With Some Help From Others' Hands: Iconic Gesture Helps Semantic Learning in Children With Specific Language Impairment Purpose Semantic learning under 2 co-speech gesture conditions was investigated in children with specific language impairment (SLI) and typically developing (TD) children. Learning was analyzed between conditions. Method Twenty children with SLI (aged 4 years), 20 TD children matched for age, and 20 TD children matched for language ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 09, 2017
With Some Help From Others' Hands: Iconic Gesture Helps Semantic Learning in Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susanne S. Vogt
    Department of Health and Social Affairs, University of Applied Sciences Fresenius, Idstein, Germany
  • Christina Kauschke
    Department of Germanic Linguistics, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany
  • 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 Susanne S. Vogt: vogt@hs-fresenius.de
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Lizbeth Finestack
    Editor: Lizbeth Finestack×
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 09, 2017
With Some Help From Others' Hands: Iconic Gesture Helps Semantic Learning in Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, November 2017, Vol. 60, 3213-3225. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-17-0004
History: Received January 4, 2017 , Revised April 6, 2017 , Accepted June 15, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, November 2017, Vol. 60, 3213-3225. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-17-0004
History: Received January 4, 2017; Revised April 6, 2017; Accepted June 15, 2017

Purpose Semantic learning under 2 co-speech gesture conditions was investigated in children with specific language impairment (SLI) and typically developing (TD) children. Learning was analyzed between conditions.

Method Twenty children with SLI (aged 4 years), 20 TD children matched for age, and 20 TD children matched for language scores were taught rare nouns and verbs. Children heard the target words while seeing either iconic gestures illustrating a property of the referent or a control gesture focusing children's attention on the word. Following training, children were asked to define the words' meaning. Responses were coded for semantic information provided on each word.

Results Performance of the SLI and age-matched groups proved superior to that of the language-matched group. Overall, children defined more words taught with iconic gestures than words taught with attention-getting gestures. However, only children with SLI, but not TD children, provided more semantic information on each word taught with iconic gestures. Performance did not differ in terms of word class.

Conclusions Results suggest that iconic co-speech gestures help both children with and without SLI learn new words but, in particular, assist children with SLI understand and reflect the words' meaning.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by funding from the German Professional Association of Logopaedics to Susanne S. Vogt. We are grateful to the children, parents, speech and language therapists, and nurseries involved in this study. We thank Stephanie Halling, Franziska Hofstetter, and Tanja Loch for research assistance and Katharina Rohlfing for ongoing support.
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