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Accommodations for lefties?

My3KiddosMy3Kiddos 444 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 469 Member
Just went through freshman orientation for Kiddo #2 - my left handed child. We both noted that there wasn't a single left handed desk in any of the lecture halls that we were in, including one that he will use in his major. This frustrates him (possibly to a level that some might consider a little excessive, but it really does bother him). For day-to-day note taking, I don't think it will be an issue. But it does raise concerns for exams as it gets really uncomfortable writing without having your arm supported while twisted in your chair. And he will be taking a freshman writing course that does blue book, hand-written exams that can last over 2 hours.

So - has anyone ever tried to get accommodations for a leftie? Like require them to provide an actual left-handed desk? As far as I know, being left handed isn't an actual disability, but it certainly isn't a level playing field for exams if lefties have to use those teeny little fold out "desk tops" that are only on the right side of the chair. Kiddo says he's seriously going to start a "Left Handed Student Union" to demand that lefties have rights, too. Just wondering if there are actual grounds for him to seek an accommodation for it.
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Replies to: Accommodations for lefties?

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 1810 replies20 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,830 Senior Member
    I completely sympathize with you!

    I figured I should probably advocate for my leftie DD when I came to pick her up early one day back in preschool and she was obliviously bumping elbows with - and getting dirty looks from - her neighbor. Ever since then, I've let the teachers know at the beginning of each year. We have been lucky in that every one of them has graciously come up with a lefty desk, or put her at the end of a row if her elbow was in danger of bumping that of a neighbor. We sent her into each new year with her own specially-labelled "lefty" scissors and notebooks spiral bound along the top instead of the left (which cost triple what the ordinary notebooks do and usually must be ordered online).

    We're total fans of Lefties - the Left-Handed Store!

    I take it your DS is now in college, and it sounds like he is willing and able to advocate for himself, and hopefully the profs will be understanding. Heavens knows you're paying enough for him to attend the college, so a polite, firm, and simple, "I require a left-handed desk. Where is a good place for me to sit?" should get the point across. If it doesn't, he could try a portable lapboard, and he can always check in with student services to explain his needs and see what can be done.
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  • garlandgarland 15905 replies198 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16,103 Senior Member
    Leftie here, married to leftie, son is leftie. I always looked for left-handed desks in classrooms, but in lecture halls, possibly not going to happen. And I have to tell you, we all did fine. You get used to the arm off the side. I don't think you can get this classified as a disability, and absent that, I don't think you can assume you will get accommodations. Though sure, you can try. But either way, I'm sure your son will be fine. Let him know he can handle it!
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20471 replies209 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,680 Senior Member
    Well, us lefties do have an advantage to start with - we're smarter! :)
    I don't get bent out of shape about things like this. I've been accustomed to living in a right handed world my whole life. It makes me more ambidextrous which is a benefit, too.

    I just think there are bigger fish to fry, IMO.
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  • My3KiddosMy3Kiddos 444 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 469 Member
    Thanks for the responses. I thought there wouldn't really be grounds for him to fight on,. It's not really a disability, but I get that it can be an issue. Like I said, he's sensitive to it and I think he wants to take it on. We'll see if he still feels that way when classes start.
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  • csfmapcsfmap 445 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 459 Member
    I am a lefty and I agree with Garland. Your son will be fine. I find it hard to believe there are no left handed desks though. Back when I was in college, any newish or renovated classrooms had some. It seems nearly 35 years later, they would be around everywhere. They were always on the aisle and some of the lecture halls had a back row of solid table top and chairs vs chairs with a pull-up writing table. Being left-handed can sometimes be a pain, but it’s not a disability needing accommodations.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6265 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,300 Senior Member
    Most of D’s lecture halls are set up with long tables, not individual desks. For exam time, they usually are in an auditorium type space with no desks at all and the students are given portable lap desks. Maybe that would be a solution for you student?
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  • jym626jym626 54951 replies2852 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 57,803 Senior Member
    When I had to do a lot of writing when seated at a "righty" desk, I'd sit on the right side of the center aisle and sit one seat over from the aisle seat and open the desktop on the seat to my left (the aisle seat) and put my notebook and writing implements on it. I'd also let anyone who asked know that as a lefty my elbow sticks out when I write and they probably wouldn't want to sit to my left anyway.
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  • My3KiddosMy3Kiddos 444 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 469 Member
    @csfmap - There are still chalk boards on the walls of the lecture halls I'm talking about. I don't think they've been renovated *ever.* The desk parts attached to the very uncomfortable seats were also very small in the one lecture hall and I would think anyone would have difficulty taking notes on them. I will tell my son about lap desks and he can keep that in mind if it becomes an issue.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20471 replies209 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,680 Senior Member
    It can't hurt to ask if lefty desks are available. All they can do is say no, right?

