Kids who are ambidextrous have a unique skill, but they may also be at higher risk for language and behavioral problems.
A Finnish study, released in the journal Pediatrics, looked at longitudinal data from 8,000 children, which included 87 who were mixed-handed. Those children were twice as likely to have symptoms of ADHD by the time they reached 16, compared with right-handed children. They also had more trouble in school.
About one in every 100 people is mixed-handed, meaning they can use both their right and left hands equally. Being ambidextrous is associated with atypical cerebral lateralization, but researchers aren't clear how this brain circuitry is connected to behavior.
The study could help teachers, parents and physicians identify children who may be at risk for developing problems and address them early on. Hand preference usually develops by the time children are 4 or 5.
Lisa Applegate is a freelance writer and mom of one living in Chicago.
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