Thursday, March 25, 2010

In brain-injured children, early gesturing predicts language delays

In brain-injured children, early gesturing predicts language delays |

Researchers found that gesturing at 18 months (but not early speech) predicted which children with lesions had vocabulary delays a year later. The results suggest that gesture may be a tool for diagnosing persistent language delay in children with brain lesions.

These findings have both diagnostic and therapeutic implications, according to the authors of the study, Susan C. Levine, Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology, and Susan Goldin-Meadow, Beardsley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor, both in the Department of Psychology, Comparative Human Development, and the Committee on Education at the University of Chicago.

Notes Levine: "Gesture may be a promising diagnostic tool for identifying those children with pre- or perinatal brain lesions whose language delays are likely to persist at a time when they are saying very little. Early identification may be useful because intervention early in development may be critical to successful remediation of language delay."

Adds Goldin-Meadow: "The fact that gesture predicts later language delay raises the possibility that gesture itself may be an effective intervention??encouraging children with lesions to gesture in the first 18 months of life may improve their spoken vocabulary years later."

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