Any Questions ?!
19th November 2013 at 10.48 am / Thibaut
Comment in response to the article 05. Any Questions?!
Hello. Being left-eyed, right-handed and of indeterminate side-dominance regarding my feet (I rely equally on either foot; I have no preference as to which foot is in front in snowboarding), could all this have an influence on my lifestyle and health? For instance, I regularly have silly and perfectly avoidable accidents. I also suffer from a chronic concentration deficit that has not prevented me from being a successful student but does prevent me from leading a normal professional life. I am accused of doing everything the wrong way round, whereas this wrong way round does seem logical to me; I constantly feel like I’m working against the tide. I have neither the mind of an artist nor that of a scientist but instead have a tendency towards the rational and methodical aspects of the scientist’s mind coupled with a certain creativity often perceived as incompatible with so-called stringent tasks… Could these personality features come from my “indeterminate” left/right-sidedness? Thank you in advance.
Your testimonial is particularly interesting as you fit in this large category of right-handed and left-eyed individuals, i.e. about 52% of the 84% of right-handers in Europe!
It sounds like you do have a preference for your hands and your eyes, though. So you are not ambidextrous. Many imagine that the hand’s laterality is predominant. Yet the eye’s is crucial as it is directly related to our space-time representation, including at a symbolic level.
Indeed, we generally think like we read and write, that is to say, from left to right, as per our conventional right-handed system. The latter is particularly coherent for right-handed and right-eyed people, as the hand and the eye work in an opening left-to-right directional dynamic. Hence all is well for your right hand; it writes in its opening direction.
On the other hand, if your leading eye is the left one, it will read what is written or follow what you are writing in a closing direction since its opening direction is right-to-left (cf. mirror writing suitable to the left hand as well as to a leading left eye => Leonardo da Vinci). This direction is the opposite of that of the right-handers. And when the eye functions in a closing direction, it often feels like it is “pushing” or “rowing against the tide”. It must make a great effort. Some left-eyed individuals even experience headaches, ophthalmic pains, slow or broken-up reading and do not enjoy reading; they can even give up and fail… For others, this will have an impact on their space-time representation, therefore on their thinking and their symbolic representation.
For example, in line with our system, we think from left to right, with the past on the left, the future on the right, the “minus infinity” on the left and the “plus infinity” on the right. Yet, subconsciously, the left eye would like to see space-time the other way round. As this is subconscious, the mind superimposes both representations and is in a complete state of confusion. For instance, it can have finished, have the solution to a problem before it has even started. The beginning is the end and the end is the beginning!
As they work in a closing direction, against the tide, left-eyed people often have a tense, forced, tiring and short-lived concentration. As you say, they feel like they do everything the wrong way round because the system is so for them…
This is why I have developed laterapedagogy / lateratherapy so as to enable left-handed and/or left-eyed people to find the diagnosis of their true laterality, to rehabilitate their true laterality with concrete tools to adapt to the system without strain while respecting the way their brains work. You will find all these suggestions in Gauchers en difficulté… published by P. Téqui.
Do not hesitate to contact me again to let me know how you progress and please let me have your email address so I can reply to you.
Joëlle Morice Mugnier
Following a visit at an acupuncturist and osteopath, I discovered that I was a corrected left-hander. This has the following consequences: issues with laterality, spatial awareness, fatigue, sciatica, misalignment around the sacrum area, etc. I had never been aware of being left-handed before, but since this visit and some osteopathic
exercises that enable me to correct myself, I am progressively finding a new use for my left hand.
I am also becoming aware of very simple things: my strongest eye has always been my left one, ditto for my ears. I cut my food with my left hand, etc.
Even if my back hurts less and less, I still experience fatigue. I have read that corrected left-handers (this is also my osteopath’s theory) put 40% more energy than others in daily tasks. I very much feel that my vital energy is blocked for that reason. Or wasted in unnecessary efforts…
There seems to exist exercises designed to help corrected left-handers regain their dexterity and energy. Like writing with the left hand. Do you know of any other exercises? Do you have testimonials from people who have regained their energy in this way and how?
Thank you in advance for any pointers…
Yes, left-handers often spend more energy than right-handers because, for many everyday gestures but also to read, write and even think, they “row against the tide”: the normal tide for them goes from right to left. Many blocks, inhibitions, physical problems and aches can result from functioning in a closing rather than an opening direction.
You are right to think that using your left hand is a good start for a left-hander to find a sense of balance and unity. This is often not enough.
With laterapedagogical tools, I suggest that left-handers try drawing loops, bridges and so on and even write from right to left on a tracing-paper notebook. (Right-handers can read the text by turning the page over.) This way, if the left eye is the leading eye, it will also follow the motion in an opening direction. Left-handers thus use their brain functions correctly. Regularly using their right-to-left space also allows the left-hander to have a good posture because, by writing from left to right like right-handers, even with their left hand, left-handers usually twist their spine, which can lead to a scoliosis.
