Sunday, April 25, 2010

Knowing Your Left from Your Right Impacts Reading

A right-handed Cartesian coordinate system, il...Image via Wikipedia
I hate to say it but I am one of those people who "Don't Know Their Right From Their Left".  You know, this statement is often used as an insult for someone who is pretty clueless.  When you stumble about like this, you are often looked down on as the rest of the group seems to be able to handle this distinction pretty easily.

I'm not alone.  A number of customer support people have noticed that there is a certain group of individuals who can't be led through rote instruction because they can't click on the right keys.

However, this problem of distinguishing from the left and right can be corrected.  As part of vision therapy, I have been playing BrainWare Safari.  One game I am playing involves a circle, square, triangle and a line.  In this game, I have to fill in the blank.  The circle is ______ the line and ______ square.  I am to fill in the blank with up, down, left and right.   I can do this OK on the computer now.

However, when I translate this to dancing.  I can't quite go left or right on the beat of a fast rhythm.  I am always lagging.

I never realized that these difficulties could affect me cognitively until I saw this post:
 "Children who have delays in the skills of laterality and directionality mix up their left and right. They often have poor bilateral integration. In other words, they tend not to use both hands or feet efficiently to do tasks like cutting, eating, and alternating their feet going up and down stairs. They probably also have difficulty crossing the midline. By this I mean the physical midline, the ocular midline, and the midline on a page of text or on a worksheet.

So, these children will become frustrated by assignments that involve drawing lines to match information arranged in a column on the left side of the worksheet with additional information arranged in a column on the right side of the worksheet. They may know the correct answer but be unable to connect the lines. They may exhibit poor manuscript handwriting- especially when forming letters and numbers which cross the midline like x, y, M, N, s, v, and w.

Sometimes these children make frequent reversals when reading and writing and the children who are the most developmentally delayed in laterality and directionality may mirror write. They are often labeled dyslexic, a condition that has many competing definitions and involves both visual and auditory perception and processing."
Eye Can Too! Read: Why Is Left/Right Awareness Important to Reading?:

I really feel sorry for children these days with recess, sports, and arts getting cut.  I don't think most people can make the connection between physical development and mental development.  These activities that are in danger of being cut help children "Know Their Right From Their Left" and directly impact their grades.

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