Ambidextrous kids, why don’t they develop laterality?
Although normally with the passage of time we tend to be left-handed or right-handed, there are people who since childhood use both hands.
Until not long ago, it was very common to notice the hands of children while they carried out their tasks. It was intended that the children always work with the right hand. Doctors, teachers and other professionals recommended that parents force children to be right-handed, even when they showed a clear predominance and better execution with the left hand.
Today we know that being left-handed does not entail any type of problem, beyond some barriers that can be found with certain objects or instruments designed for right-handed people, since it is the most abundant condition. The important thing is to have a good lateralization. However, what happens when a child does not lateralize throughout their development and presents as ambidextrous?
Laterality is the preference of use of one of the parts of the human body over the other. It is normal for humans to use more of one part of the body. The process by which it develops is called lateralization and depends on our functioning at the brain level.
We distinguish different types of laterality:
– Normal laterality consists of the dominance of only one of the sides of the body. In this case, the right side or the left side may predominate.
– Cross laterality occurs when there is a priority use of an element on one side and another on the other side, for example, that a person is right-handed but left-handed standing.
– Mixed or incomplete predominance occurs when the preference is not constant, but changes over time. It is possible that children use their right hand for a time and later their left and that this predominance will change.
– Finally, ambiestrality refers to the ability to use the limbs on one side of the body interchangeably.
We might think that being ambidextrous is the ideal situation. That a person can use both sides of his body interchangeably may seem an advantage a priori. Nothing is further from reality.
Young children are always ambidextrous. When observing a baby we can observe how they use both hands, both legs interchangeably … In fact, if they did not do so, it would be an alarm signal to take into account to assess the existence of some type of motor problem, such as Paralysis Infant Brain. Therefore, for young children to be ambidextrous, it is normal.
This condition can extend throughout the first few years. The lateralization process can be extended during the first six years . During this time, it would be a mistake to force a child to use one or the other side of his body, as was done in the past. In this way, it is possible that contrary lateralities are reached, that is, that a child gets used to using the part of his body that does not correspond to his brain function.
Therefore, during these first years of life, we must allow children to use both hands interchangeably. Throughout their psychomotor development, they will gradually lateralize until they establish their proper laterality.
BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CHILD APPEARS TO BE AMBIDEXTROUS BEYOND THE AGE OF SIX?
In this case we must help you establish your own laterality. The main guideline is to encourage not the hand that they use the most, but the one with which they carry out a better execution. That is, we should not look at the amount of movements they make with a part of their body, since it is possible that they are doing it by simple observation and imitation. We must promote quality rather than quantity.
It is estimated that only one percent of the population is truly ambidextrous, because there is no predominant side in their brain.
CONSEQUENCES OF BEING AMBIDEXTROUS
This lateralization process is very important in later psychomotor development. In addition, it is also important in future learning. There are multiple studies that seem to associate ambidextrous people with certain special characteristics, both personality characteristics, for example being more critical and analytical. But it is not a direct or clear relationship.
What is more proven are the consequences of being ambidextrous on learning . Ambidexterity or poorly established lateralizations are closely linked to learning difficulties such as Dyslexia or disorders such as Attention Deficit with or without Hyperactivity (ADHD) .
WHO SHOULD WE TURN TO
Throughout the first six years of life, Early Care professionals can help children establish their laterality. During that time and later, when it may be necessary to correct certain patterns and act in a more specific way, psychologists, psychomotorists or occupational therapists will be in charge of intervening in the most appropriate way with these children.
Dr. Tabriella Perivolaris, Sara's mother and fan of fashion, beauty, motherhood, among others, about the female universe. Since 2018 she has been working as a copywriter, always bringing to her articles a little of her experience and experience as a mother and woman.