Is Left-handedness a Disability?

Is Left-handedness a Disability?  Should it be?

There are two types of left-handedness, genetic and pathological. In relation to disability I am only referring to pathological left-handedness. There are plenty of completely healthy left-handed people that would find it offensive to be considered disabled, these are genetic left-handers. By the way disabled doesn’t mean unable, says James S. Borthwick, Founder:

If you are perfectly healthy and the only reason that you can’t (for example) hold a job for very long is due to being left-handed then some type of disability is going on.

Left-handedness does not fit in very well around most things right-handed in the workplace. In a wide variety of jobs being left hand dominant can go from an ongoing nuisance or annoyance for you all the way to being completely dangerous to your life. (See this article as well) The questions of the definition of “person with a disability” and how persons with disabilities perceive themselves are highly complex.

The status of persons with disabilities in society is changing dramatically. See what these authorities have to say. It all sounds a little disorganized. Take your time and see how pathetic all of this is.


What is the Definition of “Disability” Under the U.S. Supreme Court?

U.S. Supreme Court’s overemphasis on the definition of disability means that the question of whether a person has been discriminated against, or could have been accommodated never sees the light of day.


What is the Definition of “Disability” Under the U.S. Social Security Act?

As defined in the Social Security Act, a “disability” is the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”


What is the Definition of “Disability” Under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) ?

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) has been in effect since 1966. It is a national plan based on contributions from workers and employers in Canada. It is best known for its retirement pension, but also provides survivor, death and disability benefits to CPP contributors and their families.

(CPP Disability is part of the Canada Pension Plan. It is designed to provide financial assistance to CPP contributors who are unable to work because of a severe and prolonged disability. Benefits are paid monthly to eligible applicants and their dependent children.)

What is the Definition of “Disability” Under C.P.P. Disability according to Canada Pension Plan legislation?

The CPP legislation defines “disability” as a condition, physical and/or mental, that is “severe and prolonged”.

Severe means that you have a mental or physical disability that regularly stops you from doing any type of work (full-time, part-time or seasonal).

Prolonged means your disability is likely to be long term, or is likely to result in your death.
Impairment: Any loss of abnormality of psychological, or anatomical structure or function.
Disability: Any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.

Handicap: A disadvantage for a given individual, resulting from an impairment or disability, that limits or prevents the fulfillment of a role that is normal, depending on age, sex, social and cultural factors, for that individual.

Handicap is therefore a function of the relationship between disabled persons and their environment.
It occurs when they encounter cultural, physical or social barriers which prevent their access to the various systems of society that are available to other citizens. Thus, handicap is the loss or limitation of opportunities to take part in the life of the community on an equal level with others.
The following examples further illustrate the difficulty of defining disability without consideration of social factors:

A person who has a cochlear implant ;
A person who has a digestive disorder that requires following a very restrictive diet and following a strict regime of taking medications, and could result in serious illness if such regime is not adhered to;
A person with serious carpal tunnel syndrome;
A person who is very short.
An important example is facial scarring, which is a disability of appearance only, a disability constructed totally by stigma and cultural meanings.

Stigma, stereotypes, and cultural meanings are also the primary components of other disabilities, such as mild epilepsy and not having a ‘normal’ or acceptable body size.”


What is the Definition of “Disability” Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the cause of some of these changes, as well as the result of the corresponding shift in public policy. Questions of status and identity are at the heart of disability policy. One of the central goals of the disability rights movement, which can claim primary political responsibility for the ADA, is to move American society to a new and more positive understanding of what it means to have a disability.

Disability Policy Scholars describe four different historical and social models of disability:

A moral model of disability which regards disability as the result of sin;
A medical model of disability which regards disability as a defect or sickness which must be cured through medical intervention;
A rehabilitation model, an offshoot of the medical model, which regards the disability as a deficiency that must be fixed by a rehabilitation professional or other helping professional;
A disability model, under which “the problem is defined as a dominating attitude by professionals and others, inadequate support services when compared with society generally, as well as attitudinal, architectural, sensory, cognitive, and economic barriers, and the strong tendency for people to generalize about all persons with disabilities overlooking the large variations within the disability community.”


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

ADA Title I Technical Assistance Manual provides the following explanations of how this prong of the definition is to be interpreted:

1. The individual may have an impairment which is not substantially limiting, but is treated by the employer as having such an impairment.

2. The individual has am impairment that is substantially limiting because of attitudes of others toward the condition.

3. The individual may have no impairment at all, but is regarded by an employer as having a substantially limiting impairment.

This part of the definition protects people who are “perceived” as having disabilities from employment decisions based on stereotypes, ears, or misconceptions about disability. It applies to decisions based on unsubstantiated concerns about productivity, safety, insurance, liability, attendance, costs of accommodation, accessibility, workers’ compensation costs or acceptance by co-workers and customers.
As an example, some agencies’ definition of “disability” allows for partial disability. Social Security, on the other hand, does not provide for partial disability.

After reading all of the previous definitions of disability it is impossible to ignore that pathological left-handedness should be considered a disability. In every definition it is abundantly clear that you could apply left-handedness to it.


Consider the following …

  • left-handed gene (see article)
  • genetic code abnormality (see article)
  • left-handers die sooner (statistically)
  • pathological left-handedness is associated with immune disorders
  • living in a right-handed society with obstacles “hidden dangers”, “latent defects” – Lack of properly labelled machinery. (see article)

Your doctor, hospital, and even other governmental agencies will use different definitions, which leads to confusion for many claimants.

After reading all of the varieties of definition for disability, and seeing how left-handedness could be included in those definitions, should left-handedness be considered a disability? Seems obvious as to what the answer should be, says James S. Borthwick.

Send an email with either a yes or no and an explanation of why to …