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Hello world!

Posted by admin - April 23rd, 2012

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7 Responses to “Hello world!”

  1. Mr WordPress

    Hi, this is a comment.
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  2. anunturi online

    Salut. Interesanta pagina. Itii prezint o pagina de anunturi gratuite: anunturi gratuite

  3. bpalma

    Thanks, I have more published articles I can post with the permission of the magazine involved. B

  4. Beverley Blount

    Tips for right-handed parents with left-handed children and left-handed parents with right-handed children and for all their children.
    (And for all teachers.)


    The comments and tips I am sharing in this article are from experiences I have had during my more than 40 years as a Montessori teacher and director. I’ve incorporated many suggestions from long ago by other experienced teachers, therapists, and psychologists and tried to adapt them to each individual child’s necessities.
    “Beverley, did you try this?” “Why don’t you do this?” “Put a dot on the side of his notebook where they should start writing.” Many of the suggestions came from now faceless and nameless shadows from the past, but those tips that worked will never be forgotten.
    I especially wish to thank Mrs. Else Overdyke, my Montessori mentor, for the insightful training she gave us 45 years ago in the Peterson School in Mexico City and psychologist Marike Van Linden, herself a Montessori child, who taught us to combine practicality with philosophy. Also, Nan Madden of Mission Bay Montessori of San Diego who made me realize how important it was to reverse my movements when dealing with a child whose dominant hand was the opposite of my own. My teachers at the Montessori Western Teacher Training Course and Marsha and Phil Gang of “The Institute for Educational Studies” and their team that guided me through my TIES Masters in Montessori Integrated Studies all helped me to open my eyes and try to observe children as Dr. Montessori did.
    Giving presentations using the child’s dominant hand and sitting on his dominant side is now part of many training courses for Montessori teachers but it was not stressed during my first years in Montessori. Times have changed drastically and now there is more and more information and training to help children who before were often left to struggle by on their own.
    I still find that parents often need some kind of “manual” to help them cope with a child whose dominant hand is the opposite of their own and especially help to protect them in a world of opposites.

    Finding Out

    Before starting, it’s necessary to get rid of the words left-handed and right-handed. The proper terms are dominant hand (DH) and sub-dominant hand (SubDH) and this usage will make understanding much easier. Of course, his or her sub-dominant hand is the one that is opposite the dominant one.
    The next thing is to find out which is the child’s DH if it is not yet known. Something that often works for small children is to roll a ball to them 25 times and ask them to kick it back and throw a ball to them 25 times and ask them to throw it back. By counting the times they kick or throw it back with each hand or foot you may get a good idea of which is his/her DH. They may be very dexterous with both hands but usually they kick with their dominant foot.
    Now, when their DH is known for sure, some planning must be done. If their DH is the same as everyone else’s in the family, then no one needs to worry any more. BUT if their DH is different from everyone else’s then changes need to be made in some of the family techniques.
    First of all, establish where the child with the opposite DH is in the family structure. There can be many different positions such as the oldest sibling, middle sibling, smallest sibling and the parents themselves may not have the same DH. Wherever our target child is, everyone in the family, especially the parents, need to know that they must be careful to recognize what hand they are using whenever showing something to him or her.
    The most important rule when dealing with someone who uses the opposite hand from their parent or sibling is that the person showing the child something must use their own hands as if they use the same DH as the child. (Don’t worry about it looking a bit awkward, the child will feel an immense sense of relief when they realize that we have the same problem trying to use our opposite hand as they do trying to copy our hand.)
    Try using their DH for a day or so or make a game with the rest of the family to do things with their SubDH. It can be a lot of fun and not only to show the other children what difficulties their brother or sister faces when trying to copy someone using the reverse hand. It also will give a huge load of confidence to the “odd man out” when they see their family struggling to do things in reverse.
    One must also be very observant of the younger child who may adore his/her older sibling and want to copy everything he or she does. I remember especially a little right-handed girl who wanted to do everything her left-handed brother and father did. The first week of school, she dropped five small jugs of water and I did not realize until much later that she was trying to do everything with her left hand.
    Be sure that the children in the family sit where their knife-cutting hand is next to that edge of the table; on the side of the car where it is most comfortable to open doors and windows; as well as writing where their DH elbow has room and they can place their writing pad at a comfortable angle.
    Often spiral workbooks are especially difficult for left-handed children, their hand may be resting on the spiral. Try turning the book over and start from the back if they are having this problem.
    When they begin to write, sometimes it is necessary to make a small dot on the beginning of each line to help the child find exactly where he or she should start writing. Remember that our left-to right and up to down system is not native to humanity, other cultures use opposite systems such as down to up and right to left.
    A bit of logical thought and observation will make life easier for the child who does not use the hand that is used by the rest of the family. It’s a question of seeing everything in reverse. The problem is much more obvious for a left-handed child in a right-handed world but the opposite is also true and those right-handed children brought up in a left-handed family face the same problems.
    It is an entirely different problem for his/her teacher who does not realize what is happening with a few children in her classroom. She may be doing all her teaching by writing on the chalkboard with the opposite DH of some of her students.
    If you hold up your hand on a chalkboard and write the letter “a” with your right hand, the left-handed child will write it with exactly the same movement and it will come out backward.

    Try it yourself. That will happen with all the letters (except a few like i and l). The child will make his mistake again and again until:
    1. He or she is pronounced “dyslectic” or with learning or reading problems and sent to therapy.
    2. Somehow his/her brain sorts it out for itself and they start writing with inverse movements and the letters come out correctly. Often they have to work with the hand curved around over the top of the letter.
    3. The teacher realizes what is wrong and sits down beside the child and, using his/her DH, gives the reading and writing lessons with her own matching hand.
    4. He/she gets so confused that they have problems reading and writing for the rest of their lives.
    5. Or, nowadays, they are taught with some of the many new instruments designed for left-handed children and hopefully by a left-handed teacher.


