chapter  15
34 Pages

Lateral Assymetries in Learning-Disabled Children: A Review

A growing awareness of the relationship between some developmental learning disorders and neurological factors has existed since the late 1800s (Bastian, 1898; James, 1890; Morgan, 1896). The notion has been that incomplete cerebral dominance results in cognitive deficits in learning-disabled children (Orton, 1937). By using measures of lateral preference and perceptual asymmetries one can make inferences about cerebral dominance for language function. Whereas cerebral dominance refers to the involuntary brain functioning of the left and/or right hemispheres, lateral preference refers to the hand or foot a child chooses to use in executing some action. It is distinct from cerebral dominance in that it involves the peripheral nervous system and is voluntary in contrast to the involuntary functioning of the central nervous system with the cerebral hemispheres (Obrzut & Obrzut, 1982). The study of cerebral dominance and its relation to learning has been the focus of many investigations for well over four decades.