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
Free
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.

Patterns of spontaneous gesture use can provide information about the nature and extent of underlying communication strengths and weaknesses in individuals with a variety of communication disorders (Capone & McGregor, 2004; Goldin-Meadow, 2015; Iverson & Braddock, 2011). In autism spectrum disorder (ASD), deficits may include abnormalities in the understanding and use of communicative gesture (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Given that gesture is part of a speaker's complete communication profile, research into the patterns of spontaneous gesture use may serve to inform communicative diagnosis, treatment, and educational instruction. The present study is exploratory and focuses on patterns of spontaneous gesture use in a sample of adolescents with ASD in relationship to speech and language development.
Link Between Gesture and Speech
Cospeech Gesture in Typical Development
When speakers produce speech with gesture, also known as cospeech gesture, theory suggests that they are organizing and packaging visual–spatial information together with the linear, sequential format of spoken words (McNeill, 1992). Given the close neurological underpinnings between speech and gesture, the act of gesturing itself may assist speakers in lexical retrieval (for a review see Kita, 2000; Goldin-Meadow & Alibali, 2013). Some meanings not easily encoded into speech, such as size, shape, or direction of movement, may overflow into the accompanying gesture (McNeill, 1992). Under McNeill's theory (1992), gesture serves to inform listeners about the nature of the speaker's underlying thought.
For example, when narrating a fishing story, a speaker may gesture by holding up both hands about 6 in. apart to indicate the length of a fish while commenting, “That was a good catch!” In this example, the descriptive quality of the gesture added information beyond what was spoken in words, namely the estimated length of the fish.
Studies of typical development (TD) show that gesture development is a process that extends into later childhood (for a review see Dick, Goldin-Meadow, Solodkin, & Small, 2012). Over the course of development, spontaneous gesture production is related to language at multiple levels, from single word to narrative comprehension and production (Goldin-Meadow, 2014). To illustrate the developmental relationship among spoken language, thinking, and gesture, researchers studied school-age children solving mathematical problems (Goldin-Meadow, Cook, & Mitchell, 2009). The results showed that school-age children with TD produced pointing-out and number grouping gestures to think or to extend knowledge that was not easily communicated in words (Goldin-Meadow et al., 2009).
This developmental process was also demonstrated by asking students with TD to gesture when solving mathematical problems that were slightly beyond their capabilities (Broaders, Cook, Mitchell, & Goldin-Meadow, 2007; see also Cook & Goldin-Meadow, 2006). The students produced correct problem-solving strategies in gesture, yet continued to solve the same problems incorrectly in speech (Broaders et al., 2007). These findings are important because telling children to gesture may help them communicate unspoken ideas, leading to improved methods of instruction and ultimately new learning.
Krauss's (1998; Krauss, Chen, & Gottesman, 2000) lexical gesture process model suggests that speakers gesture at higher rates when lexical access is most difficult. Because most typical speakers produce cospeech gesture (Goldin-Meadow & Alibali, 2013; Iverson & Goldin-Meadow, 1998), the complete absence of spontaneous gesture when analyzed across varied speaking contexts may signal communication impairment. Further, qualitative differences in (or a complete absence of) gesture types used to share attention with another person are characteristic of young children with ASD (Charman, 1998; for a review of gesture use in clinical populations see Capone & McGregor, 2004). However, in adolescents with ASD, less is known about the maturity of the gestural system.
Cospeech Gesture in ASD
Only one known study has described patterns of cospeech gesture use in adolescents with ASD between the ages of 12 to 17 years. In this work, de Marchena and Eigsti (2010)  examined spontaneous gesture production in 15 adolescents with ASD along with a same-age comparison group of adolescents with TD. They coded all spontaneous words and gestures produced by participants during a narrative from the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) Cartoon Retell Task (Lord, Rutter, DiLavore, & Risi, 2002). The ADOS defines gesture as an action of the hands or the body that is used to communicate a message to another person (see Lord et al., 2012). To be classified as a gesture, the action must be empty-handed (or must not involve holding an object). Results indicated that patterns of gesture use in adolescents with ASD resembled age-matched adolescents with TD in terms of gesture frequency, rate, and types of gestures produced.
To examine qualitative differences in gesture between the two groups, iconic gestures (or descriptive gestures, as they are referred to on the ADOS-2; Lord et al., 2012) were examined. Iconic gestures are considered referential symbols and present images of concrete entities and/or actions, such as in moving the hand downward to picture swinging an ax (McNeill, 1992). In this work, researchers coded the timing of the speaker's gestured stroke with co-occurring words. The stroke is considered the main part of the gesture. The gesture may begin with a preparation phase when the hand rises from resting position, followed by the stroke, then the retraction phase. Both preparation and retraction phases of hand movement are optional, yet the stroke is obligatory. The stroke phase of the gesture is integrated with speech into a smooth performance before the hand is retracted and returns to its resting place.
Results indicated that, relative to same-age TD comparisons, adolescents with ASD produced gestures less closely synchronized with co-occurring spoken words. Further, when listeners rated the overall quality of the cospeech and gesture communications, adolescents with higher ASD severity and less coordination between speech and gesture productions told stories that were harder to understand. These results show that qualitative differences in speech and gesture provide clinicians with additional information about the nature of the underlying visuo-motor and/or communication disability in adolescent children with ASD.
The Present Study
Although de Marchena and Eigsti's (2010)  work added to the literature by describing asynchronous differences in the timing of speech and gesture coproduction, little information was gathered about the studied group's speech and language abilities. Given the close link between spoken language and gesture (McNeill, 1992), gesture may best be examined in relationship to speech and language ability in adolescents with ASD. This is because more extensive use of gesture has been documented in clinical populations of children with language delay or impairment (Iverson & Braddock, 2011; Thal & Tobias, 1992).
