The Non-Dominant Hand Challenge!
I have been using my left hand to do most of my activities…not by choice. A severe pain in my right hand has caused me to avoid using it as much as possible. It may be arthritis, but most likely it is related to a childhood accident where the doctors told my parents I would never be able to use my right hand. Fortunately for me, they were wrong, but sometimes I have problems and need to rest it.
But what they told my parents long ago planted a seed in my brain. I have been doing a little experiment with myself for almost two days now. I am using my left hand for almost every activity I do, including texting and writing. Oh my, this is a laborious task. And that is why I am challenging you to do the same.
I am doing this to rest my hand, but what I also wanted to do was to gain a little more empathy for students with learning differences. What I take for granted, such as easily jotting down a phone number or punching a phone button all becomes quite different when using my non-dominant hand. The messages that go from my brain to my hand are confused right now. Holding a mouse in my hand is quite different than what my brain has come to expect, and it takes a lot longer than normal to wade through the information in my brain and tell it what to do.
This is what students with learning problems must endure all day in school. The messages are not being sent from the brain to the proper channels, and because of this these students must take longer, more circuitous routes to obtain information and spit it back out in its correct form. And they don’t get the option of taking a break or going back to “normal”.
When my right hand heals, I will go back to using it again. I have so much to do, and this is definitely slowing me down! For instance, I play a daily brain enhancing game on my IPad called Elevate. What I like about it is that I get immediate feedback on how I scored. I noticed last night that my scores dropped dramatically. So, remember this when your child brings home a low test score!
If you can’t make an entire day, give this a try for a few minutes at least. Another activity you might want to try is writing with a mirror. Hold up the mirror and only look in the mirror as you write, not at the paper. It really slows you down! It can give you some insight as to what your child is going through. Or blast some annoying music in your house and try to compose an important letter. Chances are, the music will take over and your thoughts will become jumbled.
These processing skills can be corrected. We do it every day at Harp Learning Institute, so don’t despair if you think your child or student is spending his/her day struggling like I am right now. There is good news for me as well as your child.