    However, if they only put one or two in the room, someone else could nab it before your son shows up for class.
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  • gwnorthgwnorth 352 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 358 Member
    As the very right handed parent of 2 lefties this never occurred to me, even as we were sitting in lecture halls at schools we were touring. DS19 never raised it as an issue but then he wasn't taking notes so I'm not sure that it's occurred to him either.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3746 replies77 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,823 Senior Member
    This hearkens me back to the days of my very early childhood, when I would see my dad slap my brother's hand every time he tried to write or use his chopsticks or fork with his left hand. He pretty much did become ambidextrous after that. Good thing the remaining siblings were right-handed lol.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20471 replies209 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,680 Senior Member
    Many pens, especially gel pens, can be that way for me. I've ruined many a greeting card smudging what I've just wrote. :(

    And I've learned to use spiral notepads backwards.

    Yet, being lefty gives one advantages in some things, certain sports for example.
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  • leftrightleftleftrightleft 386 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 391 Member
    Three of my kids are lefties and I’ve never given this a thought. I think they’ve gotten used to living in a righty world.
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  • thumper1thumper1 73351 replies3190 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,541 Senior Member
    My leftie husband and DD both say...it will be fine. They have learned to deal with the mostly right handed world. DD has a lap desk she can use if needed... but she never has needed to.

    Your son will adjust.
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  • mathmommathmom 32043 replies158 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,201 Senior Member
    I'm not a leftie, but have a brother who is. I say more power to him! I do like jym's advice as well though. I doubt you can do much, as it isn't exactly a disability, but making the powers that be more aware of the issue is absolutely worth it.
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  • eastcoascrazyeastcoascrazy 2526 replies22 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,548 Senior Member
    If left handed desks are your / your child's biggest problem then congratulations! May all of his problems going forward in college and in life be equally minor and solvable.
    (Written slightly tongue in cheek as the parent of one leftie and two righties.)
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1049 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,050 Senior Member
    I'm a leftie scrolling with my rightie mouse right now! It freaks people out but I'm so used to it, doesn't even phase me. I might also be the only leftie who doesn't write with my hand curled around - my wrist stays straight so my hand doesn't rub across what I write. Must've gotten into that habit after those erasable pens!!

    I think you can ask about left-handed desks, but certainly not a disability.

    And darned if my right handed brother didn't teach me to play baseball so I throw leftie and bat rightie!!!
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  • My3KiddosMy3Kiddos 444 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 469 Member
    Could you all please stop with the "get over it" type comments as they aren't helpful. Being a leftie is not his only issue. He has had and currently does have other things going on. Focusing on the lack of left handed desks might be a way to distract him from other things or it might be the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back."
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  • jym626jym626 54951 replies2852 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 57,803 Senior Member
    @My3Kiddos - whatever the other issues are, if any of them qualify as a documented disability, perhaps he can get a small tabletop to pull up to a seat in the front row as an accommodation for the documented disability. For example, if he has anxiety, and having to write at a righty desk causes him anxiety, he can ask for a pull up/foldable surface to have in the front row seat (or a seat on an aisle) to reduce his anxiety.
    No one here new that he had any issues other than being a lefty since you hadn't shared that. So not seeing that, with the limited info, the "put on your big buy pants" type comments were out of line. We lefties have learned to survive in a right handed world (except for the angled butter knives- they make me nuts!)
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