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"Left Brain Child"

education, "left brainers," and autism

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The "left brain" child:

  • Has impressive intellectual abilities but seems puzzled by ordinary interactions with other children
  • Is sometimes considered nerdy, geeky, or socially awkward
  • Has deep, all-absorbing interests or encyclopedic knowledge of certain subjects
  • Prefers to spend time with adults or alone rather than with other kids
  • Seems uncomfortable with unstructured play or social engagements
  • Brings home mediocre report cards, despite his or her evident intellectual abilities

Drawing on interviews with parents and children, the book offers practical strategies for nurturing, supporting, and advocating for these children at school and at home.

A note on the book's terminology:

The book uses left-brain and right-brain in the informal, everyday sense, and not in reference to actual brain hemispheres.

Left-brain: logical, systematic, analytical, one-at-a-time, abstract, verbal, introverted.

Right-brain: emotional, incidental, intuitive, holistic, relational, nonverbal, social.


            "This book brims with sound, practical advice for nurturing children who don´t fit into the commonly accepted patterns of `normal development,´ yet possess remarkable gifts. A must-read for parents, educators, and mental health professionals.”
—Michael Gurian, author of Nurture the Nature and The Minds of Boys

            "The most accurate insights into the current trends of educational thinking that I have come across. It is a wake-up call for parents of both left- and right-brained children and should be required reading for all students-and teachers-in our schools of education."
—Barry Garelick, Nonpartisan Education Review

            “A brave, wise, and compassionate guide for parents and teachers of children who, because of their unique styles of thinking and learning, are so often misinterpreted and misunderstood.
            “Unafraid to address and confront the commonly-held beliefs that often result in an alienation and estrangement of many of our brightest and most accomplished children, Dr. Beals generously offers up an abundance of useful insights and practical strategies that will be of inestimable value both to these students, and to the adults who seek to empathically and effectively raise and educate them."

—Brad Sachs, PhD, author of The Good Enough Child and The Good Enough Teen

            “Beals argues persuasively that right-brain bias on the part of teachers, administrators, and, most especially, school counselors and therapists, now threatens the highly analytic child who prefers to solve a problem by him/herself and not participate in group think.
            “She is particularly acute in pointing to a classroom bias against linear thinking even though many of our most talented scientists and engineers do think linearly in going from knowns to unknowns in their problem solving.
            “What can a parent do? Here Beals is at her most passionate and persuasive. Parents can take the side of their child—even a high functioning autistic child—in the battle with the school. Action, however, must be preceded by a thorough understanding of what the right-brain bias is all about. And for that, Beals’ analysis and examples are essential reading.”

--Sheila Tobias, author of Overcoming Math Anxiety, Breaking the Science Barrier, and Succeed.

            “Cogent, well-written, informative, and new, this book is a pleasure to read.  Katharine Beals combines the expertise of a PhD in linguistics with another, rare kind of expertise, that of a parent of three “left-brain,” highly analytic children, to show how current educational practices leave such children “out in left field” and what can be done about it.”
--Clara Claiborne Park, author of The Siege and Exiting Nirvana