Peculiarities in the gestural repertoire: An early marker for Rett syndrome?

Peter B. Marschik, Jeff Sigafoos, Walter E. Kaufmann, Thomas Wolin, Victor B. Talisa, Katrin D. Bartl-Pokorny, Dejan B. Budimirovic, Ralf Vollmann, Christa Einspieler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We studied the gestures used by children with classic Rett syndrome (RTT) to provide evidence as to how this essential aspect of communicative functions develops. Seven participants with RTT were longitudinally observed between 9 and 18 months of life. The gestures used by these participants were transcribed and coded from a retrospective analysis of a video footage. Gestures were classified as deictic gestures, play schemes, and representational gestures. Results of the analysis showed that the majority of gestures observed were of deictic character. There were no gestures that could be classified as play schemes and only two (e.g., head nodding and waving bye bye) that were coded as representational or symbolic gestures. The overall repertoire of gestures, even though not necessarily delayed in it's onset, was characterized by little variability and a restricted pragmatic functionality. We conclude that the gestural abilities in girls with RTT appear to remain limited and do not constitute a compensatory mechanism for the verbal language modality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1715-1721
Number of pages7
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume33
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Gesture
  • Interaction
  • Language
  • Language impairment
  • Pointing
  • Rett
  • Speech
  • Video analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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