The purpose of this project was to examine patterns of spontaneous gesture use in a sample of adolescents with ASD. We selected the ADOS-2 Cartoon Retell Task as a measure of spontaneous speech and gesture. In this way, researchers and clinicians are able to interpret spontaneous speech and gesture communications within the context of the ADOS-2 data collection procedure. We also made use of parent report questionnaires to quantify adolescents' speech–language/social pragmatic communication ability and autism severity. Two research questions were addressed: (a) What is the relationship among spontaneous gesture use, general communication ability, and autism severity in a sample of adolescents with ASD? (b) What individual differences are apparent in spontaneous gesture use, general communication ability, and autism severity?
Method
Participants
Thirty-five adolescents (boys = 29, girls = 6) between the ages of 11 to 16 years who were consecutively referred to outpatient speech and language therapy participated. Informed consent was completed per institutional review board guidelines. All the participants met the following criteria: a verbal IQ over 70 as reported by a parent on prior measure(s), adequate hearing and vision (or corrected to near normal) as reported by a parent, and diagnosed as having ASD by a physician or other health care provider (autistic disorder = 11, Asperger's disorder = 19, pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified = 5). The participants were from a Midwestern metropolitan area and all were from English-speaking homes. The participants were from diverse backgrounds (White = 26, Latino = 1, Native American = 2, African American = 4, mixed race = 1, other = 1).
Standard Communication and Social Responsiveness Measures
Parents or legal guardians were asked to complete measures of their children's social responsiveness (Social Responsiveness Scale [SRS]; Constantino & Gruber, 2005) and communication ability (Children's Communication Checklist–2 [CCC-2]; Bishop, 2006).
The SRS is a parent- or teacher-rating instrument used to quantify severity of autism-related behaviors and is normed for children between the ages of 4 to 18 years. The SRS includes 65 items divided into domains of social awareness, social information processing, reciprocal social communication, social anxiety/avoidance, and stereotypic behavior/restricted interests. Each item is scored from 1 (not true) to 4 (almost always true) describing behaviors over the last month. Scores are obtained for five treatment subscales: Social Awareness, Social Cognition, Social Communication, Social Motivation, and Autistic Mannerisms. The SRS yields a total score reflecting the sum of parent responses to all 65 SRS questions. Raw scores are converted to T scores with a mean of 50 and standard deviation of 10 for gender and rater type. A T-score of 76 or higher is scored in the severe range and is strongly associated with a clinical diagnosis of ASD; T-scores 60 through 75 are considered in the mild to moderate range and most consistent with children with mild or high functioning ASD; and a T-score of 59 or less is suggestive of children in the typical range of development.
The CCC-2 is a parent-completed instrument used to identify children with speech–language and social pragmatic communication impairment. The CCC-2 also assists in identifying children who may have ASD. The CCC-2 is normed for children between the ages of 4 to 16 years who speak in sentences and use English as their primary language. The CCC-2 includes 70 items divided into 10 scales with seven items within each scale: (a) Speech, (b) Syntax, (c) Semantics, (d) Coherence, (e) Initiation, (f) Scripted Language, (g) Context, (h) Nonverbal Communication, (i) Social Relations, and (j) Interests. Parents are instructed to rate each test item using a 4-point numeric frequency scale ranging from 0 (less than once a week or never) to 3 (several times a day or always). The CCC-2 yields an overall composite General Communication Composite (GCC) score with a mean of 100 and SD of 15.
Communication Observation
While parents or legal guardians completed the SRS and CCC-2 questionnaires, adolescents were asked to complete the ADOS-2 Cartoon Retell Task (Lord et al., 2012). All spontaneous communications produced by adolescents in the Cartoon Retell Task–Series A (featuring a fisherman, cat, and pelican) and Series B (featuring two monkeys and coconuts) were videotaped for later analysis. The ADOS-2 Cartoon Retell Task provides opportunities for a variety of linguistic productions and has established algorithms on the basis of children with ASD.
As outlined in the ADOS-2 procedure manual for the Series A Cartoon, the investigator showed six separate picture cards (7 in. × 8.5 in.) to the adolescent. The picture cards contained black and white drawings depicting a cartoon. First, the investigator showed each of the six picture cards in the proper sequence to each adolescent. The cards were then removed, and each adolescent was instructed to stand up and retell the story sequence to the investigator while being videotaped. Adolescents did not receive additional prompts from the investigator and were not explicitly instructed to gesture. However, if adolescents placed hand(s) in their pocket(s) and/or crossed their arm(s) while narrating, they were asked to position hand(s) to their side(s). The same procedure was repeated for the Series B cartoon. Participants were allowed to speak as long as needed to retell the story. Participants produced short narratives ranging in length from about 30 s to 2 min. As per ADOS-2 administration guidelines, no minimal or maximum time limit was set, yet for study inclusion participants must have demonstrated fluent speech and be willing to participate. The communication observation included combined the Series A and B cartoon retell tasks to allow for an extended sampling of both spoken and gestured communications.
Coding
Two trained coders, fourth year undergraduate students from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, completed the speech and gesture coding. Each of the adolescent's words and gestures were viewed in real time from the videotaped Cartoon Retell Task using Windows Media Player. Language was transcribed verbatim from the Cartoon Retell Task for Cartoon Series A and B on a second computer using standard segmentation coding procedures and software for analyzing free-speech samples known as Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT; Miller & Iglesias, 2010). Both coders agreed upon communication units for utterance segmentation boundaries as outlined in the SALT manual (Miller & Igelsias, 2010, pp. 13–14). Using the SALT software program, two measures of language production were calculated for each participant: (a) number of verbal utterances and (b) number of different words produced in the Cartoon Retell Task.
Gesture Occurrences and Types
Following speech transcription, the two trained coders viewed the Cartoon Retell Task digital video files in real time. They also reopened the previously generated SALT speech transcripts on a separate computer. After several passes through the video, the two coders agreed upon communicative gesture occurrences for each participant. For each gesture occurrence (n = 153), the coders made comments on the SALT transcript (to include gesture occurrence as recorded from the digital video timed readings; gesture type; and, when applicable, gesture co-occurrence with previously transcribed word(s) and its relationship with speech co-occurrence(s). Note that speech and gesture events were judged as co-occurrences if the speaker moved the hand to initiate the stroke effort of the gesture and/or back to resting position in real time with speech output.
