear, concise explanations. However, this book goes much further than any previous work into the many and varied challenges your little left-hander will encounter on a daily basis, from starting to feed themselves to their senior school years. Lauren offers simple advice and techniques – many drawing on the strengths left-handers share for lateral and creative thinking, and building on our inherent adaptability to overcome and avoid myriad small frustrations. The aim is to ensure your child develops a positive approach to problem-solving and always considers their left-handedness a strength rather than a problem.

The need for such guidance has become increasingly obvious in recent years. Drawing on results of a unique study among left-handed students, this book details difficulties and bias in areas of the curriculum not previously considered as problems, but which affect many left-handed students on a daily basis.

Lauren explains From a detailed survey of over 2,000 schoolchildren, the feedback brought to light difficulties in a wide range of subjects, such as IT, Art, Science and Design Technology, often relating specifically to poor layout or equipment with a strong right-bias. It was obvious suggestions and solutions were needed to overcome difficulties not just in core skills for young children, but in these specialist subjects encountered by older students.”

Examples of Right-bias in school

Computer Mouse – If your left-handed student has more control of the mouse in his left hand, add a simple piece of software to the desktop to swap the functionality of the two buttons so they work correctly in the left-hand.

Desk positioning – To avoid knocking elbows and cramped desk space, sit left-handed students at the left of a double desk, or at the left end or a row. If chairs with hinged writing tablets are used, always ensure there are enough left-handed ones for those students who need them – remember they are often too embarrassed to ask, and should never be sent off around the school looking for the odd left-handed desk that might be spare.

Workbooks and binders – Printed workbooks or test papers often have the questions in the left column and answer space on the right, so left-handers are constantly covering up the questions, or they may be too far to the left of the desk to read easily. A second question sheet positioned to the right of the answer space can help. The bindings and spiral binding on pads are underneath the left-hand, so if note-taking is uncomfortable your child could try making Mind Maps with the notebook turned landscape – it also appeals to lefties creativity and visual thinking.

Using the whiteboard – Left-handed students should stand at the right of the whiteboard, with their writing arm out to their left and underneath their writing or drawing. Otherwise, their hand will follow behind their work, and immediately erase what they are writing!

Science – Left-handers pour and stir with their left hand so keep all chemicals, ingredients and tools to the left during experiments. When working in pairs, the left-hander should stand to the left to avoid knocking elbows. Microscopes and other equipment with controls on the right side are harder for the left-hander to reach and control.

Design Technology / metalwork / woodwork – Check safety overrides on heavy machinery and power tools can be reached by a left-hander in an emergency. They are usually positioned for a right-hander’s safety so can be hard for lefties to reach. Workshop and equipment layout for right-handers’ ease often means left-handers don’t have room to work, so attempt to use powerful and dangerous tools backwards” crossing their arms over their body or using their weaker hand – both very dangerous.

Food Tech – As with kitchens at home, many food preparation implements such as kitchen scissors, peelers, can openers and serrated knives are right-handed, and thus awkward to use for a left-hander, slowing them down and causing more accidents.

“Your Left-Handed Child” is an invaluable handbook that you will keep referring to through the many stages of your child’s life.

About the Author

For the past 20 years Lauren Milsom has helped her family run the world’s original left-handed shop – the much-loved Anything Left-Handed Shop which was in central London since 1968 – only closing it last year to concentrate on the company’s successful worldwide internet business. Lauren is a leading expert on many aspects of left-handedness and, with her husband Keith, formed the Left-Handers Association in 1989, a pressure group and information source for improvements in product design, the teaching of writing and other skills.

In 1990 she was instrumental in the launch of Left-Handers Day, an annual awareness day on 13th August which is still celebrated by sinistrals worldwide to highlight the creativity, artistic talent and adaptability of left-handers. She runs the advice and information pages on left-handed websites, and and contributes to the monthly e-newsletter sent to over 140,000 Left-Handers Club members worldwide. Lauren is a regular guest on TV and radio discussions and writes articles for health, education and family publications.

128 pages full colour £9.95 for the Ebook download version

This is a download document, NOT a physical book that will be posted to you. Once you complete your payment you will be sent a link by email that will allow you to download the document as an Adobe PDF file (see note below) and you can then read the document on your computer or other devices or print it on your own printer.

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13 comments on “Your Left Handed Child
  1. Cassie says:

    My son is three years old, and I’m
    Not sure what hand he is. He eats left, draws left, but can use a mouse like no bodies business
    With his right. When will I be able to tell for sure which hand he favors?
    He has a great grandma that is left and his dad has two left handed cousins, so no
    Surprise if he is left.

    • Brenda says:

      Your son is left handed, however he must’ve developed using a mouse in his right hand. I’m left handed and I use the mouse in my right hand. The mouse is made for right handed people. If the mouse isn’t wireless (meaning it doesn’t have chords) then he would’ve put it in his left if he’s comfortable however if it does have wires and its on the right he will use it in his right. Your son is comfortable in using his right hand when on the computer. even for a leftie it feels weird putting it in my left because I’m so use to the right handed world. your son won’t be left handed in ALL things. probably just a few.

  2. Orville says:

    It all boils down to what suits the individual. As a teacher of music, I have come across
    students playing recorder in the standard way and sounding quite tentative in the playing
    of some notes, and I have also seen others playing in the non-standard way with the notes
    sounding very distinct.

