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This study explores associations between language ability and hand preference in children with Down syndrome. Compared to typically developing children of the same age, children with Down syndrome showed weaker hand preference, were less consistent in the hand they used and also less willing to reach to extreme positions in contralateral space. Within the group of children with Down syndrome, those who showed a stronger or more consistent hand preference had better language and memory skills. This association could not be explained by differences in non-verbal cognitive ability or hearing loss. These findings are discussed within the theory of neurolinguistic development proposed by Locke [Locke (1997). Brain & Language, 58, 265-326].

Original publication




Journal article


Dev Psychobiol

Publication Date





242 - 250


Adolescent, Articulation Disorders, Auditory Threshold, Child, Choice Behavior, Down Syndrome, Female, Functional Laterality, Humans, Imagination, Language Development Disorders, Male, Motor Skills, Neurolinguistic Programming, Orientation, Psychomotor Disorders, Psychomotor Performance, Reference Values, Semantics, Statistics as Topic, Vocabulary, Wechsler Scales