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Determining Right or Left Hand Dominance

January 29th, 2015

This email just came in … I am concerned about my grandson who turns 5 in May. He is a capable little boy who has very poor fine motor skills and uses both hands to write. He plays the piano nicely and some say that helps fine motor skills. To write he uses both hands randomly with a very poor grip. How can we decide his better hand to practice with?

I do have a few Sesame Street number books with samples and spaces to copy the numbers after tracing them. However I need to determine his preferred hand and have him use only it for practice and also use a proper grip. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Thanks a bunch,


summer activities for kids

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Hand Dominance

Before we get into handedness, it is important to realize that hand dominance typically emerges between the ages of two and four. In fact, most children will have determined their hand dominance before entering Kindergarten at age five.

Determining Hand Dominance

One thing to look at when determining which hand is the preferred is to watch him when he gets up from a seated position to walk. Another thing to watch is which foot he leads with when going up stairs. Does he lead with his right foot or left? More often than not you are right footed and right handed OR left footed and left handed. You want to watch without him knowing so he is naturally doing it. The majority of people are right-handed and about 30% of the population changes hand preferences when doing a variety of tasks. They are considered mixed-handed or ambidextrous. Take some time with this observation – say at least a week. That should give you a very good idea of which he is. If he seems to be ambidextrous I would teach him to write with his right hand because the majority of the population is right handed.

Great pencil grips that make it easy to hold the pencil correctly can be found here. They are my favorite kind. I also use Handwriting Without Tears for teaching writing. They have a kindergarten level.

auditory processing
hand dominance

Hand Dominance and Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic Processing

Another thing you may want to do is to work on all of the sensory motor areas. We do this with our Awaken the Scholar Within VAK (Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic) Program. Early intervention makes life-long learning easier. This program provides numerous activities to improve tactile kinesthetic processing including fine motor skills as well as the visual and auditory processing skills that he would benefit from. It is a 12 week program delivered via video lessons that you watch – teaching you what to do & how to do it. You work with him about 20 minutes a day. Here is a link to the ASW VAK Program.

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