My daughter claims that she’s not left-handed; she says she’s “both-handed”. It’s not true, of course; she’s primarily left-handed. But if she were ambidextrous, according to a new study, she would be more likely to have mental health problems, language difficulties, and other academic issues. In addition, ambidextrous teens are twice as likely to have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than their right-handed peers and more severe as well. So, does that mean my daughter is going to be okay?
Not exactly. The study also found that left-handed children, at seven and eight years old, were 30 percent more likely to have difficulty in math than right-handed kids. Other than that, however, lefties faired equally well as children who were right-handed. But does this really spell doom for kids who use both hands? The study was done in Finland and included almost 8,000 children, of whom 87 were ambidextrous. The kids were surveyed at 7 and 8 years old and then again at 15 and 16.
Now, 87 kids doesn’t seem like a very large sample size, but the researchers were quick to note that the “results are statistically and clinically significant.” However, lead researcher Alina Rodriguez of the Imperial College London went on to note that “our results should not be taken to mean that all children who are mixed-handed will have problems at school or develop ADHD. We found that mixed-handed children and adolescents were at a higher risk of having certain problems, but we’d like to stress that most of the mixed-handed children we followed didn’t have any of these difficulties.”
So what it comes down to in the end, I guess, is continue as you were — love your kids, help them with their schoolwork, and do the best you can.