All of us grow up hearing that everyone has a dominant hand.  You can be either right handed or left handed.  Every now and then, we would run across someone that was ambidextrous and thought that was so cool!  I didn’t hear the term Mixed Dominance or Cross Dominant until this year and learning about it changed my life!  

Mixed Dominance

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What is Mixed Dominance?

You might have heard that it doesn’t matter which hand you use.  To an extent, this is true.  Each of us do have a tendency to lean toward a specific hand.  But did you know that we lean toward a specific foot, eye, and ear too?  

What side of the body we use for each of those things is called our dominance.  If we end up using our right side for some things and our left for others, we become mixed dominant.  For instance, if you are right handed, but you are left eye dominant, that is mixed dominance.  If you are left handed, right eye dominant, but have left ear dominance, you are still mixed dominant.  

What’s the Big Deal?

You may be thinking that this is not a big deal.  What does it matter anyway?  This is the myth that needs to be corrected!  Being mixed dominant can create problems that you aren’t even aware of.

Here are a few characteristics of someone who has mixed dominance.  You decide how it affects our lives!

A person who is mixed dominant:

  • Has trouble following directions or cannot follow a series of directions. 
  • Has inconsistent recall. They can remember something on one day, but cannot the next day.
  • Has trouble understanding certain concepts and seem to have holes in their memory.  
  • Lives in their emotions: Emotions seem to control each situation.

There are other traits of mixed dominance, but these are the ones that seem to effect learning and functioning in the home.  There is definitely a correlation between Mixed Dominance and Developmental Delay.

mixed dominance
mixed dominance

How Can I Check Dominance?

Checking for dominance is actually a fairly easy thing to do. 

  1. Hand Dominance – Whatever hand you naturally write with is usually your dominant side.  You don’t want to change this!
  2. Eye Dominance – With your pointer fingers and your thumbs, make a small circle in front of your face, arms extended in front of you.  Look through the circle with both eyes open at an object.  Slowly bring your hands to your face.  Which eye is looking through the hole?  That is your dominant eye! 
    • To change your eye dominance, you must wear an eye patch over the eye you don’t want to be dominant.  Every time you read or do an activity where your eyes are focusing on something, put on the patch.  This should be about 4 hours a day.  You can also take a pair of sunglasses, punch out the lens for the dominant eye and tape over the other lens.  It can take anywhere from 6 months to a year to change this!
  3. Ear Dominance – Put your phone on the table and have your child pick it up to answer it.  Which ear do they listen with?  When playing a whisper game, which ear do they lean toward you to hear?  What ear do they put on a door to hear something on the other side?  That will be the dominant ear.
    • To change ear dominance, wear an ear plug in the ear you don’t want to be dominant.  Wear it all waking hours.  Silly Putty also works as a great ear plug!  Again, this could take 6-12 months to switch.  
  4. Foot Dominance – What foot do they kick a ball with most often?  
    • To change foot dominance, continue practicing with the correct foot!  
mixed dominance

FYI: My son has an eye cross dominant, my daughter has an ear cross dominant, and I have a cross dominant eye as well!  Once I tested myself, it was easy to see the characteristics I’d been dealing with all my life!  

Is It Worth It?

Only you can be the judge of whether correcting dominance is worth it for your family.  For me, the traits I see in my children (and me) make it worth taking the plunge to change.  It took a lot of research and guidance from a fantastic group that teaches the neurodevelopmental approach to education before we took the important steps to correct.  I’ve also seen some amazing testimonies from others who went through the correcting process!

Little Giant Steps does a fantastic job of using neurodevelopment to change behaviors and educational issues.  We used them to help diagnose and work with our son, and ultimately the whole family!  We have already started seeing results.  

*They usually go to the Teach Them Diligently Conventions, so keep your eye open next convention season for discounts and more information!!

After testing your family, share your results below!


8 thoughts on “Busting Mixed Dominance Myths”

  1. My daughter and I were just talking about eye, hand, and foot dominance a few days ago. I thought it was interesting that she writes with her left hand, but her right eye is dominant!

  2. I’m almost 76 years old and have lived with mixed dominance my entire life. My older sisters had me eat and write right handed as I was left handed. I brush my teeth left handed as well as kick a ball, throw a ball, and play tennis. I can use both hands for tennis and painting. I bat right handed but send ball to the left. I am a retired teacher with a Masters Degree. I still having trouble with directions. I recently started taking the lowest dosage of Sertraline and I like myself more and so does my family. I don’t go in circles or start many things at once as much as I did before. I was inappropriate with laughing. I still have difficulty sitting still, need to be doing “something” most of the time. Reading was a problems as my eyes would water and seem tired. Nice to see I’m not so different after all.

  3. It is a good article on mixed dominance, but be careful saying, “You don’t want to switch this” about your handedness. Little Giant Steps works with Linda Kane, and she often has people switch their dominant hand if it appears to her, after time, that they are using the wrong hand. I haven’t gone to that level, it is hard to switch, but I’m aware of the issues. I believe after some cursory reading in this area that switching the mixed dominance issue is a simplistic look at the big picture. Scientists need to understand why we are doing this in the first place, and therapies such as creeping and crawling may be a good place to start. Anxiety is a huge outflow of mixed dominance. Lord Jesus, help us all heal in Jesus’ Name, Amen. JESUS IS RISEN!

  4. Hello. Were you able to change your eye dominance. If so can you tell me how? I have been doing my own research and I just started working on mine.

    1. Hi! I still have not done it, although, I do seem to use both now, instead of just one. Life got in the way and I have been compensating for so long, it was just easier for me to continue the way I was. They say that the younger you are, the easier it is to change. I took a pair of sunglasses and punched out the eye I wanted to be dominant. Unfortunately, they are currently sitting in my desk drawer! I would absolutely love to hear if you’re able to do it!

  5. This is so helpful for me, I was ambidextrous with my handwriting when I was younger but was forced by a teacher to only use my right hand to write so I only write with that one now, but I am left eyed and left footed, and I am still trying to figure out which ear I am. Many things I can do with either hand like cook, eat, brush my hair, but I can only do things with my left hand such as brush my teeth and there is nothing I can only do with my right hand. I tend to use my left hand more besides for eating and writing. I’m wondering if I should try to switch my hand writing to left because switching all other aspects of my lift seem like more of a hassle but I’m not sure, lol. But I have always struggled with everything you had mentioned it was crazy!

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