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Experts Cautions Against Force Switching: Sinistral Children



Experts Cautions Against Force Switching: Sinistral Children

Child experts have advised parents against force switching their sinistral (left-handed) children to avoid causing injuries to the development of their healthy brain functions.
The experts gave the advice in separate interviews with NIGERIA NEWS on Thursday in Ibadan.
Prof. Adefolarin Malomo, a Consultant Neuro-surgeon at the University College Hospital, (UCH), Ibadan, offered a scientific explanation to the left and right handedness in children and adult.
According to the neuro-surgeon, “Sinistral and Dextral are two scientific types of handedness (chirality) or (relative direction) in people’’.
Malomo said that the terms were derived from the Latin word for “left” (sinistral) and “right” (dexter).
“Other disciplines have different terms (such as dextro and laevo-rotary, in Chemistry or Clock-wise and anticlockwise in Physics or simply use left and right (as in anatomy).
“A completely symmetrical object has a left and right side, from the observer point of view, if the top and bottom and direction are defined.
“Chirality is observer-independent; no matter how one looks at a right-hand screw thread, it remains different from a left-hand screw thread.
“Therefore, a symmetrical object has sinistral and dextral directions arbitrarily defined by positions of the observer while an object that has chirality can have sinistral and dextral directions defined by characteristics of the object no matter the position of the observer.
“I will strongly advise parents to seek expert advice and help and to carefully watch out on the best practices to handle their sinistral (left-handed) children,’’ he said.
The consultant further warned that forcing left-handed children to use their right hand may trigger a stammer, permanent speech defect and other attendant learning impairments in life.
According to him, this is because the centre that control speech and manual dexterity in the brain are closely linked and interfering with one might impair the other.
Dr Adefemi Afolabi, a Consultant Surgeon in the Department of Surgery, UCH, Ibadan, said that force-switching children to use their right hand could have negative impact on the speech development of the child.
Afolabi strongly advised parents, teachers and school authorities who are fond of this habit to desist from it and rather encourage their left-handed children.
According to Afolabi, the side of the brain that controls the more skillful side of the body is called the “hemisphere of the brain”.
“It also has the speech centre in the temporal lobe of the hemisphere. Therefore the left hemisphere is dominant in right handed people, while the right hemisphere is dominant in left handed people.
“One of the negative effects of forcing left-handed children to switch to the right hand is the speech defect that it causes. Since the dominant right hemisphere is being forced to alter neuronal or nerve network to enable the use of the right hand,’’ he said.
Afolabi, who is also a sinistral (left-handed person), said the he had it tough while growing up as he was forced switched to write with his right hand in school.
He said that a child that had been forced switched could be easily recognised the way they gesticulate when they speak.
“Look out for the hand they gesticulate actively with. They gesticulate more with their left hand. Experience people will pick it up immediately.
“I still operate well with my left hand and type well with both left and right hands,’’ he said.
Similarly, an educationist, retired nurse and school proprietress in Ibadan, Alhaja Sekinat Adekole, Founder of Addin International School, said that children who are left handed were good in mathematics and practical tasks as their right handed colleagues.
According to her, “reading is where things may go wrong for them”, because the natural eye-movement for left-handers, is from right to left.
“When reading, our eyes must move from left to right. This are disadvantages to lefthanders. Some overcome this without problems while some don’t and may need extra help with reading,’’ she said.
The child expert called on school authorities to always pay special attention to the needs of these left-handed children, adding that most of them eventually turned out to be successful in their academic pursuits in life.
Dr Christy Omidiji, a social worker, urged schools to encourage the establishment of association of sinistrals, where they could brainstorm and develop so many interventions for their successes and achievements in schools.
She also advised the society to stop seeing left-handed children as evil rather they should be seen as talented and gifted children.
She advised against belief in an African myth, which believes that there is evil in the left hand and that Africans should not opinionate that evil spirit is lurked in the left hand.
Rather, Africans, parents, families, peers and schools should learn to accept and celebrate left handed people in our midst.
“About 80 per cent of American presidents were left-handed. Other heroes of the world that are left-handed include Raji Fashola of Nigeria, Oprah Winfrey of U.S., Mahatman Ghandi of India and Barrack Obama.
“It is high time Africans stopped maltreating that child because he/she is left-handed, a leader of tomorrow is who that child is,” she said

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