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    Semrud-Clikeman, Margaret Walkowiak, Jenifer Wilkinson, Alison and Minne, Elizabeth Portman 2010. Direct and Indirect Measures of Social Perception, Behavior, and Emotional Functioning in Children with Asperger’s Disorder, Nonverbal Learning Disability, or ADHD. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Vol. 38, Issue. 4, p. 509.

  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: August 2009

10 - Diagnosing and treating right hemisphere disorders


Our understanding of cognitive and behavioral disorders, especially disorders in childhood, must begin by leaving behind the once common assumption that the left hemisphere is the home for language, and the right hemisphere is the home for a confusing, clinically useless category of “everything else,” including emotions, body awareness, visuospatial abilities and social functions. Although scholars no longer view the right hemisphere as the seat of “madness,” it was not until the 1950s that interest in understanding the “other” hemisphere revived (Luys, 1879). Even now, if you pick up any book on brain functions, you are likely still to be reading about the dominance of the left hemisphere. Certainly, it is well established that the left hemisphere dominates for language. In as much as our primary means of communication is verbal language, then we may still think of the left hemisphere as dominant or most essential. But that dichotomy breaks down in two ways.

First, if we reflect on many of the most important moments in our lives – the look of pride in our parents” faces when we are young, or the gaze of someone who loves us – then the relative importance of speech seems quite small compared with “everything else.” When you read that last sentence, it was likely that the images and emotions you experienced were summoned up and it was those emotions and images not the actual words, which gave the sentence meaning for you.

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Pediatric Neuropsychological Intervention
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