School Psychology Review

Cerebral Dominance and Childhood Learning Disorders: Theoretical Perspectives

Raymond S. Dean

pp. 373-380

Neuropsychology in the Schools

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ABSTRACT: The present paper examined Orton’s early hypothesis of inconsistent cerebral dominance for linguistically disabled children in light of some 50 years of research. After a brief review of the notion of hemispheric specialization, data from nonintrusive measures of functional asymmetry with learning impaired children was critically evaluated. Controlling for methodological difficulties, the available evidence concerning lateral performance and perceptual asymmetry for language was interpreted in favor of a hypothesis which postulates normal left-hemispheric asymmetry for auditory-verbal stimuli and a relative bilateralization of visual-verbal language for many linguistically disabled children. While data supporting such a theoretical formulation was found available, a history of inconsistent findings in this area suggests caution.