Children who are ambidextrous are more likely to have learning and language difficulties than those who are right or left-handed, according to research.
A study of nearly 8,000 children by scientists at Imperial College London suggests that an eight-year-old child who is ambidextrous will be twice as likely to have problems with language and to perform poorly in school. Researchers said that the findings could help teachers and health professionals to identify children who are particularly at risk of developing certain problems.
Ambidexterity, also known as being “mixed-handed”, is when a person favours one hand for some tasks and the other hand for others — such as writing and throwing a ball or holding a bat. It is estimated to affect between 1 per cent and 5 per cent of people.
True ambidexterity — when a person can carry out all tasks with equal proficiency with both hands — is much rarer. The latest research, published in the American journal Pediatrics, found that 87 children in the study cohort, who were born in Finland in the mid-1980s, were mixed-handed.