Mixed Dominant (Cross Dominant)



What is mixed dominance? (Cross Dominance)

As a child develops one side of the brain will become more dominant for motor activities. When this does not happen the brain operates less efficiently. This leads to more difficulty learning.

Most people have one side of their body more dominant than the other. For example, if a person is right-handed they will likely also be right eye dominant.

If a dominant side has not developed this is called being mixed dominant (or cross dominant)

If you're right-handed, chances are you do everything with your right hand. You write, brush your teeth, eat, and just about everything else with your right hand.  You may not have noticed, but it is likely that you have stronger sight in your right eye. You likely have stronger hearing in your right ear. You lead more often with your right foot.

  • So if you use a telescope you'll probably put it to your right eye.
  • If you want to hear something you'll probably turn your right ear towards it.
  • If you want to kick a ball you'll probably kick with your right foot.

This is actually a sign of a well developed and well-balanced brain. Brains develop dominance for efficiency.


Mixed Dominance (Cross Dominance) 
Cross dominance is when someone does not develop one-sided dominance. Motor dominance is mixed.

A mixed dominant person may exhibit "mixed handedness". Or they may be dominant in one hand but in the opposite eye (or foot). Dominance is not all on one side. It is mixed.

Someone with cross dominance may even switch dominance depending on the task. For example, they may write with the right hand but eat with the left hand.

There are many possible manifestations of mixed dominance. So it's easiest to understand as lacking a dominant side.

Children and Cross Dominance
Having a child who is mixed-handed may seems like a benign physical talent. But recent studies have found that it is associated with learning challenges.

Mixed-handed children are  "more likely to suffer from language and learning problems, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), than their right- or left-handed peers."

Does your child exhibit mixed dominance and have learning challenges? The two may be linked.  And the answer to the learning challenges could be fixing the motor difficulties. Fix them with proprioceptive exercise.


Where does cross dominance come from?

According to a 2009 study, cross dominance is likely the result of brains that are "imbalanced and not developing properly."

This is related to a concept called functional disconnection syndrome. FDS is a naturally occurring disconnect in the brain not related to any kind of trauma or surgery. The different hemispheres of brains with this syndrome don't communicate properly. Or sometimes not at the correct speed. this causes miscommunications and longer processing time.

FDS is thought to be caused when one side of the brain develops faster than the other.  It has been theorized as being the cause of autism and dyslexia. Early treatment is recommended. 

Bilateral coordination exercises will balance the hemispheres and increase connectivity


Cross dominance and learning disabilities

A cross dominant brain seems to be an inefficient brain. Studies have shown a correlation between cross dominance and learning difficulties. Some theories state that this is due to less activity in the corpus callosum. the connection between brain hemispheres. 

Practitioners have used and recommended cross-lateral exercises to correct this. Decades of practitioner use of the methods have shown benefits.

Information processing in the brain uses both hemispheres.

For example.

  1. Processing sounds typically happens in the left hemisphere.
  2. Processing the meaning of those sounds typically happens in the left hemisphere.
  3. We need a strong connection to process words and their meanings together.

Without a strong connection, information processing is inefficient.   When information takes longer to process learning is a struggle. It may express as a developmental delay. Or a specific learning disability such as dyslexia or dyscalculia.

Mixed dominance causes the brain to be disorganized. With information and responses scattered over both sides. Think of it as a filing cabinet -- if it's organized well, in alphabetical order, it's easy to find a file. Files in a disorganized and unalphabetized cabinet will take much longer to find. 

Neural pathways are less developed. So slower and less efficient.

Signs and symptoms of cross dominance

A 2010 study showed that children with mixed dominance are more likely to have language and scholastic issues. It also showed that they may have ADHD symptoms.

Cross dominance may affect the eyes. This could cause dyslexia symptoms.  They may confuse printed letters and words (b and d, saw and was). 

This would affect reading comprehension.

Information may come from opposite sides. Such as reading with the dominant right eye while listening with the dominant left ear. Reading the blackboard and listening to the teacher. The information will be going to opposite sides of the brain. That means the brain has to work extra hard to get the two messages synced. 

In fact, cross dominance can explain many learning behaviors such as:

Misplacing objects.

  • A tendency to rotate papers strangely.
  • A tendency to rotate the head when writing.
  • Switching or difficulty reading and writing the left and right sides of letters.
  • Constant indecisiveness.
  • Poor handwriting.
  • Difficulty with organization, motor movements, and performing tasks that cross the body midline.

These skills rely on our spatial sense. Our spatial sense unites our senses. This is why proprioceptive exercises are so effective at treating this condition.

What to do with a cross dominant child?

Cross dominance isn't synonymous with ambidextrous. Ambidextrous is due to highly developing both sides. A dominant side is chosen first. Then the other side developed to match it.

Being cross dominant doesn't mean both sides are equally strong. It is more about a dominant side not being developed.

It does mean that someone with cross dominance has a uniquely built brain. This will likely result in unique strengths. So watch for them.

Cross lateral motions are extremely helpful for the cross dominant student. These are motions which build proprioception by crossing the midline of the body. This strengthens the corpus callosum. The connector between the brain hemispheres. This strengthening helps the brain work in a more integrated fashion.

The Learning Success System contains many cross lateral exercises. These will help the cross dominant student. It also includes exercises designed to help with the components of learning. 

Increase your child's natural learning ability with the Learning Success System. Your child will enjoy better grades and increased confidence.

You will enjoy seeing your child succeed.