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  • Writer's pictureEmily Reynolds, MSOTR

My Kid Switches Hands When Writing Is This Ok?"

When a preschool or school-aged child switches hands while coloring or writing, it typically means hand weakness or significant difficulty crossing the vertical midline. If you want to go down a rabbit hole of googling hand dominance, be my guest! You will likely find 20 different answers to “What age should hand dominance be established?” This is why parents and educators can be lost when it comes to this question. The reason is that this is not a “one size fits all” answer. Many times, parents proudly tell me their child is ambidextrous. This is my first clue that there is likely neuromotor immaturity going on inside this little body.

When parents ask if it is normal for their child to switch hands while writing, I like to consider a few things. First, I want to know their age and how close they are to attending kindergarten. How much exposure or practice have they had in coloring and writing? I also

Using right and left hand to write is a red flag for future development

like to ask what hand the child feeds themself with using a spoon and fork. Next, I like to test what hand they naturally reach for items.

During an evaluation, I always want to observe the child while they color, regardless of age. This is a simple skill that tells me so much about what is happening inside this brain and body. I assess body posture, grasp on the writing utensil, head and eye position, and much more. These all give me clues into neurodevelopment. I also like to observe paper placement. Is the paper placed on one side of the body or in the middle? Does the child rotate the paper only to color vertically?

When a child colors on the left side of the page with their left hand and then colors on the right side with their right hand, this is a pretty big indicator that they prefer not to cross the midline. If this is the case, there is so much more going on than just switching hands while writing. This child will likely have difficulty with reading and writing as they age if this is not corrected internally / neurologically. ReSprout Therapy specializes in identifying the reason why your child is switching hands while coloring. Typically, there is more to the issue than just switching hands while writing. The good news is that it is never too late to identify and correct these issues.

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Looking to learn more about ReSprout Therapy and how we can help your child? Click here! We offer in-person and virtual therapy sessions.

Emily Reynolds, MSOTR Helps kids who switch hands while coloring or writing

About the Author:

Emily Reynolds, MSOTR is the founder of ReSprout Therapy. She is a pediatric Occupational Therapist who specializes in neurodevelopment and reflex integration.

Emily loves working with parents and kids to find the source of the problem and create lasting changes that impact daily lives and the long-term future of the child.

ReSprout Therapy helps kids who switch hands while coloring or writing


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