Should Handedness Be Routinely Recorded

It had been widely supposed over many decades that among dyslexics there was either an excess of left-handers or possibly an excess of those who were neither strongly right-handed nor strongly left-handed. The evidence that this was so was by no means negligible, though my own results had turned out to be negative (Miles, 1993a, Chapter 21). The British Births Cohort Study provided the opportunity for a further check.

Tests of handedness had formed part of a medical examination. Three tests were given: (i) each child was asked to pick up a ball placed 12 inches in front of their feet, (ii) each child was asked to comb their hair and (iii) each child was asked which hand they used for writing. Since the first of these tests was administered twice this gave a total of four tests in all. Five categories of handedness were distinguished:

I. consistent right - those who used their right hand for all four tasks

II. inconsistent right - those who used the right hand for three tasks out of the four

III. ambidextrous - those who used each hand 50% of the time

IV. inconsistent left - those who used the left hand for three tasks out of the four V. consistent left - those who used the left hand for all four tasks

Full details will be found in the original paper (Miles et al. 1996). I present here only the data for the dyslexic group (N = 235) and for the normal achievers (N = 6382). This information is given in Table 20.4.

Table 20.4. Categories of handedness: normal achievers (N = 6382) and dyslexics (N = 235), percentages in brackets

Normal achievers


Consistent right

4881 (76.5)

176 (74.9)

Inconsistent right

633 (9.9)

18 (7.7)


327 (5.1)

13 (5.5)

Inconsistent left

176 (2.8)

15 (6.4)

Consistent left

365 (5.7)

13 (5.5)

Adapted from Miles et al. (1996)

Adapted from Miles et al. (1996)

Thus we found no evidence that there was anything unusual about the handedness of dyslexics in comparison with the normal achievers in our study.

Three further papers presenting data from the British Births Cohort Study have been published in Annals of Dyslexia (Miles et al., 1998, 2001 and 2003).

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Adult Dyslexia

Adult Dyslexia

This is a comprehensive guide covering the basics of dyslexia to a wide range of diagnostic procedures and tips to help you manage with your symptoms. These tips and tricks have been used on people with dyslexia of every varying degree and with great success. People just like yourself that suffer with adult dyslexia now feel more comfortable and relaxed in social and work situations.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment