Does Your Child Have Left Brain Deficiencies?

Dr. Robert Melillo

Left brain deficiencies usually shows up first as academic problems. So, unlike their right brain counterparts, life for a child with a left brain imbalance starts out quite normally. Children  with a left brain delay do not have the multiple issues we tend to see in right-brain-deficient children. They don’t get in trouble in school, pick fights, drive their parents ragged  with their hyperactive behavior, or make mealtime unbearable with their fussy eating patterns. At least not early on. In fact, parents generally describe these children as “starting out easy”. Their biggest problem early on is illness. Chronic ear infections are quite  common, and this may have some slight effect on their hearing development, which only aggravates the academic troubles their par-ents have yet to see.

These kids are very coordinated and may even show some early athletic ability. Nevertheless, they can  be a bit clumsy when it comes to working with their hands, which is most often noticeable in their dreadful handwriting. This often makes some parents wonder if it is because their child appears to be left-handed or ambidextrous. These are very spatial kids and they  love the outdoors. They love physical activities—they climb, ride a bike, Rollerblade, and skateboard. They often show an early ability to handle these skills because they have pretty good balance. However, they tend to shy away from dancing and team sports such as  soccer and baseball because they have issues with timing, rhythm, and understanding the rules.

These children are often  late talkers. However, they  tend to compensate for this through exceptional  nonverbal communication. Mothers know that these kids can read them and others very well. They are good little kids who love hanging around Mom and Dad and might even appear a bit needy.This  loving nature is in sharp contrast to their life once they start school. Children with left brain deficiencies usually struggle in school from day one. They have trouble learning and  remembering almost everything. What they learn and retain on one day is often gone the next. They struggle with learning how to read because they don’t get it when it comes to sounding out words. They hate to read because it is so frustrating  to them. Preschool and elementary school teachers love these children because they are not discipline problems, at least not yet. However, their apparent disinterest in academic pursuits concerns their teachers. Teachers notice that these children hate sitting still and would much rather be outside playing. These are the kids teachers say are “not work-ing up to their potential.” They might even be described as lazy, but this is  only because they don’t like school. When it comes to things these children do not like to do, they are very hard to motivate. It is not the deliberate or oppositional behavior that you see in their right brain counterparts—at least not yet. They simply have that “I just don’t want to” or “I don’t feel like it” attitude—and it breeds trouble.

The shift usually begins around the fourth grade when school starts to  get tougher. This raises their frustration level and tests their  good nature. They may start to feel that they are “stupid” or “dumb”. They think other kids are making fun of them when they read aloud in class because they do it so badly. They are acutely aware of the way other kids look at them. Some kids have the ability to overcome this with their pleasant personality  or athletic skills. (The stereotype of the dumb athlete comes to mind.) More often than not, though, they build up anger and become defiant. This is when you hear from parents that they can’t figure out what suddenly happened. Their child, whom everyone loved and got along with, is now a problem child—academically and behaviorally. In come the tutors, the special instructors, perhaps even special education classes. In come the psychologists and behavioral modification plan.