Gesture Development: A Review for Clinical and Research Practices

Nina C. Capone, Karla K. McGregor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


The aim of this article is to provide clinicians and researchers a comprehensive overview of the development and functions of gesture in childhood and in select populations with developmental language impairments. Of significance is the growing body of evidence that gesture enhances, not hinders, language development. In both normal and impaired populations, gesture and language development parallel each other and share underlying symbolic abilities. Gesture serves several functions, including those of communication, compensation, and transition to spoken language. In clinical practice, gesture may play a valuable role in diagnosis, prognosis, goal selection, and intervention for children with language impairments. Where available, supporting evidence is presented. Needs for additional research on gesture are also highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-186
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Development
  • Disorder/delay
  • Gesture
  • Language
  • Language impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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