Don Lists Risks Of Discriminating Against Left-Handed Children

babcock UniversityPARENTS have been warned to desist from the practice of forcing left-handed children to change to the use of right hands, as this will lead to neurological, intellectual and psychological damages to the affected person.

The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Babcock University, Prof. Iheanyichukwu Okoro, issued the warning while delivering his paper titled, “The Hand That Handles The Scalpel” at the 5th University Inaugural Lecture, held at the campus, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State.

He also admonished people not to treat affectations of the hand with levity.   He noted that small cuts and abscess may escalate and lead to severe disability if not properly handled by well-trained medical personnel.   Okoro stated that left-handed people have suffered unfair discrimination in many parts of the world because they were regarded as clumsy, awkward or even unlucky, noting that many of the tools in this technological age have bias towards right-handed people.

Said he, “In many countries including Nigeria, left-handers are forced to change to right. It is a taboo or mark of disrespect to collect something from an adult with the left hand. In some parts of Eastern Nigeria, a stone is tied to the left hand to prevent the child from using it.

“Thus, such individuals are forced to change to the supposed correct hand, which is the right. Such children suffer severe psychological damage and are made to feel inferior. Even the change eventually occurs, the child may suffer some neurological deficits because both cerebral hemispheres are now being overtasked.”

The Don revealed that one of such major consequence of change is spatial disorientation (uncertainty concerning the left and right).   “There may be a delay in initiating writing with the newly adopted hand. In a study of 11,847, 11-year old pupils across the United Kingdom demonstrated that those children whose writing hand were different from the superior hand obtained lower test scores in both reading and in mathematics than pupils with consistent writing hand and superior hand.

“Thus, children who retained their left hands as the writing hand but have been forced to use their right hands for other skillful tasks were negatively affected by the change. Therefore children born with left-handed orientation should be left alone. That is how their brains are configured,” he stated.

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