All gesture occurrences were classified into one of the following four categories on the basis of past gesture coding conventions (Lord et al., 2012; McNeill, 1992):
(a) Iconic gestures depict a characteristic of or an action performed by a referent (e.g., referred to as descriptive gestures on the ADOS-2).
(b) Beats are meaningless, biphasic, up–down movements of the hands that provide emphasis to speech.
(c) Abstract gestures depict referents that are not in the immediate environment, or referents that are not easily pictured. For example, when using deictic gesture in narratives, speakers often point to empty space to set up space for locating imaginary referents (to reference to objects, places, or characters in the story; see Gullberg, 2006). These abstract points may persist through a story as the speaker makes use of the physical space in front of his or her body during story retell. Speakers may also use abstract gestures that are similar to iconic types, but depict images of the abstract (i.e., metaphoric gestures).
(d) Emblems are conventional gestures whose meaning is known to a wide cultural group (e.g., waving bye-bye, nodding the head “yes” or producing the “ok” sign). Note that deictic gestures to point out a referent in the immediate environment were not produced by participants, and no deictic coding category was required.
Informational Relationship
All gestures produced with speech were noted in transcript comments and further analyzed according to the relative contributions of gesture to the co-occurring spoken words. All gestures produced with speech were further classified into one of three categories: (a) redundant speech–gesture informational relationship, (b) disambiguate speech–gesture informational relationship, and (c) add speech–gesture informational relationship. Redundant refers to speech and gesture co-occurrences in which the same information is communicated through gesture as in the spoken coordinated word (e.g., producing spoken word “yes” while simultaneously producing head nod “yes”). Disambiguate refers to speech and gesture co-occurrences in which gesture is used to single out a referent from other possible ones (e.g., pointing to an empty space while producing the spoken words “this one here”). Add refers to speech and gesture co-occurrences in which information conveyed in gesture is distinct from that in co-produced speech (e.g., producing hand movements as if to throw a coconut while stating, “It was a big coconut.”).
Reliability
To assess interrater agreement, 13 of 70 (19%) randomly selected Cartoon A and/or B transcripts that included at least one gesture occurrence were reviewed by another trained coder, a third-year undergraduate student in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The third coder was blind to the previous consensus codes. The third coder met at least three times with the original two coders for training. The trainers reviewed coding categories with the third coder in detail using a practice video. The trainers provided the third coder with a written coding manual of gesture types and gesture–speech informational relationships for use in coding reliability.
Mean interrater agreement for gesture measures was 85% for occurrences (n = 50), 88% (n = 17) for iconic gesture type, 80% (n = 15) for beat gesture type, 75% (n = 12) for abstract type, and 75% (n = 4) for emblem gesture type. Mean interrater agreement for informational relationship was 67% for redundant (n = 6), 75% for disambiguate (n = 4), and 80% for add (n = 25).
Results
What Is the Relationship Among Spontaneous Gesture Use, Standard Measure of General Communication Ability, and Autism Severity?
To address the first research question, we examined the frequency of gesture relative to overall talkativeness in the full group of adolescents with ASD. We did this by calculating gesture rate as the total number of gestures divided by the total number of utterances produced in the Cartoon Retell Task (Series A and B). Note that gesture rate was calculated as gesture per utterance to control for individual variation in narrative length, because some adolescents spoke for longer periods of time.
Participants were not excluded from analyses on the basis of number of utterances produced. This is because no time limit or prompt hierarchy was provided to participants during the Cartoon Retell Task. For a given participant, number of utterances ranged from seven to 37 (M = 14.77, SD = 6.11).
Next, we calculated bivariate correlation coefficients for gesture rate and the CCC-2 GCC as continuous variables. The GCC was used as a standard measure of participants' general speech–language/social pragmatic communication ability. We observed a negative association between gesture rate (i.e., gesture per utterance) and GCC score; however, the results did not reach statistical significance (rs = −.16, ns, n = 35). Further, we calculated bivariate correlation coefficients for gesture rate and autism severity as continuous variables. The SRS Total T-score was used as a standard measure of participants' autism severity. No association was found between gesture rate (i.e., gesture per utterance) and SRS Total T-score (r s = .20, ns, n = 35).
What Individual Differences Are Apparent in Spontaneous Gesture Use, Standard Measure of Communication Ability, and Autism Severity?
To address our second research question, we compared participants who did not gesture to those who produced gesture during the Cartoon Retell Task using a standard measure of general communication ability (i.e., CCC-2 GCC score) and autism severity (i.e., SRS Total T-score). To examine how gesture use was related to other aspects of communication, participants were assigned to one of two subgroups: (a) No Gesture subgroup or (b) Gesture subgroup. Participants assigned to the No Gesture subgroup produced no gesture occurrences during the ADOS-2 Cartoon Retell Task (Series A and B; n = 12; one girl, 11 boys), and participants assigned to the Gesture subgroup produced at least one gesture occurrence during the ADOS-2 Cartoon Retell Task (Series A and B; n = 23; five girls, 18 boys). Mann–Whitney nonparametric test statistics indicated no significant differences between subgroups for general communication ability (GCC score; MNo gesture subgroup = 69.00, SD = 11.65; MGesture subgroup = 71.74, SD = 10.14) and autism severity (SRS Total T-score; MNo gesture subgroup = 78.58, SD = 8.67; MGesture subgroup = 81.70, SD = 8.80).
Gesture Subanalyses
To further describe individual patterns of gesture use, we completed a subanalysis of the data using only participants who produced gesture (i.e., Gesture subgroup, n = 23). For each participant in the Gesture subgroup, Table 1 lists ASD diagnosis, gender, ethnic background, age in years, number of gestures and utterances produced in the Cartoon Retell Task, gesture rate, and GCC score (Speech and Syntax scale scores) with subgroup means and SDs.
