How Crossed Laterality Affects Performance

In some children, crossed laterality occurs and this can have a negative effect on their performance. As a result, early intervention is important to prevent possible problems in the future.
How Crossed Laterality Affects Performance

Last update: 27 August, 2020

Most people show a preference or tendency to use one side of the body. This is called laterality. Below, we’ll see how crossed laterality affects performance.

The side of the body that dominates is influenced by different factors, such as genetic and environmental. The development of laterality also takes place little by little throughout the first years of life, when young children still aren’t even aware which side is right or left.

Types of laterality

We can classify laterality as follows:

  • Homogeneous laterality. This occurs when eyes, ears, hands, and feet have the same dominance, either left dominance (left-handed, for example) or right (right-handed). This is what occurs most frequently.
  • Mixed laterality. This occurs when people do certain things with one side of the body and others with the other side.
How Crossed Laterality Affects Performance
  • Crossed laterality. This is characterized by having different laterality for hands, feet, eyes, and hearing. For example, the dominant hand is the right hand, but the left eye is dominant. This type of laterality can cause learning difficulties, especially when it comes to reading and writing. It often occurs in children who have ADHD.
  • Ambidextrous laterality. This is when a person can use both sides of the body with the same ability interchangeably.

It’s very important that you don’t force lateralization. We have to let children figure it out on their own. For example, if a child is forced to use a certain side that isn’t their dominant one, their nervous system can become disorganized.

How does crossed laterality affect school performance?

Poorly established laterality can cause many learning problems in children. In fact, this usually appears in cases where the child has dyslexia. You might start noticing this when your child starts primary school, mainly in cases in which laterality hasn’t been fully established.

Next, we’re going to see how this influences certain behaviors and what the symptoms of crossed laterality are:

  • They have slower reactions with few immediate reflexes to certain activities.
  • This laterality can cause problems of dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyslalia, or dysgraphia.
  • When they write, they can invert certain elements. For example, they can invert numbers and letters, as if a mirror image.
  • This can affect self-esteem, which is often low. Often, they’re very aware of their mistakes.
  • Children with this can generally be irritated, overreactive, inhibited, and feel hopeless.

More on how crossed laterality affects performance

  • When children with crossed laterality read, they generally do so very slowly with lots of pauses. They lack rhythm and get lost while reading easily.
  • Children with this issue may have difficulties reading, doing math, or writing.
  • They also have problems paying attention.
  • These children tend to feel confused frequently.
  • At times, they can be restless and hyperactive with difficulties concentrating.
  • They may be demotivated in class and have no interest in proposed activities.
  • They often have trouble organizing themselves in space and time. Also, they confuse right and left and struggle with addition and subtraction.
How Crossed Laterality Affects Performance

What can you do if your child has crossed laterality?

Most specialists recommend early intervention to prevent the negative effects that this may have on a child’s learning. Therefore, if you suspect that your child has crossed laterality, you can take them for a medical evaluation.

Once a professional discovers what type of laterality your child has, they then will establish a series of activities and exercises for them to perform. These can help them correct any issues and create positive neurobiological tendencies.

However, it’s important to take your child to a professional if you suspect they have crossed laterality. We’ve already indicated how this issue can affect children’s performance and learning. As a result, it’s important to intervene as soon as possible to avoid any future difficulties.


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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.