Gesture as a Window onto Communicative Abilities: Implications for Diagnosis and Intervention Speakers around the globe gesture when they talk, and young children are no exception. In fact, children's first foray into communication tends to be through their hands rather than their mouths. There is now good evidence that children typically express ideas in gesture before they express the same ideas in ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2015
Gesture as a Window onto Communicative Abilities: Implications for Diagnosis and Intervention
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Susan Goldin-Meadow
    Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Financial Disclosure: Susan Goldin-Meadow is the Beardsley Ruml distinguished service professor at the University of Chicago. Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers P01HD040605 and R01HD47450, and by the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers BCS0925595 and SBE0541957 through the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center. The content is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation.
    Financial Disclosure: Susan Goldin-Meadow is the Beardsley Ruml distinguished service professor at the University of Chicago. Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers P01HD040605 and R01HD47450, and by the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers BCS0925595 and SBE0541957 through the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center. The content is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation.×
  • Nonfinancial Disclosure: Susan Goldin-Meadow has previously published in the subject area.
    Nonfinancial Disclosure: Susan Goldin-Meadow has previously published in the subject area.×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Articles
Article   |   March 01, 2015
Gesture as a Window onto Communicative Abilities: Implications for Diagnosis and Intervention
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, March 2015, Vol. 22, 50-60. doi:10.1044/lle22.2.50
History: Received October 30, 2014 , Revised December 9, 2014 , Accepted January 6, 2015
SIG 1 Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, March 2015, Vol. 22, 50-60. doi:10.1044/lle22.2.50
History: Received October 30, 2014; Revised December 9, 2014; Accepted January 6, 2015

Speakers around the globe gesture when they talk, and young children are no exception. In fact, children's first foray into communication tends to be through their hands rather than their mouths. There is now good evidence that children typically express ideas in gesture before they express the same ideas in speech. Moreover, the age at which these ideas are expressed in gesture predicts the age at which the same ideas are first expressed in speech. Gesture thus not only precedes, but also predicts, the onset of linguistic milestones. These facts set the stage for using gesture in two ways in children who are at risk for language delay. First, gesture can be used to identify individuals who are not producing gesture in a timely fashion, and can thus serve as a diagnostic tool for pinpointing subsequent difficulties with spoken language. Second, gesture can facilitate learning, including word learning, and can thus serve as a tool for intervention, one that can be implemented even before a delay in spoken language is detected.

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