January 25, 2010

You'd think an ambidextrous person would be more balanced.

But there's some evidence that the opposite is true.


Scott M said...

"We have no poverty among ambidextrous people in Finland."

"Really? That's interesting. We have no poverty among ambidextrous Fins in American either."

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

So -- trying to get me to brag that I'm ambidextrous, eh? Language problems, school trouble, psychosis, hyperactivity? The opposite on all counts.

DADvocate said...

My youngest daughter, now 13, and my brother are both quite ambidextrous and neither had any learning problems. My daughter had a slight problem pronouncing "R" but has been over that for several years. She's one of the top students in her school.

That said, I wonder how many teachers and other professionals will over-react to this news. ADHD affects about 5% of the population which means twice as likely is still only a 10% chance. It's be a tragedy if ambidextrous people received negative attention simply because of this.

Joan said...

Handedness is more complicated than this brief article could discuss. Last year I subbed for a middle school science teacher for a week, and one of the labs the sixth graders did was on handedness. They had to do about a dozen or so different activities, simple things like standing up and starting to walk, and note whether they led with the left or the right. When someone throws you a ball, do you catch it with your right or left hand? Eyes and ears have a dominant side, too.

The fun part was tallying up all the results when the students had finished all the tasks. The vast majority of the kids were right-handed and left-brained. The kids that were left-handed tended to be half right-brained and half with right-brain and left-brain dominant responses that were about equal. There were no ambidextrous kids (by 6th grade, they've chosen a hand), and there were no right-handed kids who were not left-brained.

Most surprising: my oldest son was in one of the classes, and he has always been left-handed, but in doing the activities he was revealed as left-brain/right-brain balanced. We had no idea. He has not even the slightest sign of ADD or ADHD, and does very well in school. He is a very highly functioning Aspie, though -- another condition that is related to brain chemistry and functionality.

It's clear there's still a lot more to be learned about the brain.

tim maguire said...

Yet another way in which lefties get the short end of the stick. Most left handed people are at least somewhat ambidextrous out of necessity.

Scott M said...


To paraphrase Bill Clinton, "we'd give you all the scissors back, but would you use them correctly?"

Anwn said...

This is an interesting topic and a very poor article.

The fact that some ambidextrous people may have ADHD is not surprising. Plenty of left and right handed people have ADHD as well.

Where is the link? Where is the causation? There are successful people with and without ADHD/Dyslexia/Aspergers and whatever other condition you want to throw out there and while a lot of conditions can appear together, that does not mean they are necessarily "linked".

One simple [if anecdotal] explanation is that people with these conditions, while often intelligent, may not go as far in life as others without those conditions. So you have these groups of intelligent under achievers with similar struggles who tend to end up in similar socio-economic tiers where they meet... people just like them selves.

So the ADHD guy and the Dyslexic girl make a baby...

And that kid is so screwed he does not even know his right hand from his left.

Scott M said...


Being the baby of an ADHD guy and a dyslexic girl trying to figure out your left hand from your right is a simple 5-step process.

1) Sit down to think.

2) ...lerriuqs!!!!

Anwn said...

Nice shot.

This is the process on amphetamines:

1) sit down to think
2) see a squirrel
3) notice the handedness of the squirrel and the other 3 squirrels in the area
4) throw a rock at the squirrel, killing it
5) notice which hand you used to throw the rock

MamaM said...

Ok, Scott's comment and Anwn's follow-up made me laugh so I'm in a better mood.

The remark about "so screwed" kids tapped into some of the frustrating realities and perceptions I've encountered as an ADD girl married to a dyslexic guy.

Both of our sons are ambidexterous, one with ADD and the other dyslexia. Raising and parenting them has involved the ongoing challenge of helping them understand and figure out their left from their right in situations far beyond handedness.

It's been a difficult but rewarding journey with and without medication, understanding, and the support of those who see the pluses and minuses involved.

We've been blessed to see both boys become honorable, trustworthy, creative, capable, thoughtful, productive, loving, and responsible young men. Each has a clear awareness of the strengths and challenges involved with their differences; each has found work suited to their interests and abilities.

As Joan said, it's clear there's still a lot more to be learned about the brain. Deficits in one area of brain function are often complemented with giftedness or strengths in another.

Have we been able to go "as far in life as others without the condition"?

Who knows? In my mind, the answer depends on the distance being measured.