ASL - Using both hands

5th February 2010 at 00:00

Children who write with both hands are more likely to struggle in school and have hyperactivity disorder symptoms, according to new research.

A study by scientists from Imperial College London found ambidextrous children were twice as likely to struggle as their classmates. They were also more likely to have difficulties with language. The researchers told Paediatrics journal the differences might be down to the brain's wiring, but cautioned more work was needed to explore this.

Around one in 100 people is ambidextrous, or mixed-handed.

The study looked at nearly 8,000 children from Northern Finland, of whom 87 were mixed-handed. These children, aged seven and eight, were twice as likely as their right-handed peers to have difficulties with language and to perform poorly in school.

When they reached 15 or 16, they were also at twice the risk of having symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and tended to have more severe symptoms than their right-handed schoolmates.

They also reported having greater difficulties with language than those who were left or right-handed - a finding in line with earlier studies that have linked mixed-handedness with dyslexia.

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