PurposeThis study reviewed the literature examining type and frequency of gesture use in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in comparison to other populations. The findings can inform future studies and programs targeting the use of gestures as an early indicator of ASD.
MethodsA six step search procedure was utilized to identify all articles exploring gesture use in children with ASD in comparison to other populations. Articles meeting inclusion criteria were double coded by the investigators with 97% agreement. Results examining type and frequency of gesture were synthesized and three common themes were identified: comparison group(s), age of participants with ASD, and gesture terminology.
ResultsA total of 32 studies met inclusion criteria for this study. Of these studies, nine exclusively measured type of gesture, 17 exclusively measured frequency, and 6 measured both type and frequency. Results indicate that children with ASD used different types and frequency of gesture in comparison to other populations. The most studied age range was 4–5 years and most studies used typically developing children as the comparison group. Gesture terminology and definition were extremely variable.
ConclusionsChildren with ASD are using different types and frequencies of gesture when compared to other populations. More research including younger and more diverse populations is needed to translate these findings into clinical practice. Additionally, there is a need for more consistent use of gesture terminology and definition.
Stewart, J. R., Vigil, D. C., Olszewski, A., Thornock, C., Stewart, J. R., Vigil, D. C., Olszewski, A., & Thornock, C. (2022). Gesture use in children with autism spectrum disorder: A scoping review. Clinical Archives of Communication Disorders, 7(3), 94–104. https://doi.org/10.21849/cacd.2022.00675
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