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                    Left-Handed Writing . . . 

Designed by Lisa Marnell, MS, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist

Q: My son is left-handed and he looks very awkward and uncomfortable when he tries to write. His writing is quite illegible as well. Is there anything that I can do to make writing easier for him to master?


Writing from left to right, as we do in English, allows a right-handed person to look at his writing as it progresses. A "lefty", however, has difficulty visually monitoring handwriting since his hand covers his writing. Because of this, "lefties" can develop some bad habits.

These bad habits include: 

1- A hooked grasp - the wrist bends forward (this positions a child's fingers above his writing and allows him to see what he or she is writing). This is a bad position for writing since it does not allow efficient finger control for letter formation.

2- An "ulnar" grasp - the child holds the pencil with all four fingers along the shaft. The pinky is

closest to the pencil tip. This grasp is undesirable because the pinky guides the pencil movements

and the hand is unstable. 

Tips for Teaching "Lefties" to Write:

Position the paper on the desk so it is completely left of the child's midline. Never in the

writing process should the left-handed child cross over the midline.

Angle the paper so that it lies parallel to the child's forearm. This is likely to be close to a 45 degree

angle which is a greater angle than "righties" use. To ensure correct positioning, affix tape to the desk to provide an outline of the position in which a paper should lie.






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