Left-Handedness in Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Siraj U Siddiqi, Beverly Giordano



This cross-sectional study investigated handedness in patients followed in a university-based child development clinic. The goal was to expand on previous research that identified mixed handedness in children and adolescents as being a risk factor for language problems, scholastic difficulties, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).


Young adult patients and parents of patients < 18 years completed a 13-item survey approved by the university’s institutional review board. The items documented primary and comorbid diagnoses; age, gender, race and ethnicity of patients; age at first diagnosis; type of health care provider who diagnosed child; birth month; and hand preference for common activities of daily living (i.e., writing, eating, throwing ball, bathing, brushing teeth).


996 surveys were completed from February 2016 through August 2016. Males comprised 73.3% (n=731) of the study sample. The average age was 9.26 years ( males = 9.26,   females = 9.47, range 2 to 22 years). ADHD as a single diagnosis was the most common category (40.9%, n=408), followed by ADHD with comorbidities (not including autism) (36.0%, n=359). Autism with ADHD and comorbid conditions comprised 10.3% (n=359) of the sample. 82.1% (n=813) of the total study sample preferred the right hand for writing, less than the 90% reported for the general population. Left-handedness was reported by 15.6% (n=155) and mixed-handedness by 2.2% (n=22) of the sample.


Our findings support the possible interconnection among left handedness/mixed-handedness, right hemisphere neurotransmitter dysfunction, and ADHD, autism, and learning problems.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18103/imr.v4i1.618


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