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Ambidextrous Children at Higher Risk for Learning Problems
Date:1/25/2010

More likely than right-handed kids to have language problems, ADHD, study finds ,, ,,

MONDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Ambidextrous children are more likely to have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), problems with language and schoolwork, and other mental health issues than right-handed children, new research suggests.

Children are considered ambidextrous if neither hand is dominant, where they switch between using the right and left hands for activities such as eating or writing, or they use their right hand for certain activities and the left for others.

In the study, researchers analyzed data on nearly 8,000 children born in 1985-1986 who participated in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort. Language difficulties, scholastic performance and mental health issues were assessed between ages 7 and 8 and again at age 16 through reports of symptoms from teachers, parents and the children themselves.

At age 8, children who were "mixed-handed" were twice as likely as right-handed children to have difficulties with schoolwork or language, such as with reading or their ability speak as well as their peers.

At age 16, mixed-handed children were twice as likely to have problems with language at school and scores on assessment tests indicating they likely had ADHD. Symptoms of ADHD include excessive fidgeting, inability to focus on a task or concentrate, impulsivity and poor school performance.

Mixed-hand children were also more likely to have signs of psychiatric disturbances, the researchers found.

The study authors noted that mixed-handedness could be useful in diagnosing children with ADHD and other mental health issues.

"Mixed-handedness together with the presence of behavioral problems can be a red flag," said study author Alina Rodriguez, of the department of psychology at Uppsala University in Sweden. "However, mixed-handedness alone does not necessarily imply t
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