Table 1. Reported autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, ethnic background, gender, age in years, number of gestures and utterances produced on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule–2 Cartoon Retell Task (combined Series A and B), gesture rate, and Children's Communication Checklist–2 General Communication Composite (CCC-2 GCC; Speech and Syntax scaled) scores for participants who produced at least one gesture occurrence (Gesture subgroup, n = 23).
Reported autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, ethnic background, gender, age in years, number of gestures and utterances produced on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule–2 Cartoon Retell Task (combined Series A and B), gesture rate, and Children's Communication Checklist–2 General Communication Composite (CCC-2 GCC; Speech and Syntax scaled) scores for participants who produced at least one gesture occurrence (Gesture subgroup, n = 23).×
Gesture subgroup participant Diagnosis Ethnic background Gender Age in years Number of gestures produced Number of utterances produced Gesture rate (gesture per utterance) CCC-2 GCC with (Speech scaled score, Syntax scaled scores)
1 Asperger's disorder White M 14 1 7 0.14 79 (12, 12)
2 Autistic disorder Hispanic M 14 17 16 1.06 68 (6, 8)
3 Asperger's disorder White M 16 4 10 0.40 70 (3, 5)
4 Asperger's disorder Native American M 15 2 37 0.05 82 (7, 9)
5 Asperger's disorder White M 14 9 14 0.64 69 (4, 5)
6 Asperger's disorder White M 13 1 8 0.13 71 (8, 8)
7 Asperger's disorder White F 13 6 11 0.55 79 (9, 8)
8 Autistic disorder African American M 14 4 13 0.31 77 (8, 7)
9 Asperger's disorder White F 15 12 14 0.86 64 (7, 8)
10 Autistic disorder White F 15 8 29 0.28 79 (9, 8)
11 Autistic disorder White F 13 3 15 0.20 80 (12, 9)
12 Autistic disorder White F 13 4 10 0.40 63 (4, 5)
13 Pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified White M 13 3 21 0.14 47 (2, 2)
14 Asperger's disorder White M 13 2 17 0.12 77 (9, 9)
15 Asperger's disorder White M 15 18 18 1.00 73 (2, 4)
16 Asperger's disorder White M 12 16 15 1.07 58 (1, 4)
17 Autistic disorder African American M 13 16 18 0.89 63 (1, 8)
18 Asperger's disorder African American M 15 6 18 0.33 81 (7, 7)
19 Autistic disorder White M 11 1 16 0.06 74 (3, 10)
20 Asperger's disorder White M 12 1 12 0.08 80 (12, 9)
21 Asperger's disorder Native American M 14 5 13 0.38 59 (2, 7)
22 Autistic disorder White M 12 3 14 0.21 93 (9, 9)
23 Asperger's disorder White M 13 11 21 0.52 64 (12, 4)
61% Asperger's disorder 74% White 78% male M = 13.57 (SD = 1.24) M = 6.65 (SD = 5.65) M = 15.96 (SD = 6.62) M = 0.43 (SD = 0.34) GCC M = 71.74 (SD = 10.14)
Totals and Ms
Note. CCC-2 GCC score, M = 100 (SD = 15); Speech and Syntax subscale scores, M = 10 (SD = 3; Bishop, 2006).
Note. CCC-2 GCC score, M = 100 (SD = 15); Speech and Syntax subscale scores, M = 10 (SD = 3; Bishop, 2006).×
Table 1. Reported autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, ethnic background, gender, age in years, number of gestures and utterances produced on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule–2 Cartoon Retell Task (combined Series A and B), gesture rate, and Children's Communication Checklist–2 General Communication Composite (CCC-2 GCC; Speech and Syntax scaled) scores for participants who produced at least one gesture occurrence (Gesture subgroup, n = 23).
Reported autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, ethnic background, gender, age in years, number of gestures and utterances produced on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule–2 Cartoon Retell Task (combined Series A and B), gesture rate, and Children's Communication Checklist–2 General Communication Composite (CCC-2 GCC; Speech and Syntax scaled) scores for participants who produced at least one gesture occurrence (Gesture subgroup, n = 23).×
Gesture subgroup participant Diagnosis Ethnic background Gender Age in years Number of gestures produced Number of utterances produced Gesture rate (gesture per utterance) CCC-2 GCC with (Speech scaled score, Syntax scaled scores)
1 Asperger's disorder White M 14 1 7 0.14 79 (12, 12)
2 Autistic disorder Hispanic M 14 17 16 1.06 68 (6, 8)
3 Asperger's disorder White M 16 4 10 0.40 70 (3, 5)
4 Asperger's disorder Native American M 15 2 37 0.05 82 (7, 9)
5 Asperger's disorder White M 14 9 14 0.64 69 (4, 5)
6 Asperger's disorder White M 13 1 8 0.13 71 (8, 8)
7 Asperger's disorder White F 13 6 11 0.55 79 (9, 8)
8 Autistic disorder African American M 14 4 13 0.31 77 (8, 7)
9 Asperger's disorder White F 15 12 14 0.86 64 (7, 8)
10 Autistic disorder White F 15 8 29 0.28 79 (9, 8)
11 Autistic disorder White F 13 3 15 0.20 80 (12, 9)
12 Autistic disorder White F 13 4 10 0.40 63 (4, 5)
13 Pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified White M 13 3 21 0.14 47 (2, 2)
14 Asperger's disorder White M 13 2 17 0.12 77 (9, 9)
15 Asperger's disorder White M 15 18 18 1.00 73 (2, 4)
16 Asperger's disorder White M 12 16 15 1.07 58 (1, 4)
17 Autistic disorder African American M 13 16 18 0.89 63 (1, 8)
18 Asperger's disorder African American M 15 6 18 0.33 81 (7, 7)
19 Autistic disorder White M 11 1 16 0.06 74 (3, 10)
20 Asperger's disorder White M 12 1 12 0.08 80 (12, 9)
21 Asperger's disorder Native American M 14 5 13 0.38 59 (2, 7)
22 Autistic disorder White M 12 3 14 0.21 93 (9, 9)
23 Asperger's disorder White M 13 11 21 0.52 64 (12, 4)
61% Asperger's disorder 74% White 78% male M = 13.57 (SD = 1.24) M = 6.65 (SD = 5.65) M = 15.96 (SD = 6.62) M = 0.43 (SD = 0.34) GCC M = 71.74 (SD = 10.14)
Totals and Ms
Note. CCC-2 GCC score, M = 100 (SD = 15); Speech and Syntax subscale scores, M = 10 (SD = 3; Bishop, 2006).
