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Title: Investigating gesture in children with autism : development, input and interaction
Author: Sowden, Hannah
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2009
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Early typical gesture development is characterised by deictic gestures, which gradually integrate with speech. Relatively little, however, is known about gesture development in atypical populations. This study traces in detail the pattern of gesture development in children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) prior to the two word stage of language acquisition with a specific focus on development, professional and parental input, and adult-child interaction. It extends previous research by combining linguistic and psychological methodologies to provide an in-depth, detailed, longitudinal profile from different perspectives. Eight participants with ASD were recruited, aged between 2;0 and 3;6 years and were followed for up to eight months during their attendance on a first intervention programme designed to facilitate social and communication skills. The participants' vocabulary and gestural repertoire were assessed on commencement and completion of the project using the Gesture Checklist created for this study using normative data collected from fifty four typically developing children aged 6 to 24 months. During attendance on the programme the participants were recorded weekly alternating between nursery and home. The video data was analysed using micro-genetic and qualitative methods. The study found that a) development: compared to typically developing children the participants were found to be delayed in both vocabulary and gesture, corresponding to the varying impact of their respective impairments, b) input: the adults adapted their gestures to the participants, but gesture was not sensitive to the participant's developmental level, c) interaction: the adults used several different communication strategies to support the child's interaction, the -professionals showing a greater range than the parents. The study provides a more detailed and in-depth account of gesture development in children with ASD than earlier work, and extends our knowledge of gestural input and gesture in interaction, thus contributing to our wider understanding of both gesture development and its role in communication.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available