  3. Tracey says:

    Hi I have a son who is four and a half, he is in full time education and has been using his left hand which is his dominating hand for everything from picking things up, eating and writing, his teacher said he is not left handed until I went into the school and kicked up a fuss saying he has to use which ever hand he feels more comfortable using. This situation has now proved that he is a left hander, I was helping him to write his name where as we right from the left to the right he goes from the right to the left and also every letter of his name is spelt backwards, I have asked his teacher for help as was told thats normal, well my daughter is nearly 13 and she is right handed like myself and I can not remember her ever writing her name right to left and backwards, any ideas on how to help him write and any other tips for me to help him in anything he does would be very much appreciated. Thank you all

    • Andrea says:

      Hi, Tracey! As I was reading your statement I remembered that hapenned the same thing to me when I was a child and was learning to write. I ´m the only lefty in family as well and the teacher said the same to my mom. The teacher was right….suddenly I began to write as a right and she explained that I was repeating the attitude of the other children and that children usuaaly do it! Be calm!
      Regards from Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

  4. Ken Johnson says:

    I don’t know whether parents need this pointed out, but in my limited experience teachers do not have a clue how to teach left handed children to write and don’t much care either. If a child is left handed you need to show him how to use a pen: keep your hand below the writing line, don’t press too hard, try to make your handwriting a work of art, and so forth. If you don’t, the kid will start to write with a peculiar “hooked” movement and will never be able to write clearly and distinctly.

  5. Charlie says:

    My Granddaughter is left handed and she is now 14 and in the 8th grade and she enjoys sports basketball and volleyball in both of these sports she was told to use her right hand, it realy upsets me they are trying to change her, to me it is saying being left-handed is not okay and that they are discriminating against her, it is hard enough to be left handed when most everything is for right-handed people. My Granddaughter would like to be in baseball but she feels awkward in holding the bat so she won’t take it, the coaches have her feeling inferior, in her recent games of volley-ball she was playing one to 2 games out of five and others never sat down so my daughter asked the coatch why she was not playing more games because we feel she does a good job, her coach made a comment that the reason was that my Granddaughter was having trouble with whats left and right , she was suppose to rotate left around the volley-ball court and she at times would move right and the coach said she could play more if she got this right. I have a (Question could this have to do with being left handed why it is confusing to her why she goes right and not left?) I think it is a dumb reason why she can’t play more games when the Coach also said my Granddaughter was one of there stongest players. Schools should be more Educated in the art of left-handed people and have all things set up to make it easier for them so they can live easier in a right-handed world but instead they try to change them they don”t understand lack of education on left handed persons. I hope you can answer my question above about moving right instead of left.

    • Ken Johnson says:

      You really need to tell the teachers where to get off. Ask once, then if they don’t change their attitude immediately, withdraw your child from their classes and make a complaint in writing by registered post to the Chairman of the Education Committee, with a copy to the Headmaster. In my experience that usually works.

      My dad was far from being a radical — he once refused to go on strike in case it upset the bosses — but his instructions to me, the left handed kid, was that if any teacher asked me to use my right hand instead of my left, I was to get up, walk out of class and go home. He was right, too. Give his advice to your child.

  6. sharon says:

    I was a left handed child, and it was horrible going through school with right handed people. And even shoping NOW is hard. For most everything is for right handed people. But I love being left hand for WE are different, and that is what makes the world go round. I had to learn to do things different growing up. And it was hard. And it still is at time’s.
    But us left handed people stand out!!!

  7. Charlies mum says:

    Having lived with being a lefty for a fair few years now I had forgotten just how difficult things can be. My biggest problem was always cutting with scissors but I couldn’t work out why until my mum bought me my lefty scissors and I realised it was as simple as the blades crossing differently. Kettles, mixers and all sorts of electrical things often have measures on only one side but could quite easily accommodate them on both. It’s better now than a few years ago but could still be better. My son started off drawing and eating left handed but when he went to nursery he gradually changed and now struggles with writing and drawing and I think it’s probably too late for him as he’s almost 11 now, although he still eats left handed. Embrace and encourage in whatever ways you can. I do different things with different hands but still have my original lefty scissors. However give me a spoon and a fork to eat with and it totally confuses me and I have to swap them at least twice until I feel comfortable :o). This book sounds absolutely invaluable and informative and completely practical. May even buy it for me!!!

  8. Tiff says:

    I have a three year old who is left-handed, and I will definitely be buying this book! I’m so glad I stumbled across your site…it’s such a relief to know that there are lots of materials I can use to help him as he grows. We home school, so it was especially important to me to find something like this.

    And the reason it’s so much more expensive on the US site is simple: The dollar is simply worth a LOT less than the British pound now. Bummer for us Americans, for sure!

  9. Claire says:

    I have a 6 year old boy who has always been left handed. His teacher in year R dismissed me each time I talked to her about it saying that in her opinion he was far too young to have a dominant hand! Now that he is year 1 his teacher is much more open and on the ball. Tomorrow, I will be buying 2 copies of the book: 1 for me and 1 for the school! As I don’t know any other left handed people, I rely entirely on this website to help me help my son. So thankyou!

  10. Laura says:

    I’ve been wondering if there was anything like this available! I’m a lefty and I’m pretty sure that one of my twins is too (yippee!). I have 20-month-old twin girls, non-identical so it’s not down to the mirror-twin thing that I’ve heard about.
    I struggled quite a bit when I was younger as I was the only lefty in the family, so had nobody to show me the left-handed way to do things, like tying shoelaces (which I still do “funny” apparently!) and knitting – I hold the needles right-handed but do all the work with my left hand so my tension is never quite right!
    I don’t want to go down the route of getting left-handed versions of absolutely everything for my daughter, as I don’t think that would help her in the real world, but I will get her some left-handed scissors and knives as I have some myself and wouldn’t be without them! Everything else I’ll show her how to use, e.g. can openers etc which I personally don’t have a problem with (in fact I tried to use a left-handed one once and was completely flummoxed!).
    I love being a lefty and am so chuffed to have a lefty child at last – my 3 others are all righties!