Gesture Development: A Review for Clinical and Research Practices

Capone, Nina C.; McGregor, Karla K.
February 2004
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Feb2004, Vol. 47 Issue 1, p173
Academic Journal
The aim of this article is to provide clinicians and researchers a comprehensive overview of the development and functions of gesture in childhood and in select populations with developmental language impairments. Of significance is the growing body of evidence that gesture enhances, not hinders, language development. In both normal and impaired populations, gesture and language development parallel each other and share underlying symbolic abilities. Gesture serves several functions, including those of communication, compensation, and transition to spoken language. In clinical practice, gesture may play a valuable role in diagnosis, prognosis, goal selection, and intervention for children with language impairments. Where available, supporting evidence is presented. Needs for additional research on gesture are also highlighted.


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