What Our Hands Say: Exploring Gesture Use in Subgroups of Children With Language Delay Purpose The aim of this study was to investigate whether children with receptive-expressive language delay (R/ELD) and expressive-only language delay (ELD) differ in their use of gesture; to examine relationships between their use of gesture, symbolic comprehension, and language; to consider implications for assessment and for the nature of problems ... Research Note
Research Note  |   August 01, 2015
What Our Hands Say: Exploring Gesture Use in Subgroups of Children With Language Delay
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Hilary O'Neill
    Enable Ireland Early Services, Meath, Ireland
  • Shula Chiat
    City University London, United Kingdom
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Hilary O'Neill: hiloneill@yahoo.com
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Luigi Girolametto
    Associate Editor: Luigi Girolametto×
Article Information
Special Populations / Language Disorders / Language / Research Note
Research Note   |   August 01, 2015
What Our Hands Say: Exploring Gesture Use in Subgroups of Children With Language Delay
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1319-1325. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0187
History: Received July 8, 2014 , Revised November 15, 2014 , Accepted May 21, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1319-1325. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0187
History: Received July 8, 2014; Revised November 15, 2014; Accepted May 21, 2015

Purpose The aim of this study was to investigate whether children with receptive-expressive language delay (R/ELD) and expressive-only language delay (ELD) differ in their use of gesture; to examine relationships between their use of gesture, symbolic comprehension, and language; to consider implications for assessment and for the nature of problems underlying different profiles of early language delay.

Method Twelve children with ELD (8 boys, 4 girls) and 10 children with R/ELD (8 boys, 2 girls), aged 2–3 years, were assessed on measures of gesture use and symbolic comprehension.

Results Performance of the R/ELD group was significantly poorer than performance of the ELD group on measures of gesture and symbolic comprehension. Gesture use and symbolic comprehension were significantly associated with receptive language, but associations with expressive language were not significant.

Conclusions Findings of this study support previous research pointing to links between gesture and language development, and more specifically, between delays in gesture, symbolic understanding, and receptive rather than expressive language. Given potentially important implications for the nature of problems underlying ELD and R/ELD, and for assessment of children with language delay, this preliminary study invites further investigation comparing the use of different gesture types in samples of children matched on age and nonverbal IQ.

Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access