Health Discoveries in Brain Injury

Brain-injured children may show link between gesturing and language skills

May 19, 2010
Early gesturing by children born with brain injuries may be linked to their ability to develop language skills, a University of Chicago study shows.

The research team studied 11 children with brain lesions, or areas of damaged tissue, and compared them with healthy children to determine the connection between gestures and language. Five of the children had delayed language skills at age 22 months.

"The striking result of our study is that these five children with language delays were the same five who were low gesture producers at 18 months," said Susan Goldin-Meadow, a psychology professor at the university. "Thus early gesture may provide clinicians with a way to identify children who may end up having persistent language difficulties, even before those difficulties appear in the children’s speech."

Goldin-Meadow, an expert in gestures, said encouraging children with brain lesions to gesture may prevent language delay. The findings of the study were published recently in an issue of Child Development.
Several developmental clinical trials related to children's health are ongoing through the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the research facility of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.ADNFCR-2730-ID-19785587-ADNFCR
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