If your child is left-handed, he would probably learn most effectively through visualization and creative tools. The usual education system where logical and analytical thinking is required would leave your child struggling because his mind just operates in a different mode than the usual learning methods that is adapted in the current education system. If your left handed child is scoring below average, check on his problem solving and EQ skills- if he displays creative abilities to think of simple solutions to everyday life from an out-of-the-box perspective, then congratulations- you have an intelligent child.
It is the system that fails him, not he that fails in the system.
It is important to know this because for a constantly underperforming child, he may develop low self esteem and a lot of doubt of his ability. After all, he may study hard but find that the grades are below the barrel. I understand their challenges perfectly- having gone through years of period of self doubt myself as a left-handed person.
If the child finds that things are tough and he cannot comprehend things that had been taught to him in school, he may become restless. He would also lose interest in learning and become more interested in more fun activities like playing, surfing net, etc that expands his mind.
Unfortunately, the label ADHD or attention deficit hyperactive disorder is often thrown in to these kids. As the right hemisphere of the child’s brain is more developed, he would just have the interest to expand his world and horizons, and is attracted to creative and unconventional endeavors. If the right kind of teaching tools are being used to bring out the best in the child, the sky’s probably the limit.
But if the label ADHD is slapped on the child, and the child is put on Ritalin or whatever medication, then the child may suffer from low self esteem, self doubt and slowly deteriorate mentally. When the child is told by his own parents and teachers that he is stupid and underperformed, the scar would stay with the child for years to come. Damaging phrases that “you are stupid and useless”, “you will amount to nothing” affect a person well into adulthood. Teachers and stressed parents who say such things to their children have no idea the long term harm they are inflicting by just these words, probably said out of rage and personal frustration.
How to help a hyperactive left handed child can fare in the left-brained education system
Relaxation techniques is very useful to help a seemingly hyperactive child to calm down and become less restless. Get the child to practice deep breathing and constantly be aware of in-and-out breath as often as he can. This will help to rein his mind inwards instead of having the mind actively move out externally. Encourage the child to take up exercise or any kind of sports and activities that he has interest in to ‘vent off’ that excess energy.
What to do if you are a student struggling in the left brained education system:
Practice, practice and practice. The more maths questions you does, the more proficient you get. When it comes to maths, you have no choice but to follow the route taken by most athletes- practice hard.
When I was in pre university, I had this tuition teacher whose role model is Richard Feynman, one of the most gifted physicist of all time. She literally worshipped the man and spoke constantly of his life accomplishment and brillance. Instead of using the usual textbook that involves just memorizing strange physics formula (very high failing rate since no one understand what they are memorizing), my tuition teacher taught physics in almost awe and storylike manner. We had to study physics reference books used by first year engineering students (by Halliday and Resnick) and solve physics questions such as “imagine there is a tunnel connecting two ends of the earth- and if someone throws a letter into the tunnel, how many times would the letter flow back and forth”. It is the type of seemingly simple questions but only can be solved if you really understand the various principles and application of physics. Even in the university, I got an A- for physics because I applied the interesting way I learned.
Watching discovery channels, having a good physics tutor that teaches the application aspect of physics makes the subject so much more interesting.
Use visualization- for example if you are studying the cardiovascular system, visualize how the oxygenated blood enters the heart, then flows through the body and come back again. Sometimes you need to draw diagrams using color markers or pencils to make the various processes more clear and interesting. Verbally recite the movement and stories to yourself to help you to remember.
If your medium of instruction is English, then develop the interest to read a lot of English books from young. It can be sci-fi adventures, detective stories, romance, or even non-fiction books on your favourite topics. A lot of reading will enable you to be able to articulate and write with a good flow. As for speaking, for any language, you can only learn by speaking the language- with a bit of thick skin….and not letting laughing friends hinder you.
If you are learning a second language that is not your native tongue, it is important that you must be interested in the language in the first place. If you can, don’t pick a language that does not appeal to you because it will make the learning very difficult. Listen to songs of that language- for instance, if you are learning Japanese, by listening to the sweet croons of Japanese love songs and understanding their meanings, you’ll pick up the language much faster. Watching shows of the language (with subtitles) also helps. If you only learn through boring language books, the learning curve will be steep and tough. You’ll spent a lot of time asleep halfway reading through the book.
The thing about ADHD labels…
Nowadays, any hyperactive kid usually gets diagnosed as ADHD and put on medication to ‘control’ the symptoms. But go to any ADHD support group or website and they could give you are list of very successful and famous people who seemingly have ADHD.
Probably the current ‘system’- be it education and healthcare had some mistaken ideas about ADHD or ADD and assumed that only meds like Ritalin can take care of the hyperactivity. But meds have side effects and may work to supress the creative and hyperfocus ability of the person.
The moment we accept the label that we or our kids have ADHD, we give up our power. We accept that we ‘have an illness’ instead of thinking that it could be a potential gift. Helplessness and dependence of advice by ‘experts’ comes in- we no longer have faith in ourselves. How far can we go then?
Perhaps we can take some lessons from superhero shows that we watch like Ironman, Spiderman and Superman- the power and potential is there in the person…. we just need to know how to harness it and put it to good use. Or nuclear power- just by harnessing the power of atoms can either be used to make weapons of mass destruction….. or provide renewable energy to many. Same potential- probably nurtured and developed, can benefit many. Wrongly used, can cause undue harm- to both the person and others.
Learn relaxing techniques and meditation consistently can keep that restlessless and hyperactivity in control. Putting that hyperfocus and creativity to use can enable to person to achieve the greatest potential.