Interesting about the gifted thing... Though *I* never wrote like that lol...
Anyway, I've been cogitating on the reason behind why we're "supposed" to write in one particular direction like that.
I wonder if it has to do with old-style writing implements? ie, fountain pens? I was thinking about writing Chinese characters. They are ALWAYS to be written left to right and top to bottom, and not just in the right direction but the right part of the character which comes next, if you know what I mean. The instruction is *very* specific, for even the most complex characters.
The reason for this has to do with brush strokes. Calligraphy is VERY important in written Chinese. The beginning part and the end part of a brush stroke have different characteristics, different swoops and techniques and stuff. So a single line brushed top to bottom vs bottom to top would look VERY different, when you're using a thick brush.
Similarly, in western writing, which commonly used quill pens then fountain pens... there is a directionality to the writing. If you've ever done calligraphy, you know about this. Fountain pens do NOT write bottom to top! Cursive is different because it's SLANTED... I wonder if that's WHY cursive is slanted, come to think about it... so that it was POSSIBLE to write it with quill pens???
I'm just guessing at this, I don't actually know the history. But it makes some sense, doesn't it? If our original writing tools required top-to-bottom writing for print, then of course that's how the letters would be taught.
With today's ballpoint pens and pencils, which can write in any direction, and have lines which are thin and uniform rather than with thick and thin variations depending on direction... It's not as big a deal. A kid writes bottom to top, the pencil WRITES, so there's no reason to stop doing it that way. A kid 100 years ago would not have developed that habit in the first place, since their pen simply wouldn't write that way.
If I'm right about this, then it's yet another case of continuing a tradition having forgotten the reason behind it, when it's no longer applicable. Like how we continue to start solid foods with our 6mo babies by giving them thin, runny cereal and mushy purees, having forgotten that the REASON we started doing that was because it was being fed to tiny infants not ready to eat solids yet, so they had to be 'tricked' into thinking it was just milk, they couldn't physically handle anything thicker. Babies who ARE old enough for solids can eat SOLIDS, but we're so stuck in the "way that it's done" that we apply the same schedule and method to babies who are at a completely different stage of development.
Anyway, the point is, IF top-to-bottom printing was ONLY because that's what the writing tools DICTATED, then if we're using writing tools without that limitation, it shouldn't matter anymore, and our insistence on it is only for tradition's sake (without even realizing it).