Advertisement

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 221–231 | Cite as

Parents’ Translations of Child Gesture Facilitate Word Learning in Children with Autism, Down Syndrome and Typical Development

  • Nevena Dimitrova
  • Şeyda Özçalışkan
  • Lauren B. Adamson
Original Paper

Abstract

Typically-developing (TD) children frequently refer to objects uniquely in gesture. Parents translate these gestures into words, facilitating children’s acquisition of these words (Goldin-Meadow et al. in Dev Sci 10(6):778–785, 2007). We ask whether this pattern holds for children with autism (AU) and with Down syndrome (DS) who show delayed vocabulary development. We observed 23 children with AU, 23 with DS, and 23 TD children with their parents over a year. Children used gestures to indicate objects before labeling them and parents translated their gestures into words. Importantly, children benefited from this input, acquiring more words for the translated gestures than the not translated ones. Results highlight the role contingent parental input to child gesture plays in language development of children with developmental disorders.

Keywords

Parental responsiveness Child gesture Parental verbal input Autism Down syndrome Language development 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by grants by Swiss National Science Foundation (PBLAP1_142782, PI: Dimitrova), National Science Foundation (BCS 1251337, PI: Özçalışkan), and National Institutes of Health (R01 HD035612, PI: Adamson). We thank the participating families for their dedication to our research efforts. We also thank Lauren Schmuck and Jhonelle Bailey for their help in coding the data, along with the Action Editor and the reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.

Author Contributions

All authors participated in the conception and design of the study, in the interpretation of the findings, and in the drafting of the manuscript. In addition, ND compiled the data and performed the statistical analysis, SO supervised the coding of child gestures, and LBA supervised the use of the archive of video records and verbal transcripts. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This study was approved by an ethics committee and has therefore been performed in accordance with the ethical standards specified in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. All parents provided informed consent for their and their child’s participation prior to their inclusion in the study.

