Few people know if their child is right or left brain dominant. Few people understand why it is important to know such a thing. Not only does brain hemisphere domination relate to how a child learns and absorbs information, but their thought process, emotions, and conflict management are all tied to it as well. As a chiropractor, knowing this detail about a child, which brain hemisphere dominates, is a wonderful tool to aiding an adjustment.
The brain is made up of two halves – hemispheres – with each one controlling the opposite side of the body. This means that the right half processes what the left eye sees, and it controls the left side of the body. The opposite is true for the left hemisphere.
Children are born right side dominant. Until the age of three, blood flow is significantly greater to the right hemisphere of the brain. Between ages 4-7 there is a huge shift, as the left half of the brain typically takes over. This aligns with most countries of the world delaying formal education until 7 years of age. The left side of the brain is responsible for the reading, writing, calculation, logistical thinking, verbal processes, analytical thinking, and ability to focus for extended periods of time. It is known as the “Digital Brain.” But for some children, this shift is much more gradual – or does not fully happen. These “Right-Brained Children” are known as ‘butterfly-chasers.’ The right hemisphere is visual. It processes information as a whole with an emotional product. Creativity, artistic ability, emotions, and all of the senses are tied to the right side.
Researchers want us to believe that there is a true balance that occurs in adolescence, but I fail to agree. While a child may pull from both hemispheres, it is far from equal. I have yet to meet a parent who wouldn’t agree.
Research shows that the frontal lobes of the brain are extensively involved with logical reasoning. The left hemisphere’s frontal lobe being the ‘rational voice.’ Therefore, left-brain children can handle social situations with little emotion but practicality instead. http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/127/4/783.abstract
That being said, the right frontal lobe is tied to divergent thinking. This means that things are never black and white. While a right-brained child sees things as a whole, they also see it as ‘gray,’ with so many emotions and details involved that the answer may never be exact. controls sensory processing and expression. Children who are right brain dominant are often very visual, spontaneous, emotional and intuitive but may struggle academically with memorizing facts and paying attention to details. This hemisphere also controls sensory processing and expressions. These children may struggle academically, as our curriculums tend to be left-brain driven. http://repository.cmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=shr and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4107958/
Children diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, SPD, social, behavioral, or academic challenges may have an extreme imbalance in hemispheric communication. Although, I do believe that the gut plays a major role in feeding these issues, the brain itself may be aiding in the problem(s).
What does this have to do with chiropractic care?
A right-brained child needs to be adjusted throughout the left side of the body. This allows optimal blood flow to reach both sides of the brain as needed.
While our society is molded for left-brained children (and adults), I urge you not to try to fit your right-brained child into that mold. We need more creative, musically inclined, artistic, peace-seeking, compassionate, empathetic children in the world.
Right-Brained Children: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4107958/
- Prefer group activities
- Organize things before they begin something (by color, size, product, etc)
- Are athletic
- Prefer to be shown rather than told
- Tend to lie down while reading or drawing
- Can find patterns and similarities while problem solving
- Read later and prefer drawing to writing
- Need to touch and physically handle objects
- Need to physically manipulate items to problem solve
- Want to discuss and air feelings
- See information as a whole
- Reach beyond the reflexive action of a situation and expand farther to include past experiences adaptive behaviors, and needs
If this is your child, chiropractic care may help her adapt to our society’s educational system by feeding the left hemisphere of the brain, along with:
- Using visual cues like picture stories to stimulate the brain to remember facts
- Using colors and images for mathematical reasoning
- Role playing lessons to increase memory
- Working in small groups instead of alone
While there are strengths and weaknesses to both hemisphere-dominant sides, right-brained children seem to struggle in our culture’s expectations. Instead of allowing this, support your child’s creativity and passions and aide them in conquering their goals. These are the children who will change the world.