Note. CCC-2 GCC score, M = 100 (SD = 15); Speech and Syntax subscale scores, M = 10 (SD = 3; Bishop, 2006).×
×
Bivariate correlation coefficients subanalyses showed a statistically significant negative association between gesture rate (i.e., gesture per utterance) and the GCC score (r s = −.53, p < .01, n = 23). Figure 1 highlights the direction and magnitude of the association between gesture rate (i.e., gesture per utterance) and GCC score for the subanalyses. Likewise, when gesture rate was calculated as the number of gestures produced divided by the number of words spoken in the Cartoon Retell Task for each participant, we observed the same result. Bivariate correlation coefficient results showed a statistically significant negative association between gesture rate (i.e., gesture per word) and the GCC score (r s = −.53, p < .01, n = 23).
Figure 1.

Scatterplot of gesture rate (gesture per utterance) and General Communication Composite score for each participant in the Gesture subgroup.

 Scatterplot of gesture rate (gesture per utterance) and General Communication Composite score for each participant in the Gesture subgroup.
Figure 1.

Scatterplot of gesture rate (gesture per utterance) and General Communication Composite score for each participant in the Gesture subgroup.

×
For adolescents in the Gesture subgroup, we analyzed all CCC-2 subtest scaled scores (i.e., Speech, Syntax, Semantics, Coherence, Initiation, Scripted Language, Context, Nonverbal Communication, Social Relations, and Interests). The results showed a statistically significant negative association between gesture rate (i.e., gesture per utterance), Speech scaled score (r s = −.44, p < .04, n = 23), and Syntax scaled score (r s = −.59, p < .003, n = 23). No other significant relationships were found, yet a trend in the negative direction was observed between gesture rate (i.e., gesture per utterance) and Context scaled score (r s = −.37, p < .08, n = 23). Significant negative associations were also found between gesture rate (i.e., gesture per word), Speech scaled score (r s = −.42, p < .05, n = 23), and Syntax scaled score (r s = −.61, p < .002, n = 23). Taken together, those participants who gestured at higher rates tended to rank lower on the GCC score and scaled scores for Speech and Syntax.
Gesture Type
To examine gesture type, proportions were calculated by counting the number of gestures in each of the four categories and dividing by the total number of gestures produced by each participant in the Gesture subgroup. Almost half of all gestures were coded as iconic gestures (M = 0.47, SD = 0.34), followed by beat (M = 0.27, SD = 0.28), abstract gestures (M = 0.16, SD = 0.21), and emblem gestures (M = 0.10, SD = 0.17). No participant produced deictic gesture types to point out objects in the immediate environment during the Cartoon Retell Task.
For the Gesture subgroup, we also calculated bivariate correlation coefficients for gesture type and communication ability, as well as autism severity. No statistically significant associations were found between gesture types (for iconic, beat, emblem, or abstract categories) and general communication ability (i.e., GCC score) or autism severity (i.e., SRS Total T-Score).
Informational Relationship Between Speech and Gesture
To examine the informational relationship between gesture and the co-occurring speech produced by participants in the Gesture subgroup, proportions were derived by counting the number of speech–gesture relationships in each category and dividing by the total number of speech–gesture relationships produced by each participant. The majority of speech–gesture relationships were coded as add (M = 0.70, SD = 0.35), followed by redundant (M = 0.25, SD = 0.36), and disambiguate (M = 0.05, SD = 0.14).
For the Gesture subgroup, we calculated bivariate correlation coefficients for speech–gesture information relationships and communication ability, as well as autism severity. However, there were no significant relationships between information types (for add, redundant, or disambiguate categories) and general communication ability (i.e., GCC score) or autism severity (i.e., SRS Total T-Score).
Discussion
The purpose of this project was to examine patterns of spontaneous gesture use in a sample of adolescents with ASD. Only one known study has examined patterns of gesture use in adolescents with ASD using a standard speech task, and it included 15 adolescents with ASD (de Marchena & Eigsti, 2010). The present study is the first known to examine patterns of cospeech gesture in a larger group of adolescents with ASD. First, we asked if a relationship exists among spontaneous gesture use, general communication ability, and autism severity in the full group of adolescents with ASD. Second, we explored individual differences in terms of spontaneous gesture use, general communication, speech–language/social pragmatic communication abilities, and autism severity in the full group and in a subgroup of participants who gestured during the Cartoon Retell Task. This work is descriptive in nature and a starting point for future research questions.
General Findings
When data were analyzed using the full group, no significant associations were found between gesture rate and standard measure of general communication ability (i.e., GCC score) or autism severity (i.e., SRS Total T-score). It is noteworthy that over one third of our participants did not gesture at all during the Cartoon Retell Task. Of the 23 participants who did gesture (i.e., Gesture subgroup), there was a significant negative association between spontaneous gesture rate and standard measure of general communication ability. It is interesting to note that gesture rate was found to be significant and negatively related to speech and syntax subscale scores in the Gesture subgroup.
Gesture Subgroup
Why was gesture rate significantly associated with speech and syntax subscale scores in the Gesture subgroup? It might be that cognitive–linguistic demands afforded by the Cartoon Retell Task itself contributed to the negative relationship among gesture rate, speech, and syntax. For instance, participants were asked to retell the story without the use of picture cards; thus creating a delayed recall task. In addition, the picture cards to be narrated were visually complex and included different characters and scenery. Aside from visual encoding and delayed recall task demands, adolescents were required to produce a story sequence by constructing meaningful utterances. Some participants might have used gesture as a means to lighten the cognitive–linguistic load when the task afforded particular challenges. In this way, some adolescents might have compensated for reductions in speech and syntactical language skills through enhanced gesture use.