References

  1. Adamson, L. B., & Bakeman, R. (2006). The development of displaced speech in early mother-child conversations. Child Development, 77, 186–200.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Adamson, L. B., Bakeman, R., & Deckner, D. F. (2004). The development of symbol-infused joint engagement. Child Development, 75, 1171–1187.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Adamson, L. B., Bakeman, R., Deckner, D. F., & Nelson, P. B. (2012). Rating parent–child interactions: Joint engagement, communication dynamics, and shared topics in autism, Down syndrome, and typical development. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 2622–2635.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Adamson, L. B., Bakeman, R., Deckner, D. F., & Romski, M. A. (2009). Joint engagement and the emergence of language in children with autism and Down syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39, 84–96.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Aldred, C., Green, J., & Adams, C. (2004). A new social communication intervention for children with autism: Pilot randomized controlled treatment study suggesting effectiveness. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 1420–1430.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edition (text revision). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  7. Beeghly, M., & Cicchetti, D. (1987). An organizational approach to symbolic development in children with Down syndrome. In D. Cicchetti & M. Beeghly (Eds.), Atypical Symbolic Development (pp. 5–30). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  8. Camaioni, L., Perucchini, P., Muratori, F., Parrini, B., & Cesari, A. (2003). The communicative use of pointing in autism: Developmental profile and factors related to change. European Psychiatry, 18, 6–12.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Capps, L., Kehres, J., & Sigman, M. (1998). Conversational abilities among children with autism and children with developmental delays. Autism, 2(4), 325–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Caselli, M. C., Vicari, S., Longobardi, E., Lami, L., Pizzoli, C., & Stella, G. (1998). Gestures and words in early development of children with Down syndrome. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 41, 1125–1135.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapman, R. S. (1995). Language development in children and adolescents with Down syndrome. In P. Fletcher & B. MacWhinney (Eds.), Handbook of child language (pp. 641–663). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  12. Colgan, S., Lanter, E., McComish, C., Watson, L., Crais, E., & Baranek, G. (2006). Analysis of social interaction gestures in infants with autism. Child Neuropsychology, 12, 307–319.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. de Marchena, A., & Eigsti, I. M. (2010). Conversational gestures in autism spectrum disorders: Asynchrony but not decreased frequency. Autism Research, 3, 311–322.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Fenson, L., Dale, P., Reznick, J. S., Thal, D., Bates, E., Hartung, J. P., et al. (1993). The MacArthur communicative development inventories: Users’ guide and technical manual. San Diego: Singular Press.Google Scholar
  15. Franco, F., & Wishart, J. (1995). Use of pointing and other gestures by young children with Down syndrome. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 100, 160–182.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Goldin-Meadow, S. (2011). Learning through gesture. WIREs (Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews). Cognitive Science, 2(6), 595–607.Google Scholar
  17. Goldin-Meadow, S. (2014). Widening the lens: What the manual modality reveals about language, learning, and cognition. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B, 369(1651), 20130295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Goldin-Meadow, S., Goodrich, W., Sauer, E., & Iverson, J. (2007). Young children use their hands to tell their mothers what to say. Developmental Science, 10(6), 778–785.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Golinkoff, R. M. (1986). “I beg your pardon?” The preverbal negotiation of failed messages. Journal of Child Language, 13, 455–476.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Green, J., Charman, T., McConachie, H., Aldred, C., Slonims, V., Howlin, P., et al. (2010). Parent-mediated communication-focused treatment in children with autism (PACT): A randomized controlled trial. Lancet, 375(9732), 2152–2160.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  21. Gulsrud, A. C., Hellemann, G. S., Freeman, S. F. N., & Kasari, C. (2014). Two to ten years: Developmental trajectories of joint attention in children with ASD who received targeted social communication interventions. Autism Research, 7, 207–2015.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Haebig, E., McDuffie, A., & Weismer, S. E. (2013). Brief report: Parent verbal responsiveness and language development in toddlers on the autism spectrum. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43(9), 2218–2227.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. Iverson, J. M., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2005). Gesture paves the way for language development. Psychological Science, 16(5), 367–371.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Iverson, J. M., Longobardi, E., & Caselli, M. C. (2003). Relationship between gestures and words in children with Down’s syndrome and typically developing children in the early stages of communicative development. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 38, 179–197.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Leezenbaum, N. B., Campbell, C. B., Butler, D., & Iverson, J. M. (2014). Maternal verbal responses to communication of infants at low and heightened risk of autism. Autism, 18(6), 694–703.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Lord, C., Rutter, M., & Le Couteur, A. (1994). Autism diagnostic interview-revised: A revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24, 659–685.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Luyster, R. J., Kadlec, M. B., Carter, A., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2008). Language assessment and development in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38, 1426–1438.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Marcos, H. (1991). How adults contribute to the development of early referential communication? European Journal of Psychology of Education, 6(3), 271–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Masur, E. (1982). Mothers’ responses to infants’ object-related gestures: Influences on lexical development. Merill-Palmer Quarterly, 8, 23–30.Google Scholar
  30. McDuffie, A., & Yoder, P. (2010). Types of parent verbal responsiveness that predict language in young children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53, 1026–1039.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. Miller, J. F. (1999). Profiles of language development in children with Down syndrome. In J. Miller, M. Leddy, & L. Leavitt (Eds.), Improving the communication of people with Down syndrome (pp. 11–40). Baltimore: Brookes.Google Scholar
