Early Lateralization of Gestures in Autism: Right‑Handed Points Predict Expressive Language

Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) produce fewer deictic gestures, accompanied by delays/deviations in speech development, compared to typically-developing (TD) children. We ask whether children with ASD—like TD children—show right-hand preference in gesturing and whether right-handed gestures predict their vocabulary size in speech. Our analysis of handedness in gesturing in children with ASD (n = 23, Mage = 30-months) and with TD (n = 23, Mage = 18-months) during mother–child play showed a right-hand preference for TD children—but not for children with ASD. Nonetheless, right-handed deictic gestures predicted expressive vocabulary 1 year later in both children with ASD and with TD. Handedness for gesture, both hand preference and amount of right-handed pointing, may be an important indicator of language development in autism and typical development.

Mohr Christine
Özçalışkan Şeyda
Adamson Lauren B.
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Dimitrova, N., Mohr, C., Özçalışkan, Ş, & Adamson, L. B. (2019). Early Lateralization of Gestures in Autism: Right-Handed Points Predict Expressive Language. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-04347-9