Maternal Responsiveness to Gestures in Children With Down Syndrome Purpose This study compared gesture use in young children with Down syndrome (DS) and typical development (TD) as well as how mothers respond to child gestures based on child age and diagnosis. Method Twenty-two mother–child dyads with DS and 22 mother–child dyads with TD participated. The child participants ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   July 03, 2018
Maternal Responsiveness to Gestures in Children With Down Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Emily Lorang
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Audra Sterling
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Bianca Schroeder
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • 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 Emily Lorang: emily.wagner@wisc.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Julie Barkmeier-Kraemer
    Editor-in-Chief: Julie Barkmeier-Kraemer×
  • Editor: Cynthia Cress
    Editor: Cynthia Cress×
Article Information
Development / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   July 03, 2018
Maternal Responsiveness to Gestures in Children With Down Syndrome
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0138
History: Received September 5, 2017 , Revised January 16, 2018 , Accepted March 19, 2018
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0138
History: Received September 5, 2017; Revised January 16, 2018; Accepted March 19, 2018

Purpose This study compared gesture use in young children with Down syndrome (DS) and typical development (TD) as well as how mothers respond to child gestures based on child age and diagnosis.

Method Twenty-two mother–child dyads with DS and 22 mother–child dyads with TD participated. The child participants were between 22 and 63 months and were matched on chronological age. We coded child gesture use and whether mothers recoded child gestures (i.e., provided a verbal translation) during naturalistic interactions.

Results The children with DS used more gestures than peers with TD. After controlling for expressive language ability, the two groups were not significantly different on child gesture use. Regardless of child diagnosis, mothers recoded approximately the same percentage of child gestures. There was a significant interaction between child diagnosis and child age when predicting the percentage of maternal gesture recodes; mothers of children with DS did not demonstrate differences in the percentage of maternal gesture recodes based on child age, but there was a negative relationship between the percentage of maternal gesture recodes and child age for the children with TD.

Conclusions Young children with DS gesture more than chronological age–matched children with TD, therefore providing numerous opportunities for caregivers to recode child gestures and support language development. Early intervention should focus on increasing parent responsiveness to child gestures earlier in life in order to provide additional word-learning opportunities for children with DS.

Acknowledgments
This study was supported by Grant P30 HD03352 (Messing) and Grant P30 HD002528 (Colombo), Training Grant T32 DC005359 (Ellis Weismer, principal investigator), a Vilas Life Cycle Award (Sterling), and start-up funds from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The authors would especially like to thank the families that participated in the study, the Research in Developmental Disabilities and Language Lab members, and Steven F. Warren for his input on the study.
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