  32. Mitchell, S., Brian, J., Zwaigenbaum, L., Roberts, W., Szatmari, P., Smith, I., et al. (2006). Early language and communication development of infants later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, 27, S69–S78.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Mundy, P., Kasari, C., Sigman, M., & Ruskin, E. (1995). Nonverbal communication and early language acquisition in children with Down syndrome and in normally developing children. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 38, 157–167.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Mundy, P., Sigman, M., & Kasari, C. (1990). A longitudinal study of joint attention and language development in autistic children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 22, 115–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mundy, P., Sigman, M. D., Ungerer, J., & Sherman, T. (1986). Defining the social deficits of autism: The contribution of non-verbal communication measures. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 27, 657–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Olson, J., & Masur, E. F. (2011). Infants’ gestures influence mothers’ provision of object, action and internal state labels. Journal of Child Language, 38, 1028–1054.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Özçalışkan, Ş., Adamson, L. B., & Dimitrova, N. (in press). Early deictic but not other gestures predict later vocabulary in both typical development and autism. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice.Google Scholar
  38. Özçalışkan, Ş., Adamson, L. B., Dimitrova, N., Bailey, J., & Schmuck, L. (2015). Baby sign but not spontaneous gesture predicts later vocabulary in children with Down Syndrome. Journal of Child Language. doi: 10.1017/S030500091500029X.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Özçalıskan, Ş., & Dimitrova, N. (2013). How gesture input provides a helping hand to language development. Seminars in Speech and Language, 34(4), 155–164.Google Scholar
  40. Özçalışkan, Ş., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2005a). Do parents lead their children by the hand? Journal of Child Language, 32(3), 481–505.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Özçalışkan, Ş., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2005b). Gesture is at the cutting edge of early language development. Cognition, 96(3), B101–B113.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Özçalışkan, Ş., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2006). Role of gesture in children’s early constructions. In E. Clark & B. Kelly (Eds.), Constructions in acquisition (pp. 31–58). Stanford: CSLI Publications.Google Scholar
  43. Özçalışkan, Ş., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2011). Is there an iconic gesture spurt at 26 months? In G. Stam & M. Ishino (Eds.), Integrating gestures: The interdisciplinary nature of gesture (pp. 163–174). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rowe, M. L., Özçalışkan, Ş., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2008). Learning words by hand: Gesture’s role in predicting vocabulary development. First Language, 28(2), 182–199.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  45. Sameroff, A. J., & Fiese, B. H. (2000). Transactional regulation: The developmental ecology of early intervention. In J. P. Shonkoff & S. J. Meisels (Eds.), Handbook of early childhood intervention (2nd ed., pp. 135–159). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Siller, M., Hutman, T., & Sigman, M. (2013). A parent-mediated intervention to increase responsive parental behaviors and child communication in children with ASD: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 540–555.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  47. Siller, M., & Sigman, M. (2002). The behaviors of parents of children with autism predict the subsequent development of their children’s communication. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 32, 77–89.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Siller, M., & Sigman, M. (2008). Modeling longitudinal change in the language abilities of children with autism: Parent behaviors and child characteristics as predictors of change. Developmental Psychology, 44, 1691–1704.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Singer Harris, N., Bellugi, U., Bates, E., Jones, W., & Rossen, M. (1997). Contrasting profiles of language development in children with Williams and Down Syndromes. Developmental Neuropsychology, 13, 345–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Smith, V., Mirenda, P., & Zaidman-Zait, A. (2007). Predictors of expressive vocabulary growth in children with autism. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 50, 149–160.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Stefanini, S., Caselli, M. C., & Volterra, V. (2007). Spoken and gestural production in a naming task by young children with Down syndrome. Brain and Language, 101(3), 208–221.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Stone, W. L., Ousley, O. Y., Yoder, P. J., Hogan, K. L., & Hepburn, S. L. (1997). Nonverbal communication in 2- and 3-year old children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 27, 677–696.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Venker, C., McDuffie, A., Weismer, S., & Abbeduto, L. (2011). Increasing verbal responsiveness in parents of children with autism: A pilot study. Autism, 16(6), 568–585.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  54. Wetherby, A., & Prizant, B. (2000). Autism spectrum disorders: A transactional developmental perspective. Baltimore: Paul Brookes.Google Scholar
  55. Wetherby, A., Prizant, B., & Hutchinson, T. (1998). Communicative, social-affective, and symbolic profiles of young children with autism and pervasive developmental disorder. Americal Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 7, 79–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wilcox, M. J. (1992). Enhancing initial communication skills in young children with developmental disabilities through partner programming. Seminars in Speech and Hearing, 13, 194–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Wilcox, M. J., Shannon, M. S., & Bacon, C. K. (1992). Longer term outcomes of prelinguistic intervention. Paper presented at the Division for Early Childhood Meeting, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  58. Yoder, P., Watson, L. R., & Lambert, W. (2015). Value-added predictors of expressive and receptive language growth in initially nonverbal preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(5), 1254–1270.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  59. Zampini, L. (2008). Produzione gestuale e pre-verbale a 24 mesi in bambini con sindrome di Down e bambini parlatori tardivi [Gestural and pre-verbal communication in 24-month-old children with Down syndrome and late-talking children]. Psicologia clinica dello sviluppo, 3, 511–527.Google Scholar
  60. Zampini, L., & D’Odorico, L. (2011). Gesture production and language development. A longitudinal study of children with Down syndrome. Gesture, 11(2), 174–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Zimmerman, I. L., Steiner, V. G., & Pond, R. E. (2002). Preschool language scale (4th ed.). San Antonio: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nevena Dimitrova
    • 1
  • Şeyda Özçalışkan
    • 1
  • Lauren B. Adamson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations