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Psychiatry Res. 1983 Sep;10(1):21-30.

Autistic children's hand preferences: results from an epidemiological study of infantile autism.


Twenty-six autistic children, constituting a total population sample of children diagnosed in accordance with Rutter's criteria as suffering from infantile autism, were assessed with regard to handedness and certain associated factors. They were compared with 52 age-, sex-, and IQ-matched controls. Sixty-two percent of the autistic children were non-right-handed compared with 37% of the controls. Left-handedness in autism was associated with an abundance of delayed echolalia. Heredity for left-handedness in some cases, and assumed brain damage and immature patterns of lateralization in others, were considered the cause of non-right-handedness in the autistic children. Computed tomographic (CT) brain scans and other neurobiological examinations did not provide evidence indicating clear-cut unilateral left hemisphere dysfunction in autism. Rather, a slight trend in the opposite direction (i.e., an association with right hemisphere dysfunction) was seen in the left-handed autistic children. The result points toward the need for further studies of handedness in autism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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