    My husband went to a strict European school many years ago where left-handed children were not allowed to write with their left-hand. He was amazed that our Montessori daughters learned to write painlessly and with beautiful styles all of their own. He still writes with his right hand and draws with his left.
    The daughter of my Montessori kindergarten director is left-handed. Her mother followed all the tips I am recounting here and she is now in High School and has never shown any problem with writing, inverting letters, or reading.
    A young friend of mine (now a well-known radio broadcaster) recounted some of the difficulties he has had throughout his life. He says that one of his pet peeves is that in restaurants, he must invert all the tableware and the worse is that every time they serve him coffee, the handle of the cup is always pointed to the right.
    Years ago, when I was giving the Montessori Early Childhood teacher training, one of the young trainees (22 years old) sat back on her heels after finishing presenting the red rods, her first material in her sensorial exam. Her finished efforts brought a complete silence from myself, the other teacher examiner, and all her fellow students. She had done the entire exercise the reverse of the way it had been presented to the class.
    Finally I broke the silence, “Y..,” I said, amazed, “Are you left-handed?”
    “No,” she replied, evidently surprised by the question.
    Another long silence followed her answer as we all looked at each other. Again I ventured another question, “Is somebody in your family left-handed?”
    She looked at me in surprise, a strange expression on her face. “Yes,” she faltered, amazed, “All my family are left-handed.”
    …Her mother called me early the next morning. “What happened to Y…? She came home yesterday afternoon and cried all evening and when we went to bed, she was still crying.”
    When “Y…” came to class, she called me aside. “All my life, I thought there was something wrong with me, that I saw everything backwards. Now I know I wasn’t crazy, it was my world that was turned around and I no longer have to reverse everything. It has been a wonderful relief for me.”
    A similar thing happened last week. I was making some copies behind my elementary director’s chair when I noticed the writing of one of the two therapists of our special needs children who was reporting to our director.
    “Sara,” I told her, “You must be very careful how you hold your pen and be sure to use your right hand when working with right-handed children.”
    She looked at me in surprise, “But Beverley, I am right-handed although my daughter is left-handed!”
    I turned my hand around in my mind and sure enough, she was writing with her right hand although it was wrapped around her words the way some left-handed people do. I felt very surprised and a little ashamed but then it hit me. “Sara, was either your kindergarten teacher or your first grade teacher left-handed?”
    Now it was her turn to be surprised as she thought back to her childhood, “How did you know? My first grade teacher was left-handed!”
    She is a college graduate in special needs therapy but no one had ever taught her about the problems caused by left-hand and right-hand cross teaching.
    Today after many, many years, I hired back the Montessori mother of that little girl who dropped so many little jugs so long ago. That child is now a Montessori guide herself. I told her mother about this article and the first thing she asked me was “Why didn’t you tell me about her trying to use her brother’s hand? It would have helped my family so much.”
    I had to admit that I did not know about the problems mentioned here but I did know to teach with the dominant hand. She had taken my original course twenty-five years ago where using the dominant hand was stressed and had then gone on to take the elementary course as well as many others and teach all these years and had never seen anything more of the simple techniques I am writing about in this article.

    I researched the first three pages of Google sites on left-handiness; a current text book for special needs children, “Teaching Students with Special Needs, Forth Edition” Smith, T., et all, (2004, NY.,); Montessori and the Special Child, Orem, R., (1969, NY); and either they do not consider being left-handed a direct cause of possible learning problems or ignore the special care of those students as not important enough.
    I think that all of us who work with children today do realize that children surrounded by parents and peers who use opposite hands face enormous difficulties in a reverse-handed world and that recognizing that proper help from very early childhood is what they need to prepare them for the rest of their lives. I found no mention anywhere of the problems of right-handed children in a left-handed family.
    The most successful site I found for left-handed children was where there is an excellent video for teaching left-handed children using modern materials to make their writing experience as easy as possible. The teacher in the video is herself left-handed.
    Some of the materials I found for left-handed people in were golf clubs, pads, pens, scissors, clothes, equipment, and many helpful comments.

    A disturbing aspect of possible psychological and learning problems in a child from different cultural mores was laid out in the following web page:
    “European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education”:

    Here they quote from a German magazine: “The following example will emphasize the importance of culture in OT work:”
    Example published in the German OT-magazine “Ergotherapie & Rehabilitation” in August 2004:
    The OT-assessment of a child with (Islamic) parents, who is delayed in his development, showed that the child’s left hand had more potential, better fine motor skills and better type face compared to the right hand. It was therefore recommended that the child learned to use its left hand.
    The child however reacted irritated when the OT asked it to use the left hand for painting, writing, using scissors and other tools.
    A conversation with the parents revealed that using the left hand is contrary to the family’s rules, where the right hand is to be used. The family also attaches great importance to touch traditionally prepared food with the right hand, as the left hand is “impure” in the Islamic world. This meant a dilemma for the therapy. Although the child’s mother would have allowed using the left hand, its father stuck to their tradition.
    It is interesting to note that our new President Obama is left-handed.
    The child is not the one with the problem, the hands of those around him/her are.
    Montessori said, “Follow the child” and I must add…”using his footsteps and not our own.”

  5. Abbey

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  6. bpalma

    I hope you can get in now. Regards, B. Palma (Beverley Blount)

  7. bpalma

    Thanks Abbey, haven’t been in for months as have been working on the second edition of my Reading book and the (finally) finished SF book, Silversuit. (3rd of 3 books in that series) (unpublished until 2nd edition of the Reading book is live.

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