What is Hand Dominance?
Hand dominance simply means that a person prefers to use one hand for most things involving motor skills, especially smaller, more intricate skills.
It was once believed that being left-handed meant there was damage to the brain that forced a person to use the left hand. We now know that is not the case. By the time your child is 18 months old, he or she may be showing a hand preference.
To get an idea, watch and see what hand your child uses to grab things. Look and see which hand holds the finger food or spoon. What hand does your child use to pick up blocks? Whichever hand your child prefers, that is his or her dominant hand, and there is no reason to make any attempt to try and change it. Although hand dominance usually starts to appear by 18 months, some children take longer and are not yet sure at 4 to 6 years. If they are starting to write, they will probably prefer a hand and you will see it then.
Should or Can I Change My Child’s Dominant Hand?
Writing is a process of the greatest complexity. Moreover, because it involves many different brain functions, it is also one of the most difficult tasks which needs to practised.
Dominant Hand: Hand you use for everyday tasks e.g. Right hand
Non-Dominant Hand: in this case would be left hand.
The pre-dominant use of the non-dominant hand leads to complex functional disturbances, inhibitions, blockages, and an over-burdening of the entire brain. During writing, the greatest variety of skills are practised and put to use. These include the fine motor skills, visual discrimination, left to right tracking, speech, the pictorial representation of imagination of the series of letters as well as the simultaneous chain of thoughts, associations, graphic representations, memories, and recall of previously learned material which also run throughout.
Because there are so many complexities involved, it is highly recommended to avoid messing with Nature. Overburdening a child by asking him/her to switch hands can lead to tremendous disturbances.
The possible primary consequences of switching dominant hands are as follows:
1) Memory disorders (especially in the recall of learned material)
2) Disturbances in concentration (being easily tired)
3) Legasthenic problems or dyslexia (i.e. problems in reading and writing)
4) Spatial disorientation (uncertainty concerning the left and right)
5) Disorders in fine motor skills that manifest themselves in handwriting
6) Disturbances in speech (ranging from stammering through stuttering)
- An Excerpt from research by “Linkshaender-beratung” Germany
My take on this is that let your child be. Does it matter if your child uses right or left as long as the child is enjoying himself and doing the everyday tasks well?
Also read: Schooling Begins At Home
Explore the entire collection of articles: Early Learning & Brain Development