Patterns of Gesture Use in Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine patterns of spontaneous gesture use in a sample of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Method Thirty-five adolescents with ASD ages 11 to 16 years participated (mean age = 13.51 years; 29 boys, 6 girls). Participants' spontaneous speech and ... Research Note
Research Note  |   August 01, 2016
Patterns of Gesture Use in Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Barbara A. Braddock
    Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
  • Christina Gabany
    Saint Louis University Center for Health Outcomes Research
  • Meera Shah
    Saint Louis University Center for Health Outcomes Research
  • Eric S. Armbrecht
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Saint Louis University
  • Kimberly A. Twyman
    Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
  • 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 Barbara A. Braddock: bbraddoc@slu.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Nancy Brady
    Associate Editor: Nancy Brady×
Article Information
Special Populations / Autism Spectrum / Research Notes
Research Note   |   August 01, 2016
Patterns of Gesture Use in Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2016, Vol. 25, 408-415. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0112
History: Received August 6, 2014 , Revised January 5, 2015 , Accepted October 23, 2015
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 2016, Vol. 25, 408-415. doi:10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0112
History: Received August 6, 2014; Revised January 5, 2015; Accepted October 23, 2015

Purpose The purpose of this study was to examine patterns of spontaneous gesture use in a sample of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Method Thirty-five adolescents with ASD ages 11 to 16 years participated (mean age = 13.51 years; 29 boys, 6 girls). Participants' spontaneous speech and gestures produced during a narrative task were later coded from videotape. Parents were also asked to complete questionnaires to quantify adolescents' general communication ability and autism severity.

Results No significant subgroup differences were apparent between adolescents who did not gesture versus those who produced at least 1 gesture in general communication ability and autism severity. Subanalyses including only adolescents who produced gesture indicated a statistically significant negative association between gesture rate and general communication ability, specifically speech and syntax subscale scores. Adolescents who gestured produced higher proportions of iconic gestures and used gesture mostly to add information to speech.

Conclusions The findings relate spontaneous gesture use to underlying strengths and weaknesses in adolescents' speech and syntactical language development. More research examining cospeech gesture in fluent speakers with ASD is needed.

Acknowledgments
This work was partially funded through the Department of Pediatrics, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Fleur de Lis grant, awarded to Kimberly A. Twyman and Barbara A. Braddock. We would like to acknowledge Allison Mackay for completing reliability coding, and Travis Threats, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Saint Louis University for his support of this work.
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