Ambidexterity?

A few years back I started wondering if a person with a dominant right hand could train themselves to have a dominant left hand too. In this way they would become ambidextrous, by definition meaning “able to use both hands equally well” (dictionary.com). I then began to wonder if anyone was born ambidextrous or if it was something that everyone had to train themselves to become. I know people are born left-handed and that research shows it can be linked to a genetic trait. I also assumed that a person’s dominant hand was contributed by their dominant hemisphere in the brain, and was reassured upon reading “Are People Born with Ambidexterity?” The article explains that sometimes birth with ambidexterity can lead to behavioral disorders, mental health disorders, and can be more prone to develop learning disabilities (wisegeek.com).

“mixed-handed adolescents [ages 15-16] were at twice the risk of having symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and were also likely to have more severe symptoms of ADHD than their right-handed counterparts. “ according to an “Ambidextrous Children” in Science Teacher published March 2010. The article also states that being ambidextrous has links with dyslexia. I find this very interesting because although nobody in my family was born ambidextrous as far as I know, many members of my family have dyslexia, myself included.

These articles are not saying that if you teach yourself to use both hands equally you will develop these learning disabilities/disorders. Nor are they trying to say that every child born ambidextrous has these disabilities, but it is saying there is a connection between them, when born with ambidexterity.

Well ok, so now I knew people could be ambidextrous by birth, and that it could foreshadow some mental health disorders. However, all of the web pages and research articles agreed that there are not many people born ambidextrous making it difficult to do thorough research regarding how extensively these conditions may be linked. I was still fond of the idea of using both hands. This intensified last year when I injured my left thumb. I wondered what would have happened had it been my right thumb. Would I still be able to write, type? Typically I hit the “space bar” on the keyboard with my left thumb. Actually almost every time it is with my right thumb. What if I injured my entire right hand? If I couldn’t use my left, how would I get by doing anything?

I decided to start by taking notes in class with my left hand. At first they were very slow and impossible to read. Then they got a little faster and if I focused I could figure out what I was writing. Now, after a year of practice, they are still rather slow, but a lot easier to read. Sometimes, rarely, but it has happened that I couldn’t tell the difference between what my left hand wrote and what my right hand wrote. I’m not sure if that just means my right hand getting worse my left hand is getting better.

I feel I have progressed a lot in my goal to be able to use both hands equally, despite what implications being ambidextrous may have. I can eat with my left hand and write for short periods of time. I wouldn’t say that I’m ambidextrous, but I would say that since all that is required to use this term correctly is equal abilities with both hands, I’d say I’m getting there.

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