Cross dominance in relation to learning disabilities

What is cross dominance?

Cross dominance is when your eye, foot or hand dominance does not match up. For example, having left eye dominance with the right hand dominance. The dominant part would be the one that they prefer to write with, hit with, kick with, turn their head toward to hear with, or look through a telescope with. A completely organized child will have a dominant hand, foot, ear and eye on the same side. If there is not complete dominance, it shows a degree of neurological disorganization. This mixed dominance can be related to learning disabilities.

If the child does not have a controlling side of the brain, it lacks organization because the information going to the brain is not occurring correctly. For example, they may see something in the right eye and store it in the left hemisphere, so there is not a firm pathway into the brain. They will not be able to process the information. Think of it as a room full of filing cabinets, if it is organized well in alphabetical order you can find what you are looking for. In a disorganized room of cabinets that are not alphabetized, the files are there, but you will have a hard time finding it. You may see this when studying for a test. They may know it the night before when studying, but by the next day it is all lost in the filing cabinets, unable to be retrieved. They can’t take in information, assimilate it, and process it. They can’t bring it out again because they were not able to make firm pathways in the brain when they took in the information.


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Problems regarding mixed dominance

Problems with cross dominance could include confusing b and d, saw and was, difficulty with close work or squinting eyes. This could cause problems with reading because a message from the right side of the body goes to the left side of the brain and vice versa. So if you have information coming from a dominant right eye (reading the black board) and dominant left ear (listening to the teacher) the information will be going to opposite sides of the brain. The brain has to work hard to get the two messages together and may mix up b and d, or other errors.


Symptoms caused by cross dominance

 A study from 2010 showed that mixed dominance people were more likely to have language, scholastic and ADHD symptoms. Cross dominance can explain many learning behaviors such as:

  • A tendency to misplace objects
  • A tendency to rotate papers strangely when writing
  • A tendency to tip their head 40 degrees when writing
  • Difficulty with left and right side of letters
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Poor handwriting
  • Difficulty with Organization
  • Difficulty with gross and fine motor movements
  • Difficulties performing task that cross the body midline

Optometrists and Occupational Therapists believe that for the brain to work efficiently, it must have dominance. If a brain has cross dominance it will have difficulty organizing information, and auditory or visual learning will be difficult.


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