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Handedness, Language and Autism

Handedness, Language and AutismDid you know that about 90% of humans are right handed?  Did you also know that research indicates a decreased degree of right-handedness in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)?  In addition, other research found that children with ASD tended to have more mixed-handedness, but that those who had a definite hand preference performed better on motor, language, and cognitive tests than those who did not.

Here are some more interesting facts for the majority of the population:

1. the left hemisphere plays a dominant role in both manual skills and language functions.

2. handedness is generally established by about 3 years of age, with changes in the degree of handedness occurring until school age.

3. children who frequently cross the midline are more strongly right- or left-handed and crossing values correlated with handedness scores.

Perceptual and Motor Skills published research on handedness, assessed by task performance, and standardized receptive and expressive language tests.  The subjects included 110 children with ASD (96 boys; M age = 8.3 years, SD = 3.8) and 45 typically developing children (37 boys; M age = 8.6 years, SD = 4.3), 3 to 17 years of age.  The results indicated that:

  1. children in the ASD group had a lower handedness score (was less strongly lateralized) than the control group.
  2. children in the ASD group exhibited a small effect of handedness on language; right-handers had better language than non-right-handers.

The authors concluded that poorer language prognosis may be associated with left- or mixed-handedness in autism spectrum disorder.

Reference:  Tracey A. Knaus, Jodi Kamps, and Anne L. Foundas. Handedness in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Percept Mot Skills 0031512516637021, first published on March 16, 2016 doi:10.1177/0031512516637021

25 Bilateral Coordination Exercises from https://yourtherapysource.com/bilateralcoordination.html

Need activity ideas to work on crossing midline and bilateral coordination?  Check out 25 Bilateral Coordination Activities.