Relationships between Early Gestures and Later Language in Children with Fragile X Syndrome – Child Development Example

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'Relationships between Early Gestures and Later Language in Children with Fragile X Syndrome' is an excellent example of a paper on child development. This study was conducted to find out whether or not there is a relationship between early age gestures and language development at a later age among children suffering from Fragile X Syndrome. Based on certain studies on other populations, Flenthrope & Brady (2010) hypothesized a positive relationship between the use of gestures in early age and language acquisition at later age among the children suffering from Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). Participants The total number of participants in this study was 25, out of which 21 were boys and 4 were girls.

All these participants were suffering from FXS and had limited lingual expression. The sample was drawn from the USA and the ages of children during the first phase of this longitudinal study ranged between 15 and 41 months whereas the ages of children in the second phase of study ranged between 47 and 69 months. 22 out of the total 25 participants were also undergoing speech/special intervention. All the selected participants had delayed cognitive-motor skills as per MSEL scores.

Though the chronological age of participants was not the same, the common feature while selecting was that all participants produced fewer than five spoken words in 25 minutes of videotaped interaction with their parents. As far as ethnicity is concerned, the sample was diverse, with 22 white children, 2 African Americans and 1 was Hispanic. The participants were grouped on the basis of CARS (A scale that measures autistic behaviors) scores. The high autism symptomatic group was constituted of 16 children (2 female, 14 males) who attained a score higher than 30 on the scale. Method The study is longitudinal was conducted in two phases.

During phase I, the children were approached, CARS and MSEL were administered, and their behavior while interacting with parents was videotaped for 25 minutes per child. This videotape was then coded using the Noldus observer software. Since the criterion for coding in this phase was based on usage of different gestures, which were considered to be crucial in language development, therefore this aspect of coding was achieved by the help of graduates, trained in observing these crucial gestures among FXS patients. In phase II, the same children were approached and videotaped again for behavior in a similar manner as in phase I.

This time the behavioral coding of the videotapes was done using different criteria that intended to focus on the extent of language attainment in the sample. Results Firstly, a significant correlation was found among the scores of participants on CARS and MSEL, which showed that participants showing greater autistic symptoms are delayed in motor cognitive responses and skills development. Secondly, while the group, on the whole, showed no significant correlations among gestures and language attainment, the group scoring high on CARS showed a significant negative correlation among the use of gestures and language attainment.

Thirdly, no relationship was found between the number of hours of speech therapy received and language development among the participants. Conclusion/Discussion The results were unexpected and the hypothesis was rejected. This can be attributed to a small sample size or other sampling issues pertaining to the study. However, the study revealed that even though children with FXS and autistic symptoms use gestures at an early stage do not have an optimum level of language development at a later age.

These findings are contrary to the existing body of research. There is a need for more research in this field.


Flenthrope, J.L & Brady, N. C. (2010). Relationships between early gestures and later language in children with FXS. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Vol:19 (2), p. 135-142.
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