This is the United Kingdom website

Stay on the United Kingdom websiteor Switch to the United States website

Understanding Left-Handedness in Children

Left-handedness is a fascinating aspect of human diversity, observed as early as in the womb. About 10% of babies prefer sucking their left thumb, a preference that persists into adulthood. This left-handed trait is more common in males than females and is usually established by the end of the first year.

Challenges and Triumphs for Left-Handed Children

Left-handed children often face unique challenges in a world designed for right-handed people. Everyday tasks like using scissors or a computer mouse can be tricky. Writing, in particular, can be difficult as left-handed children may hold their pen awkwardly to get the right angle, leading to smudged and untidy handwriting. However, these children frequently develop remarkable resilience and creativity, excelling in various fields.

Notable Left-Handed Achievers

Many left-handed individuals are high achievers in sports, music, art, and mathematics. For instance, Albert Einstein, a left-hander, translated his visionary ideas into groundbreaking mathematical theories. This aligns with studies suggesting that mathematically gifted individuals often show a preference for their left hand. Left-handed musicians like Bach, Mozart, and modern artists such as Paul McCartney and Phil Collins have also left a significant mark on the world of music.

Educational Implications of Left and Right Brain Dominance

Understanding brain dominance can be crucial in tailoring education to meet each child's needs. Right-brained children, who might be more hands-on and artistic, often excel in subjects like Geography and Geometry. In contrast, left-brained children, who prefer structured, step-by-step learning, might thrive in subjects like History and Algebra.

While these tendencies can guide educational strategies, it's important to remember that most children use both sides of their brains to solve problems. This holistic brain usage is why a balanced approach in education, incorporating both arts and sciences, is beneficial.

Creating a Supportive Learning Environment

To support left-handed children, parents and educators can:

-Provide left-handed tools such as scissors and ergonomic pens.
-Encourage activities that develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
-Be patient and understanding of the unique challenges they face, especially in writing.
-The Importance of a Rich Sensory Environment

Research highlights the importance of early life experiences in brain development. Exposing babies and preschool children to diverse sensory experiences can enhance whole brain development and foster receptive learning. Activities that engage their interests are particularly effective in stimulating both sides of the brain.


Understanding left-handedness and brain dominance helps parents and educators create supportive and enriching environments for all children. By recognizing and nurturing each child's unique strengths and challenges, we can help them reach their full potential in both academic and creative pursuits.

Adapted from Left or Right Brain Dominant? By Dr Lin Day 2009 (Updated August 2021)

Return to news page