My child is ambidextrous: is he HPI?

Consisting of using both hands indifferently to write, ambidexterity is, contrary to popular belief, very rare! What is due to what scholars call ill-asserted laterality? And is it related to high intellectual potential? Answers from Aurélien D'Ignazio and Juliette Martin, psychomotricians.

  My child is ambidextrous: is he HPI?

The numbers speak for themselves. Between 85% and 90% of the population is right-handed, 10% to 15% is left-handed, and the small remaining percentage is ambidextrous, explain Aurélien D'Ignazio and Juliette Martin, psychomotricians and authors of the book 100 ideas to develop children's psychomotricity (Ed. Tom Push). This feature is related to laterality.

What is laterality?

Laterality can be defined as the functional dominance of one side of the body over the other mainly at the level of the eye, hand and leg . ' It is a progressive neurological process. 'Lateralization' is usually completed around the age of 8 in children, although we will see much earlier in them a greater preference for one of their hands (which is ' observed mainly during manipulations of ' objects). L ' exact origin of laterality is unknown but it comes from the ' association of different endogenous factors (genetic, hereditary, endocrinological factors...) and exogenous factors (imitation, socio-cultural pressures, adaptations to the environment...) ', explain Aurélien D'Ignazio and Juliette Martin.

Ambidexterity refers to equal ability on both sides of the body

What is the definition of ' ambidextrie ?

Ambidexterity is the ability to use both sides of the body with the same skill, which is very rare contrary to popular belief. ' It is often confused with a badly asserted laterality, without clear dominance, which can be seen in a person who sometimes uses one hand, sometimes the other for the same action, with a certain awkwardness. There are other interesting nuances like the ambilaterality when a person prefers to perform certain tasks with one hand but others with the other hand. We are not necessarily 100% right-handed or left-handed in all acts of daily life: some children, for example, say they write with one hand but prefer to catch a ball with the other. ', point out Aurélien D'Ignazio and Juliette Martin.

Why and how does a child become ambidextrous?

' Each hand being controlled by a different cerebral hemisphere (the right hand is controlled by the left hemisphere and the left hand by the right hemisphere), the 'true' ambidexterity could then theoretically come from a particularity at the level of this specialization hemispherical. It can also be an acquired ability, the result of training, such as a left-hander who has practiced a lot with his right hand to adapt to a world designed preferentially for right-handed people or a footballer who has practiced a lot with his right hand. left leg to develop a more balanced game “, specify Aurélien D’Ignazio and Juliette Martin.

True ambidexterity itself is not pathological and therefore does not need to be corrected.

Should an ambidextrous child be assessed?

' On the other hand, it may be interesting to determine if it is not more likely a question of a badly asserted laterality. In our work, we describe correspondences between age benchmarks and expected skills, but some signs may be warning signs such as when at 6 years old no manual preference n ' is still observable. A noticeable clumsiness and writing that is difficult to read and/or very slow, accompanied by muscle tension should also alert ', insist Aurélien D'Ignazio and Juliette Martin.

What impact on schooling?

A priori little because ambidexterity, when it is 'true', is not penalizing in itself. ' Late, even insignificant lateralization can, however, cause clumsiness and also harm the development of spatial notions. ', point out Aurélien D'Ignazio and Juliette Martin.

Should a child be forced to use one hand?

Especially not ! In the past, left-handers were very strongly encouraged to change hands, but this has fortunately not been the case for many years. ' The n ' there is obviously no longer any reason to force many left-handed people to write with their right hand , in L ' hope to 'convert' them into right-handers. It is therefore essential not to influence the choice of the hand of the player. ' child by environmental factors. To do this, it is necessary to arrange the material, in the center of the office, in front of him, so as not to interfere in his choice. In case of personalized support, it is also necessary to position yourself next to and not in front of the ' child and use the same hand as him during demonstrations to facilitate his imitation by avoiding ' invert its reference marks with respect to the model ', emphasize Aurélien D'Ignazio and Juliette Martin.

Is there a connection between HPI and ambidexterity?

High Intellectual Potential concerns people, sometimes called zebras and in the past called gifted, who have a Intelligence quotient (IQ) between 130 and 160 while 50% of the population has an IQ between 90 and 110. HPIs represent only 2.3% of the population. 'HPI is not a disorder but rather a peculiarity of functioning. A high intellectual potential offers more protection than vulnerability when it is detected and taken into account by the teaching staff.'