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Ambidextrousness linked with ADHD and dyslexia

The Imperial College study looked at records of 8,000 children in Finland who write with both hands, and said they were twice as likely to be having academic problems at 7 or 8, and twice as likely to show symptoms of ADHD as adolescents, than righties.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

Time for a brief personal disclosure.

While generally left-handed, I do some things right-handed. I hit baseballs and golf balls from the right side. I mouse like a righty, keeping it on my left and hitting the left-mouse button.

My son was also ambidextrous, briefly, as a little kid. It took some years before he decided to use his right hand almost exclusively. It was a close-run thing.

(Pat Venditte (right), the only ambidextrous pitcher in captivity, is a prospect in the Yankees' organization and a Creighton graduate. Go Bluejays. Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson threw lefty but hit righty.)

I had always been proud of my ambidexterity. But today's news wants me to feel shame. The Imperial College of London has a study out saying "Mixed-handed children more likely to have mental health, language and scholastic problems."

Well if you you consider ADHD to be a "problem," yeah. I was diagnosed with it in 1964, aged 9. I learned this in 1997 when my son was diagnosed with it, aged 6. Never mind that a key to ADHD recovery is accepting this as a "difference" with benefits instead of a "disability," as society generally does.

The Imperial College study looked at records of 8,000 children in Finland who write with both hands, and said they were twice as likely to be having academic problems at 7 or 8, and twice as likely to show symptoms of ADHD as adolescents, than righties.

There are unexplored questions of cause and effect here, especially given the study's location.

Only a few generations ago left-handed kids were under severe pressure to go right, and this has been true for a long, long time. The Latin for right-handed, after all, is dextro (from which we get dextrous), the Latin for left sinistro (from which we get sinister).

So is this cause or effect? We report, you decide. I just hope we don't get mothers slapping the hands of little kids who eat with their left hands.

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