July 12, 2024

My child is left-handed: should we be wary of a priori?

In 2001, you published a book on ideas about left-handed people. Do you feel that mentalities have evolved?
Marie-Alice Du Pasquier-Grall : The situation has changed a lot. In recent years, children have been free to write with the hand of their choice. But there remains a vague concern about the occurrence of a left-handed person in the family. We still hear that this or that teacher encourages his students to use the right hand. Overall, however, the debate is more peaceful.
Do these fears have a foundation?
Left-handed people are in a minority position, and the difference is something that bothers. However, of objective reason to this apprehension, there is none! To orient oneself on one side rather than the other is a natural phenomenon, the human body is asymmetrical. It has been said that the left-handers are more clumsy and dyslexic; Likewise, they have sometimes been described as geniuses, but they are no more gifted than right-handers.
Does the left-to-right writing system not cause more difficulties for left-handed children?
No, it is not because one is left-handed that one will encounter writing problems; these are explained on the level of language, but have nothing to do with laterality. Certainly, during the learning phase, a child who holds his pencil with his left hand does not see what he writes, unlike the right-hander. But the solution is pedagogy: it is enough to teach him to position himself well. The problem is that one tends to think writing in terms of forms, whereas it is a movement on the line, in connection with the rhythm of the language that it inscribes.
What advice to give to parents?
If a child is left-handed, do not make a big deal of it, but just help him, as you do with a right-handed person. Left-handed people, too, have the right to be taken into account!

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