Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Ambidextrous Kids More Likely to Have ADHD

Mixed-Handed Children Twice as Likely to Have Problems With Learning and Language, Study Finds
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 25, 2010 -- Young children who can eat, write, and perhaps throw a ball with both hands are more likely to develop learning, language, and mental health problems than children who are strictly right- or left-handed, according to a new report in the journal Pediatrics.

The ability to write and perform other tasks with both hands is called mixed-handedness. About one in every 100 people is mixed-handed, or ambidextrous. What makes a person ambidextrous is somewhat of a mystery, but the ability has been linked to the hemispheres of the brain.

The brain is split into two halves: The left side, or left hemisphere, and the right side, or right hemisphere. Studies have shown that when people naturally gravitate toward using their right hand, the left hemisphere of the brain is more dominant. In mixed-handed people, it appears to be less clear that one side of the brain is more dominant over the other.

For the current study, researchers from the Imperial College London and other European institutions evaluated nearly 8,000 Finnish children, including 87 mixed-handed children, to determine if mixed-handedness was associated with any potential difficulties in school.

When the children were 8 years old, their parents and teachers answered questions regarding their behavior, ability to learn and speak words, and school performance. The teachers disclosed if the child had any reading, writing, or math difficulties and graded each child’s academic performance as below average, average, or above average.

When the children turned 16, they completed a survey regarding how well they thought they did in math and language compared to their classmates. Their parents filled out a behavior-related questionnaire used to identify attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms.

Mixed-Handed Children Struggle in School

The questionnaires showed that mixed-handed 7- and 8-year-olds are twice as likely as their right-handed classmates to perform poorly in school.

Other findings:

  • Mixed-handed children aged 7 and 8 were twice as like as right-handed children to have language problems such as dyslexia. (This finding upholds previous research linking mixed-handedness with dyslexia.)
  • Mixed-handed children were twice as likely to develop symptoms of ADHD later in their teenage years, about age 15 or 16.
  • Mixed-handed children were more likely to have more severe ADHD symptoms than right-handed children.

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration