, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 597-609

Hand preference and hand skill in children with autism

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Abstract

Hand preference and hand skill was assessed in two broad age groups of children with autism, children with learning disabilities, and control schoolchildren. The first group comprised children ages 3–5 years and the second group of children ages 11–13 years. Degree of handedness remained relatively stable across age groups, particularly within the autistic and learning-disabled populations. The main difference was between the subject groups, with the normal controls more lateralized than either the children with autism or children with learning disabilities. As with degree of handedness, consistency of handedness also differed significantly between subject groups with the normal controls more consistent in their hand preference than the other two groups. In addition, younger children were less consistent in their hand preference than older children. However, the present study found noevidence of a dissociation of hand skill and hand preference in children with autism compared to children with learning disabilities and normal developing children.