At a psychological level, several of my patients have been able to release their vital energy thanks to these exercises because, for the first time, they have allowed themselves to have a different space-time representation, now seeing the minus sign on the right rather than on the left, and their future on the left rather than on the right! The frustration to have to read, write and think from left to right can have such a far-reaching impact.
I hope you make this great experience, too.
Joëlle Morice Mugnier
My daughter is in Key Stage 1 and is struggling with learning to read. She is left-handed (the only one in the family), which we realised quite early on. (The crèche staff noticed it before she was 2.) On the other hand, she has been diagnosed as an exceptionally and profoundly gifted child. She doesn’t have any major difficulties but I think that they may be linked to her left-handedness: there was a particular exercise where she had to find a word from reversed syllables, and she never read so easily! Would you have any advice?
To me, your daughter illustrates exactly how left-handers are always “frustrated” as they evolve in a right-handers’ society. She is no longer frustrated in terms of hand use to write, but remains so with regards to the conventional left-right writing and reading direction.
Additionally, if her left eye seems to lead, she “pushes” the letters and reads in a closing direction when she should read from right to left in an opening direction. This is probably why she experiences difficulties with the usual left-to-right reading while finding it much easier to read “backwards”, which is the right way round for her, as for many other left-handers! Could you send me the exercise that was presented to your daughter and let me know the teacher’s motivations for it? This would be of great interest to me and would help me with my research.
In my book Gauchers en difficulté – La latérapédagogie, une richesse inexploitée, published by Pierre Téqui (www.librairietequi.com), you will find exercises designed to help with reading. Finally, a writing workbook with reading tips should be published at the beginning of the next school year.
Please feel free to let your child experiment with these suggested exercises and to let me know your feedback. Do let me know if you have any further questions.
Joëlle Morice Mugnier
I have just finished reading Comprendre et accompagner l’élève gaucher and Gauchers en difficulté….
My 4-year-old daughter is left-handed. She has progressively been giving up writing in a mirror-like way since she went back to school in September. (She is in an English school and is already learning to read and write.)
What position should I take with regards to this change?
Many thanks for your reply.
Audrey (primary school teacher)
You say that your daughter is left-handed and that her writing habits have shifted not only to her dominant hand but also to the correct corresponding direction, that is, from right to left, the mirror-image of right-handers’ writing. You have then noticed that she had adapted to the right-handed system by writing and starting to read from left to right.
To answer your query, I suggest you check how this adaptation is happening:
First of all, pay attention to the way she is spoken to: “If you write from left to right, it’s good, but the other way round is or was backwards, not good, not normal, incorrect…” or, as with the example in my book, “2+1 is not 3!” because she has written the 3 the other way round!
It is then important to tell her, on the contrary, that to write from right to left is normal, good, the “right way round” for a left-hander; it is her opening direction. From a psychological point of view, this is really important.
Secondly, invite her to draw pregraphics (loops, bridges, bowls) in both joined-up and print style, and in “boustrophedon”, i.e. in “oscillating” arabesques. As explained in the book, the person does one line from right to left and the next from left to right, etc. This avoids twisting the wrist into a “swan’s neck” as for the first line from right to left, the hand is correctly placed under the characters and, as it keeps going, it stays there for the left-to-right direction.
Similarly, your daughter will thus get used to a flexible movement for the writing of joined-up letters later.
By doing this, both her eyes are working: check that for writing from right to left, her left eye follows the movement, and for the left-to-right movement, encourage her to switch to her right eye (even though she is still writing with her left hand). Thus for the right-to-left direction, the left eye is the engine and the right eye the carriage; for the left-to-right direction, the right eye is the engine and the left eye the carriage that gently follows.
All this to progressively prepare her for reading. It is indeed very likely that, since her right eye has learnt to be the engine to follow her left-to-right writing movement, it accepts to remain so to read everything that is written from left to right. But here again, this needs to be checked because it would be harmful to let the left eye be the dominant one again as this is what generally causes the person to experience fatigue, tension, headaches and eye pain, read slowly and in a broken-up fashion, struggle with reading, need to read a sentence up to 4 or 5 times to understand it… and eventually dislike reading and give up, and possibly do poorly at school (as a worst case scenario!).
To avoid this, if the left eye resists giving up its dominant role, you can suggest various strategies, using engines and carriages cut out of cardboard and writing the letters L for left and R for right, along with a big arrow, placing them according to what you request. Bear in mind that for children that cannot quite read yet, these exercises can be done with “reading” first or to visually follow joined-up loops.
Three options can be offered to your child:
- Both eyes act as simultaneous “engines”: i.e. she puts the same amount of energy into both eyes when reading. Both eyes work “hand in hand” to read together from the beginning of the line until the end. The workload is shared between both eyes.
- Or both eyes act as “engines” again, but they take it in turns. The workload is shared between both eyes but this time one after the other, so that the left eye starts to read the first half or so of the line, then the right eye takes over, and so on for each line.
