Atypicalities of Gesture Form and Function in Autistic Adults.

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TitleAtypicalities of Gesture Form and Function in Autistic Adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
Authorsde Marchena, A, Kim, ES, Bagdasarov, A, Parish-Morris, J, Maddox, BB, Brodkin, ES, Schultz, RT
JournalJ Autism Dev Disord
Date Published2019 Apr
KeywordsAdult, Autistic Disorder, Female, Gestures, Humans, Male, Motor Skills, Semantics, Speech

While well-represented on clinical measures, co-speech gesture production has never been formally studied in autistic adults. Twenty-one verbally fluent autistic adults and 21 typically developing controls engaged in a controlled conversational task. Group differences were observed in both semantic/pragmatic and motoric features of spontaneously produced co-speech gestures. Autistic adults prioritized different functions of co-speech gesture. Specifically, they used gesture more than controls to facilitate conversational turn-taking, demonstrating a novel nonverbal strategy for regulating conversational dynamics. Autistic adults were more likely to gesture unilaterally than bilaterally, a motoric feature of gesture that was individually associated with autism symptoms. Co-speech gestures may provide a link between nonverbal communication symptoms and known differences in motor performance in autism.

Alternate JournalJ Autism Dev Disord
PubMed ID30523479
PubMed Central IDPMC6451661
Grant ListT32NS007413 / / National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke /
U54 HD86984 / / National Institute of Child Health and Human Development /
T32 NS007413 / NS / NINDS NIH HHS / United States
R34MH104407 / / National Institute of Mental Health /
R34 MH104407 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
U54 HD086984 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States