When considering gesture type, adolescents in the Gesture subgroup who produced higher proportions of iconic gesture, relative to other types, might have circumvented speech and syntactical language difficulties by adding visuo-spatial information to spoken words. This way gesture might have lightened the cognitive–linguistic load by supplying information that was not readily communicated in speech.
In addition, gesture has been found to be helpful to speakers conversing about nonpresent items (Ping & Goldin-Meadow, 2010) or when moving in coordination with co-occurring speech (Cook, Yip, & Goldin-Meadow, 2012). Given that the story characters and events to be narrated were not in the immediate environment, some participants might have used gesture to establish a point of reference for themselves or the listener. For example, participants might have produced abstract points to distinguish an absent or imaginary referent by linking gesture to nonspecific word choices, such as “this” or “that” or “here.” Further, abstract points are generally present in the speech narratives of children with TD at about 12 years of age (McNeill, 1992).
Study Limitations
There were several limitations to this study. The first limitation was that we did not collect data from a matched comparison group of adolescents with TD. This prevented statistical analyses of the impact of the severity of the general communication disability on gesture use relative to TD. Second, standard communication measurement was collected through parental report only. Although this is a limitation, the CCC-2 test has been found to be an effective means by which to identify children at risk of language impairment (Bishop, 2006), especially in assessing structural language skills (for a review see Bishop, Laws, Adams, & Norbury, 2006). Third, adolescents who participated in this research had previous ASD diagnoses by outside medical providers, such as psychologists, physicians, and therapists. In all cases, however, SRS scores collected during our intake meeting appeared to validate outside medical providers' ASD diagnoses, because all scored high on autism symptomatology. In addition, parents reported that their children had previously scored above 70 on verbal IQ measures, yet we did not confirm reports through direct neuropsychological testing.
We did not include measures of hand movement trajectories and their timing or synchrony with speech using frame-by-frame analysis of the gesture video. Qualitative assessment of cospeech gesture has been found to be an important area of study in adolescents with ASD (de Marchena & Eigsti, 2010). We are currently collecting data on gesture production in adolescents with ASD to address these limitations.
Clinical Implications
In sum, subanalyses including only adolescents who produced gesture related spontaneous gesture use to underlying strengths and weaknesses in speech and syntactical language development. The findings show that gesture rate negatively correlated with standard communication scores, and that some adolescents with ASD appear to use gesture to compensate for lowered speech and syntactical language development when conveying information about absent referents. More research examining cospeech gesture use is needed in fluent speakers with ASD using longitudinal or cross-sectional study designs to determine patterns of gesture use in relationship to language ability.
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.
References
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.×
Bishop, D. V. M. (2006). Children's Communication Checklist–2 (2nd ed., United States Edition). San Antonio, TX: Pearson.
Bishop, D. V. M. (2006). Children's Communication Checklist–2 (2nd ed., United States Edition). San Antonio, TX: Pearson.×
Bishop, D. V. M., Laws, G., Adams, C., & Norbury, C. F. (2006). High heritability of speech and language impairments in 6-year-old twins demonstrated using parent and teacher report. Behavior Genetics, 36, 173–184. [Article] [PubMed]
Bishop, D. V. M., Laws, G., Adams, C., & Norbury, C. F. (2006). High heritability of speech and language impairments in 6-year-old twins demonstrated using parent and teacher report. Behavior Genetics, 36, 173–184. [Article] [PubMed]×
Broaders, S. C., Cook, S. W., Mitchell, Z., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2007). Making children gesture brings out implicit knowledge and leads to learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136(4), 539–550. [Article] [PubMed]
Broaders, S. C., Cook, S. W., Mitchell, Z., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2007). Making children gesture brings out implicit knowledge and leads to learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136(4), 539–550. [Article] [PubMed]×
Capone, N., & McGregor, K. (2004). Gesture development: A review for clinical and research practices. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 173–186. [Article]
Capone, N., & McGregor, K. (2004). Gesture development: A review for clinical and research practices. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 173–186. [Article] ×
Charman, T. (1998). Specifying the nature and course of the joint attention impairment in autism in the preschool years: Implications for diagnosis and intervention. Autism, 2, 61–79. [Article]
Charman, T. (1998). Specifying the nature and course of the joint attention impairment in autism in the preschool years: Implications for diagnosis and intervention. Autism, 2, 61–79. [Article] ×
Constantino, J. N., & Gruber, C. P. (2005). Social Responsiveness Scale. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.
Constantino, J. N., & Gruber, C. P. (2005). Social Responsiveness Scale. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.×
Cook, S. W., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2006). The role of gesture in learning: Do children use their hands to change their minds? Journal of Cognition and Development, 7(2), 211–232. [Article]
Cook, S. W., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2006). The role of gesture in learning: Do children use their hands to change their minds? Journal of Cognition and Development, 7(2), 211–232. [Article] ×
Cook, S. W., Yip, T., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2012). Gestures, but not meaningless movements, lighten working memory load when explaining math. Language and Cognitive Processes, 27, 594–610. [Article] [PubMed]
Cook, S. W., Yip, T., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2012). Gestures, but not meaningless movements, lighten working memory load when explaining math. Language and Cognitive Processes, 27, 594–610. [Article] [PubMed]×
de Marchena, A., & Eigsti, I. (2010). Conversational gestures in autism spectrum disorders: Asynchrony but not decreased frequency. Autism Research, 3, 311–322. [Article] [PubMed]
de Marchena, A., & Eigsti, I. (2010). Conversational gestures in autism spectrum disorders: Asynchrony but not decreased frequency. Autism Research, 3, 311–322. [Article] [PubMed]×
Dick, A., Goldin-Meadow, S., Solodkin, A., & Small, S. (2012). Gesture in the developing brain. Developmental Science, 15(2), 165–180. [Article] [PubMed]
Dick, A., Goldin-Meadow, S., Solodkin, A., & Small, S. (2012). Gesture in the developing brain. Developmental Science, 15(2), 165–180. [Article] [PubMed]×
Goldin-Meadow, S. (2014). How gesture works to change our minds. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 3, 4–6. [Article] [PubMed]
Goldin-Meadow, S. (2014). How gesture works to change our minds. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 3, 4–6. [Article] [PubMed]×
Goldin-Meadow, S. (2015). Gesture as a window onto communicative abilities: Implications for diagnosis and intervention. Perspectives on Language and Learning and Education, 22, 50–60. [Article]
Goldin-Meadow, S. (2015). Gesture as a window onto communicative abilities: Implications for diagnosis and intervention. Perspectives on Language and Learning and Education, 22, 50–60. [Article] ×
Goldin-Meadow, S., & Alibali, M. W. (2013). Gesture's role in speaking, learning, and creating language. Annual Review of Psychology, 123, 448–453.