- Or the right eye becomes the “engine” and the left eye the carriage, for reading only, because the right eye is normally meant to read texts from left to right. So even if her right eye is not the leading eye, ask her to turn her head slightly to the left so that her right eye faces the beginning of the line. She can assist the left-to-right motion of her right eye by moving her head along with it, as if “sweeping” the text.
She will then make her choice and use the strategy that suits her best.
Over time, thanks to this repetitive technique (refocussing her awareness at the beginning of each line), your daughter should gain a better level of concentration, feeling as though she is “driving” her reading, which will in turn become more flexible and faster with time.
Finally, check that, when she holds a book in her hands, she centres the left page, then the right page when reading. It is best for the text or column to be read always to be in the centre.
In conclusion, while she experiments with strategies to adapt to the system, I can but recommend that, if she sometimes feels tired, your daughter keeps using her right-to-left opening direction for graphics (loops, bridges, bowls…) with her left hand and left eye. This will allow her brain to relax.
I would be grateful if you would let me know how your daughter progresses, and do let me know if I can be of further assistance. Good luck to both of you!
Joëlle Morice Mugnier
I am left-handed and have always written backwards, i.e. from right to left and from bottom to top. Seen upside down, a person in front of me can read what I write perfectly well as the text is the right way up for them. I cannot write the other way round because that for me is behind.
Could you tell me why I write like this? To date, I have never met anyone who wrote like this. Thank you in advance for your explanations regarding this unusual way. Why can’t I write the right way round?
This to me is indeed an unusual and nonetheless magical way of adapting to the right-handed system!
If I asked you to draw loops in the air in front of you with your left hand, then on paper, starting on the right and going left, what would it be like for you? What do you feel? What would your eyes do while drawing these “pregraphics”? Would your left eye act as an engine pulling towards the left and the right eye be the carriage, or would the right eye be the engine that pushes towards the left and the left eye the carriage?
Also, what do your eyes do when you read a text written from left to right? Does the right eye pull towards the right, or does the left eye push to the right? Is your left eye compellingly attracted to the left? Or are both your eyes acting as engines by sharing the reading workload, at the same time or in turn? (See strategies of adaptation to the right-handed system in Gauchers en difficulté… published by P. Téqui)
If you are comfortable with this bottom-to-top writing habit, there is no reason to change it. This has been your way of adapting to the conventional writing direction. On the other hand, I can but recommend that you use your left hand often in an opening direction, that is, from right to left. This way, your left eye should be happy to function in an opening direction also. In general, left-handers regain comfort, flexibility, relaxation and reassure or reinforce their self-esteem.
Looking forward to hearing from you again!
Joëlle Morice Mugnier
I am left-handed and left-eyed and wondered not so much about the direction of the handwriting but about the position of the page.
So as not to be inconvenienced by my right-handed classmates, I have got used to placing my notebooks “almost” in portrait format. (I therefore write from left to right and from top to bottom, but without writing the letters one below the other. I hope this makes sense…)
Of the left-handers I know, I am the only one to have adopted this strategy; they have a tendency to bend their wrist. I simply cannot write the way they do as I have a very strange way of holding my pen.
I started to place my page that way at a time when I felt fairly depressed. With regards to left-handers’ opening direction, does this have any particular impact? Would it be fair to assume that this choice of writing this way is a symptom of self-withdrawal?
I may be extrapolating here but I wished to have your opinion.
PS: I have tested handwriting from left to right and I do like it. I think I am going to adopt this method to write my own notes. I am familiar with Arabic writing and I have taken classes in Japanese in Sixth Form, but I didn’t feel anything in particular.
This makes perfect sense: your posture and the position of your page mean that you are effectively writing from top to bottom by bringing your arm back towards you. This vertical gesture keeps you from writing in a closing direction towards the right, which is a bit different and does not block your breathing or make you twist your upper body like most left-handers.
There are always ways of interpreting things, of explaining a change one way or another. First, at a functional level, I would probably say that, in an attempt to adapt to the right-handed writing system, you very likely sought a comfort strategy to avoid withdrawing further! Because going back towards oneself (with regards to your writing movement, which is typical of left-handers) is not a sign of withdrawal.
This may also make sense to you, to have felt the need to turn back to yourself at that time, to give yourself particular attention…?
However, given the satisfaction that you have felt when writing from right to left, I would encourage you to alternate both ways of writing so as to gradually become ambicerebral (“brain-ambidextrous”)!
Finally, you mention being left-eyed too. It is therefore a good idea to write from right to left* on occasion so that your left hand as well as your left eye may work together in an opening direction to the left.
And to read, even if it is not the dominant one, do not hesitate to use your right eye as the leading engine; this way, the left eye can rest and no longer pushes the text in a closing direction. Generally speaking, the resulting reading is more fluid and the concentration / memorisation improves.
* For those who are not quite able to write words or sentences from right to left, I simply advise to make series of joint-up loops, bridges, etc. The benefits to the brain and cognitive processes are identical.
See Gauchers en difficulté – La latérapédagogie, une richesse inexploitée, published by Pierre Téqui.
Joëlle Morice Mugnier