A reaching test reveals weak hand preference in specific language impairment and developmental co-ordination disorder
Hill EL., Bishop DVM.
A reaching test for quantifying hand preference (QHP task) was given to 7- to 11-year-old children with specific language impairment (SLI) or developmental coordination disorder (DCD). The performance of these clinical children was compared to both an age-matched and younger control group. The four groups did not differ in terms of preferred writing hand or preference on a handedness questionnaire. The QHP measure discriminated the clinical and younger control groups from the age-matched controls, but not from each other. Right-handed children with SLI, DCD, and the younger controls reached predominantly with the right hand to spatial positions located to the right of their body's midline and with the left hand to positions situated to its left. Right-handers in the age-matched control group showed a significantly greater tendency to use their right hand to reach to all spatial positions. The increased tendency of the children with SLI to use the non-preferred hand was particularly striking because it was seen both in those with and without recognised motor difficulties. The QHP task appears to be a sensitive, but non-specific, indicator of developmental disorders.