Goldin-Meadow, S., & Alibali, M. W. (2013). Gesture's role in speaking, learning, and creating language. Annual Review of Psychology, 123, 448–453.×
Goldin-Meadow, S., Cook, S. W., & Mitchell, Z. A. (2009). Gesturing gives children new ideas about math. Psychological Science, 20(3), 267–272. [Article] [PubMed]
Goldin-Meadow, S., Cook, S. W., & Mitchell, Z. A. (2009). Gesturing gives children new ideas about math. Psychological Science, 20(3), 267–272. [Article] [PubMed]×
Gullberg, M. (2006). Handling discourse: Gestures, reference, tracking, and communication strategies in L2. Language Learning, 56(1), 155–196. [Article]
Gullberg, M. (2006). Handling discourse: Gestures, reference, tracking, and communication strategies in L2. Language Learning, 56(1), 155–196. [Article] ×
Iverson, J. M., & Braddock, B. A. (2011). Gesture and motor skill in relation to language in children with language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 54, 72–86. [Article]
Iverson, J. M., & Braddock, B. A. (2011). Gesture and motor skill in relation to language in children with language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 54, 72–86. [Article] ×
Iverson, J. M., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (1998, November 19 ). Why people gesture when they speak. Nature, 396, 228. [Article] [PubMed]
Iverson, J. M., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (1998, November 19 ). Why people gesture when they speak. Nature, 396, 228. [Article] [PubMed]×
Kita, S. (2000). How representational gestures help speaking. In McNeill, D. (Ed.), Language and gesture (pp. 162–185). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Kita, S. (2000). How representational gestures help speaking. In McNeill, D. (Ed.), Language and gesture (pp. 162–185). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.×
Krauss, R. M. (1998). Why do we gesture when we speak? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 7, 54–60. [Article]
Krauss, R. M. (1998). Why do we gesture when we speak? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 7, 54–60. [Article] ×
Krauss, R. M., Chen, Y., & Gottesman, R. (2000). Lexical gestures and lexical access: A process model. In McNeill, D. (Ed.), Language and gesture (pp. 261–283). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Krauss, R. M., Chen, Y., & Gottesman, R. (2000). Lexical gestures and lexical access: A process model. In McNeill, D. (Ed.), Language and gesture (pp. 261–283). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.×
Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., & Risi, S. (2002). Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) manual. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.
Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., & Risi, S. (2002). Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) manual. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.×
Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., Risi, S., Gotham, K., & Bishop, S. L. (2012). Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOD-2) Manual (Part I): Modules 1–4. Forrance, CA: Western Psychological Services.
Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. C., Risi, S., Gotham, K., & Bishop, S. L. (2012). Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOD-2) Manual (Part I): Modules 1–4. Forrance, CA: Western Psychological Services.×
McNeill, D. (1992). Hand and mind: What gestures reveal about thought. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
McNeill, D. (1992). Hand and mind: What gestures reveal about thought. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.×
Miller, J., & Iglesias, A. (2010). Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT), Instructional Version 2010 [Computer Software] . Middleton, WI: SALT Software.
Miller, J., & Iglesias, A. (2010). Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT), Instructional Version 2010 [Computer Software] . Middleton, WI: SALT Software.×
Ping, R., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2010). Gesturing saves cognitive resources when talking about non-present objects. Cognitive Science, 34(4), 602–619. [Article] [PubMed]
Ping, R., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2010). Gesturing saves cognitive resources when talking about non-present objects. Cognitive Science, 34(4), 602–619. [Article] [PubMed]×
Thal, D., & Tobias, S. (1992). Communicative gestures in children with delayed onset of oral expressive vocabulary. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35, 1281–1289. [Article] [PubMed]
Thal, D., & Tobias, S. (1992). Communicative gestures in children with delayed onset of oral expressive vocabulary. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 35, 1281–1289. [Article] [PubMed]×
Figure 1.

Scatterplot of gesture rate (gesture per utterance) and General Communication Composite score for each participant in the Gesture subgroup.

 Scatterplot of gesture rate (gesture per utterance) and General Communication Composite score for each participant in the Gesture subgroup.
Figure 1.

Scatterplot of gesture rate (gesture per utterance) and General Communication Composite score for each participant in the Gesture subgroup.

×
Table 1. Reported autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, ethnic background, gender, age in years, number of gestures and utterances produced on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule–2 Cartoon Retell Task (combined Series A and B), gesture rate, and Children's Communication Checklist–2 General Communication Composite (CCC-2 GCC; Speech and Syntax scaled) scores for participants who produced at least one gesture occurrence (Gesture subgroup, n = 23).
