Are you left brained, right brained or do you have an ADHD brain with mixed or cross dominance? Very little research has been done of eye/ear/hand/foot dominance and ADHD but Developmental Ophthomologist have studied the effects of cross dominance on attention and working memory for quite a long time. They have found that when our brains are cross-lateralized, mixed dominant or cross dominant, our executive functioning (memory, attention, organizational skills, spatial skills) suffer.
It was once thought that being left handed predisposed people to a diagnosis of what does adhd stand for. Studies have not born out these findings but research studies do indicate that ‘anomalous lateralization’ or cross dominance is more often found in people with ADHD and this mixed dominance can cause considerable havoc in brain functioning.
Cross dominance is the phenomena where your handedness and/or dominant foot are not on the same side as your dominant eye and ear. An example would be someone like my inattentive son who kicks and writes with his right foot and hand but his dominant eye is his left eye. Your dominance is thought to be congruent if the hand that your write with and the foot that you kick with are on the same side as your dominant eye.
You can test your dominance by taking an object and dropping it to the floor and then stepping up to kick it. The foot you just used is your dominant foot. If you have someone throw this same object to you from across the room and you then catch it, the hand you used to catch it is your dominant hand. To determine your eye dominance, take your camera and hold it up to take a picture. The eye that you used to look through the view finder is your dominant eye. Turn your head to hear music in the other room, the ear that you used to better hear is your dominant ear.
Developmental Optometrist believe that the brain develops better when there is a dominant hemisphere. Researchers are not certain why this is so but it appears that establishing a dominant eye, ear, hand and foot may lead to a better organized brain and a brain that develops at a normal rate whereas the mixed dominant brain develops more slowly and is less well organized.
There are test that tell you if you are primarily right brained or left brained and these tend to indicate that you are primarily right brained if your dominant eye, foot, and hand are on the left and to indicate that you are primarily left brained if the opposite is true. The brain dominance issue is very important because how we best learn is determined by our brain lateralization.
Mixed dominance is generally treated with exercises aimed to strengthen both sides of the body. These are called “crossing the midline” exercises. Square dancing cross the midline, tennis and tether ball cross the midline, doing figure 8s on a great big white board is an exercise that crosses the midline.
Cross-dominance is treated because people who are cross dominant may have spatial perception issues, dyslexia, auditory processing issues, clumsiness, working memory problems, learning problems, attention problems or none of the above.