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Challenge: Kids with Special Needs

Left Handed

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Josie tried to convince the aide at Religious Education that she wrote with her left hand.

With 35 years teaching experience behind her, the aide could not be swayed. My girl let her stubborn streak show as she argued, “My teachers make me use my left hand at school.”

Josie is clearly right handed.

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Looking at the classroom bulletin board, I can pick out Josie’s work in an instant. Though you may see immature handwriting and coloring outside of the lines, I see growth and infinite potential.

When we returned home, Josie grabbed her crayons and a stack of paper. She pulled a chair next to me at the kitchen table. I watched as she passed the crayon back and forth from right to left and back again. The colors swirled as she narrated her every move. Each swipe of her crayon represented the wind blowing and snow falling from the sky. Piles and piles of blue snowdrifts filled the paper as she hummed along to the rhythm of the crayon sweeping back and forth across the page.

This time, I didn’t correct her grip. There was a sense of freedom as she clumsily held the crayon in her left hand.

“Josie, do you use your left hand at school?” I asked. The look on her face told me that she knew she was found out.

Her left hand tightly gripped the blue crayon as she looked from hand to hand. She lifted up her right hand to show me. "It doesn't work," she explained. Suddenly, I understood. If her right hand wasn’t working the way it was supposed to, then surely she must be left handed.

Grabbing a clean sheet of paper, Josie started writing her name. Struggling, she tried to form her letters perfectly to show me that she was indeed left handed, but the results proved otherwise.

We agreed that for school and homework, she would only use her right hand, but she could experiment with her left hand when she colored at home.

With a huge smile on her face she grabbed a crayon tightly in her left hand and said, “I just want to draw a picture.”

And that’s what she did.

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