Reported autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, ethnic background, gender, age in years, number of gestures and utterances produced on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule–2 Cartoon Retell Task (combined Series A and B), gesture rate, and Children's Communication Checklist–2 General Communication Composite (CCC-2 GCC; Speech and Syntax scaled) scores for participants who produced at least one gesture occurrence (Gesture subgroup, n = 23).×
Gesture subgroup participant Diagnosis Ethnic background Gender Age in years Number of gestures produced Number of utterances produced Gesture rate (gesture per utterance) CCC-2 GCC with (Speech scaled score, Syntax scaled scores)
1 Asperger's disorder White M 14 1 7 0.14 79 (12, 12)
2 Autistic disorder Hispanic M 14 17 16 1.06 68 (6, 8)
3 Asperger's disorder White M 16 4 10 0.40 70 (3, 5)
4 Asperger's disorder Native American M 15 2 37 0.05 82 (7, 9)
5 Asperger's disorder White M 14 9 14 0.64 69 (4, 5)
6 Asperger's disorder White M 13 1 8 0.13 71 (8, 8)
7 Asperger's disorder White F 13 6 11 0.55 79 (9, 8)
8 Autistic disorder African American M 14 4 13 0.31 77 (8, 7)
9 Asperger's disorder White F 15 12 14 0.86 64 (7, 8)
10 Autistic disorder White F 15 8 29 0.28 79 (9, 8)
11 Autistic disorder White F 13 3 15 0.20 80 (12, 9)
12 Autistic disorder White F 13 4 10 0.40 63 (4, 5)
13 Pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified White M 13 3 21 0.14 47 (2, 2)
14 Asperger's disorder White M 13 2 17 0.12 77 (9, 9)
15 Asperger's disorder White M 15 18 18 1.00 73 (2, 4)
16 Asperger's disorder White M 12 16 15 1.07 58 (1, 4)
17 Autistic disorder African American M 13 16 18 0.89 63 (1, 8)
18 Asperger's disorder African American M 15 6 18 0.33 81 (7, 7)
19 Autistic disorder White M 11 1 16 0.06 74 (3, 10)
20 Asperger's disorder White M 12 1 12 0.08 80 (12, 9)
21 Asperger's disorder Native American M 14 5 13 0.38 59 (2, 7)
22 Autistic disorder White M 12 3 14 0.21 93 (9, 9)
23 Asperger's disorder White M 13 11 21 0.52 64 (12, 4)
61% Asperger's disorder 74% White 78% male M = 13.57 (SD = 1.24) M = 6.65 (SD = 5.65) M = 15.96 (SD = 6.62) M = 0.43 (SD = 0.34) GCC M = 71.74 (SD = 10.14)
Totals and Ms
Note. CCC-2 GCC score, M = 100 (SD = 15); Speech and Syntax subscale scores, M = 10 (SD = 3; Bishop, 2006).
Note. CCC-2 GCC score, M = 100 (SD = 15); Speech and Syntax subscale scores, M = 10 (SD = 3; Bishop, 2006).×
Table 1. Reported autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, ethnic background, gender, age in years, number of gestures and utterances produced on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule–2 Cartoon Retell Task (combined Series A and B), gesture rate, and Children's Communication Checklist–2 General Communication Composite (CCC-2 GCC; Speech and Syntax scaled) scores for participants who produced at least one gesture occurrence (Gesture subgroup, n = 23).
Reported autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, ethnic background, gender, age in years, number of gestures and utterances produced on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule–2 Cartoon Retell Task (combined Series A and B), gesture rate, and Children's Communication Checklist–2 General Communication Composite (CCC-2 GCC; Speech and Syntax scaled) scores for participants who produced at least one gesture occurrence (Gesture subgroup, n = 23).×
Gesture subgroup participant Diagnosis Ethnic background Gender Age in years Number of gestures produced Number of utterances produced Gesture rate (gesture per utterance) CCC-2 GCC with (Speech scaled score, Syntax scaled scores)
1 Asperger's disorder White M 14 1 7 0.14 79 (12, 12)
2 Autistic disorder Hispanic M 14 17 16 1.06 68 (6, 8)
3 Asperger's disorder White M 16 4 10 0.40 70 (3, 5)
4 Asperger's disorder Native American M 15 2 37 0.05 82 (7, 9)
5 Asperger's disorder White M 14 9 14 0.64 69 (4, 5)
6 Asperger's disorder White M 13 1 8 0.13 71 (8, 8)
7 Asperger's disorder White F 13 6 11 0.55 79 (9, 8)
8 Autistic disorder African American M 14 4 13 0.31 77 (8, 7)
9 Asperger's disorder White F 15 12 14 0.86 64 (7, 8)
10 Autistic disorder White F 15 8 29 0.28 79 (9, 8)
11 Autistic disorder White F 13 3 15 0.20 80 (12, 9)
12 Autistic disorder White F 13 4 10 0.40 63 (4, 5)
13 Pervasive developmental disorder–not otherwise specified White M 13 3 21 0.14 47 (2, 2)
14 Asperger's disorder White M 13 2 17 0.12 77 (9, 9)
15 Asperger's disorder White M 15 18 18 1.00 73 (2, 4)
16 Asperger's disorder White M 12 16 15 1.07 58 (1, 4)
17 Autistic disorder African American M 13 16 18 0.89 63 (1, 8)
18 Asperger's disorder African American M 15 6 18 0.33 81 (7, 7)
19 Autistic disorder White M 11 1 16 0.06 74 (3, 10)
20 Asperger's disorder White M 12 1 12 0.08 80 (12, 9)
21 Asperger's disorder Native American M 14 5 13 0.38 59 (2, 7)
22 Autistic disorder White M 12 3 14 0.21 93 (9, 9)
23 Asperger's disorder White M 13 11 21 0.52 64 (12, 4)
61% Asperger's disorder 74% White 78% male M = 13.57 (SD = 1.24) M = 6.65 (SD = 5.65) M = 15.96 (SD = 6.62) M = 0.43 (SD = 0.34) GCC M = 71.74 (SD = 10.14)
Totals and Ms
Note. CCC-2 GCC score, M = 100 (SD = 15); Speech and Syntax subscale scores, M = 10 (SD = 3; Bishop, 2006).
Note. CCC-2 GCC score, M = 100 (SD = 15); Speech and Syntax subscale scores, M = 10 (SD = 3; Bishop, 2006).×
×