Mixed Dominant ADHD and Midline Crossing Activities

After yesterdays post I heard from a lot of you. Thanks for writing!!  It is always good to hear from you.

It seems that a lot of us are mixed dominant. As I mentioned before, people with ADHD are more likely to be cross or mixed dominant. What I failed to elaborate on is that this can cause problems with coordination, reading, math and attention.

The classic problem that ADHD kids with mixed dominance have is reading problems. The activity of reading requires you to be able to smoothly and without effort do something that occupational therapist call "cross the midline". The midline that they are referring to is the middle of your body and people who are mixed dominant often do not have the coordination skills to do this smoothly. Reading is not the only school activity that requires crossing the midline. Writing requires midline crossing as does completing math worksheets and needless to say, competently navigating the recess field requires crossing the midline.

We discovered my son's cross dominance issues when he failed to be able to do his math worksheets in 2nd grade.  We knew that his problem was not math because in first grade he could, in about half a second, tell you that if he purchased a  sixty-four cent candy bar that he needed to get a quarter, a dime and a penny back.  We did not think he had a vision issue because he had always been a good reader but it was not until we took him to the Occupational Therapist (because his teacher was concerned about his overall 'out of it-ness") and then to the Developmental Ophthalmologist that we discovered that he had issues with crossing the midline and issues with Convergence Insufficiency. 

Both cross dominance and convergence insufficiency can co-occur with ADHD and both can be confused with ADHD.  Both can be treated by an ophthalmologist and while the convergence insufficiency exercises are very little fun, there are fun exercises that can correct the 'crossing the midline' problem. My son did all the ophthalmology exercises and they helped him tremendously.  He can still not dance the Macarena (but for that matter neither can anyone in our family, so he does not feel left out).

In my opinion, the most fun exercise to practice crossing the midline, is square dancing. You know, swing to the left, swing to the right, etc. Other fun exercises (my son's favorite but not mine) include cross hand boxing. You face the person and hold up your hands towards the person and they box your right hand with their right fist. Another exercise involves marching and slapping your right knee with your left hand and your left knee with your right hand. Bouncing a ball in front of you and using alternating hands to bounce is also good. Tennis, baseball, basketball and ping-pong are all good midline crossing exercises as well.

If you know a lot of kids with ADHD (who doesn't) and you look at what sports these kids play, you will notice that a lot of ADHD kids prefer sports like soccer, track and field and football.  These sports require no midline crossing.  Encouraging ADHD kids to take up a sport that crosses the midline would be ideal as the midline crossing practice could really help them.   My son would really prefer to do track and field but I am trying to convince him to do swimming or tennis instead.  It is an uphill proposition as his comfort zone is still with the non midline crossing activities

If you have a mixed dominant person in your family, it is never too late to start encouraging them to perform activities that cross the midline. I will confess that my son really begged to do one activity that is great for midline crossing that I did nothing to encourage.  He wanted to play the drums.  His school, thankfully, decided that he should play the flute instead and I have to admit that I was not unhappy with that decision.  I did not think that my nerves could take the chaos of having a drum player in the house. I believe that there is just so much that a parent can be expected to endure in the name of therapy. Don’t you agree?

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  1. A Trumpet or a Saxaphone would fracture your serenity too....I'm a bit of it all here/there and everywhere...Makes running a business arduous. Files, Notes, Computers...putting things into files and folders and then being able to find and format. Cost me income loss....I bought a PULSE Smartpen which records and links audio to what I write and can bookmark into computer.....Trouble is I have to master it and that is different as I approach and do things slowly and inconsistently as my mind goes. But can't fight, must do it. By Fear not Willpower.....Another thing I bought was DRAGON Software which as you talk, it will write what you say on computer. I type and write slowly so this is good...You can do a letter in WORD and and other things and file them in computer and retrieve and send....Again , I have to learn this in my own convoluted way....So have have many hours to get these "Instruments" to sound and work for Me.We have to do things in the Present and Now...Then we will be successful and calm.

  2. This is true. I was happy that there was no trumpet or saxophone in the choice mix but I am certain that my hyperactive son, who will choose an instrument next year, will throw any semblance of peace, quiet and order that we have in the house to the wind and will choose an instrument that totally rocks our world. I saw that Pulse pen recently, it is kind of cool and I have experimented with Dragon Speak as well and it is way cool. I, luckily, type pretty fast so Dragon Speak was not something that I thought that I would use much but I can see how it can save some folks tons and tons of time. Thanks for your comment!!


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