, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 539-543

Abnormal Brain Lateralization in High-Functioning Autism

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Disturbances in lateral preference in autism are of interest because of their potential to shed light on brain maturational processes in this disorder. Forty-seven autistic individuals with a history of disordered early language development and 22 autistic individuals with normal early language acquisition were matched with 112 healthy individuals and compared on a standardized measure of lateral preference, the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory. Autistic individuals with a history of early language disturbance showed more atypical cerebral dominance than both healthy participants and autistic individuals with normal early language skills. The data indicated maturational disturbances in establishing lateral preference rather than increased rates of left handedness. Atypical establishment of cerebral dominance may be one cause of disordered language development in autism.