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DD's great difficulty with facing the correct direction

Discussion in 'Parent Forum' started by Neveranathlete, Jun 3, 2016.

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  1. I will preface this by saying that we suspect DD is dyslexic. It is in our family, so wouldn't be a shocker - and this difficulty with understanding directionals is tied to dyslexia. DD is in a developmental class and does extremely well in the class. But she continues to struggle so much with facing the right direction - either her entire body or her limbs. For example, when you do that TaDa after a move, she STILL cannot remember to put her hands facing outward. Or when she does a cartwheel, she will forget which side is her dominant (right) and then do a wobbly cartwheel on her left. At this point, the coach does not want to move her up to preteam because of this issue. I'm not sure what to do about it. I'm not in a rush to move DD up, but if these problems are the only thing keeping her back, I worry that she will be bored working on only this in developmental class. If anyone has any tips, I'd appreciate it. (And if the tip is, gymnastics may not be right for her - please share!)
  2. My DD had trouble remembering which was her dominate side so she would wear a rainbow loom bracelet on her left ankle and left wrist. Worked like a charm. Now she has no issues. If she can't wear a bracelet use tape.
    ginnymac, Aero and sce like this.
  3. My YDD wears a spare pony tail holder on her right wrist for a quick and easy visual reminder.
    sce likes this.
  4. How old is she and how long in gymnastics?
    sce likes this.
  5. She is 5 and 9 months, in gymnastics for 2 years. Her coach even said to me, "I've never seen a child so confused about directions (which way to face)." Personally, as previously stated, I think this is a learning disability showing. If it is an LD, her ability to differentiate from left to right or back to front, will take a very long time to get down. On the plus side, she can rotate 3d representations in her head amazingly.
  6. I think the coach's expectations are too high. I think most kids your daughter's age struggle with left vs right. I'm not a coach though, just a mom. I would try the hairband or something on her dominant hand wrist and tell her that is her X wrist. But other than that, I really think she's pretty typical for that age.
  7. I'm a dance teacher and I don't know any 5 yr old that doesn't struggle with left and right. My DD was 7 when she had to wear the bracelets on her left wrist and ankle. I agree that the coach's expectations are to high. Put something on her dominant wrist.
    strawberries and sce like this.
  8. I agree with @mariposa and @Dancingimmie -- coaches expectations are a bit oversized. Try the ideas mentioned here and see if it helps. Does the coach have kids?
    strawberries likes this.
  9. First, she is young, Second, if it possibly related to a learning disability have her tested. Getting a disability diagnosed and thus getting therapy can help in all areas. She may not only qualify for educational help but also occupational therapy.
  10. My DD has mild dyslexia and used to often confused right/left and STILL sometimes confuses over/under, in/out, etc, if she isn't really attending to directions.

    She was also completely ambidextrous until her first grade teacher made her choose a dominant hand, and at the same time, she was also starting team gymnastics. Until that point she'd been writing/drawing/cartwheeling/everything with whichever hand and/or feet. Moving to preteam/team actually helped her tremendously with distinguishing right from left - coach had her only use her better side and DD learned that "I know I start my cartwheel with my left/right leg".

    Your DD is young and it'll come in time. Maybe a quick chat with her rec coach would be beneficial - explain her specific issue... Perhaps the coach will attend to it better in practices and try to catch your DD when it happens. Consistency is key. For my DD, it took time, but with her coach's close eye, it improved greatly, and doesn't seem to be an issue any longer. The rubber band/bracelet trick others have mentioned sounds brilliant, too.

    Only caveat is your DD will also need to continually be mindful and try. ;) She's really young yet, though, so she may not be ready to, and that's ok. But it definitely doesn't spell the end of the road for her in gymnastics.
  11. Oh wow. I coach 7-9 year old girls and I still every time give them directions using concrete landmarks. For example when I want them to salute with hands facing outwards I ask them to put their nails point other hand's nails. When I want them to do half turn jumps I ask them to jump facing the beams and land seeing the blue mat. When they are laying on the floor doing kicks I ask them to first lift the leg that is closer to the doors. I don't really use right and left and inward and outward. It's easier this way for the little ones. I
    lovemygymnast, sce and txgymfan like this.
  12. Interesting. I have level 4s who practice probably five times as much as her and are 8-10 and can't figure out where to go in their floor routine.

    Anyway, the hand thing is common. She has to practice (repetition) the right way. In a manageable chunk where that's all she has to think about. Let her stand in front of a mirror with her arms down. Have her bring her arms up and look in the mirror at how her arms are positioned. If it's wrong, rotate her arms gently and let her feel how the right way feels while looking. When she gets it right 10x in a row, then add one thing (start in squat position and then stand and ta da).

    It also helps to give cues the children understand. For this concept since the children understand using their palms to give a high five, I direct the children to place their hands based on who they will be giving a high five (the people behind you, the people on both sides of you, the mat). Children understand that this means to use their palms. Adults will sometimes say things like "the people on either side of you" to direct. To adults this means "the person on your right and the person on your left." To a five year old, however, this is meaningless or misleading. Using language the children understand is important. Children have been conditioned to listen, and at this age they often will "appear" to understand regardless of whether they do or not.

    Also, we need to understand that neurological control of hands, fingers and toes is still developing at this age. It is developed later than basic control of limbs. That is why you can't teach a 3-5 year to write in college ruled lined paper. They simply haven't developed the motor control to do it yet. A smart way to teach children who aren't school aged yet is to therefore not focus on these things but rather to give them tasks that activate their motor skills. Have her play with you and use her feet in different ways (like a monkey picking up small objects with toes and putting them in a box, drawing in the air with ankles, balance boards) and using her fingers (rhyming hand games, stretching a rubber band with fingers, picking up small objects with tweezers and putting them in an ice cube tray, manipulating play doh or silly putty). Regardless of gymnastics these tasks will help her with school and with pre literacy.
    strawberries, Aero and sce like this.
  13. I do not have dyslexia but have been hopeless with left and right my whole life. I wore a simple braided bracelet on my right wrist for years, all through grade school and high school. I was a drama major in college and would continuously get confused about Stage Right vs. Audience Right. When someone says "turn right" I still have to think about it and "pretend to write" with my right hand (As I am right handed) and my kids laugh at me.
    Weirdly I have an excellent sense of direction. Just cannot tell left from right "automatically."
    Oh and I agree that 5 is very young for this to even be an expectation.
    Jard.the.gymnast and sce like this.
  14. My daughter is profoundly dyslexic.She was diagnosed in first grade.She started gymnastics around the same time and was picked up for team immediately after being in rec for a couple months.I remember worrying whether she would be able to memorize routines and remember which direction to turn and which foot to start her skills.But she's been able to do it!The repetition in gymnastics helps her so much.She's now training to be a level six by next season.I tell her gymnastics is her super power when she's down on herself about her reading and spelling.
    Aero likes this.
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