Maternal Gesture Use in Toddlers with Language Delay: Relationship to Language Development and Autism Spectrum Disorder Risk

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Education
Department Educational Psychology
Author Stevens, Ashley Lynn
Title Maternal Gesture Use in Toddlers with Language Delay: Relationship to Language Development and Autism Spectrum Disorder Risk
Date 2017
Description Prior to the onset of spoken words, infants acquire gestures through early social interactions with their parents. Research on typically developing children has demonstrated an important relationship between maternal gesture use and child gesture and language development. Specifically, the variety and frequency of maternal gesture use has been shown to function as a scaffold for the development of language and an infant's own gesture development. This study examined gesture use in mothers of toddlers with expressive and receptive language delay during a naturalistic interaction with their young children. Maternal gestures were coded using a detailed coding scheme, according to category, specific type, and the presence or absence of co-occurring speech. The relationship between maternal gesture, child language, child gesture, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) risk status was also examined. Participants included 54 parents of toddlers enrolled in a longitudinal study of language delay as a risk factor for ASD (language delay (LD) = 27, typically developing (TD) = 27). Results suggested similar gesture profiles across groups of mothers. Mothers of toddlers in the LD and TD groups were found to use gestures at the same frequency and convey a similar number of meanings though gesture (Wilks' Λ = 0.99, F (2, 51) = 0.273, p = 0.76, partial η2 = 0.01). Mothers in both groups used more deictic gestures than other gesture types F (1.39, 72.23) = 88.63, p < 0.01, partial η2 = 0.63. Across all groups, mothers were observed to combine a greater percentage of gestures with speech ( > 70%) and the gestures tended to emphasize the message conveyed in speech. Results for mothers in the language delay group revealed a significant negative relationship between maternal gesture and concurrent child receptive language ( p = 0.04) as well as a significant negative relationship to a change in expressive language over time ( p = 0.02). Maternal gesture in the TD group was positively related to concurrent child gesture ( p = 0.04). This research demonstrated that mothers of toddlers with severe language delays are similar in their gestural communication to mothers of typically developing infants.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Communication; Developmental psychology
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Ashley Lynn Stevens
Format Medium application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s6k693xm
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2019-08-20
Date Modified 2019-11-13
ID 1440997
Reference URL
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