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The Development of Speech-related Hand Movements in Children

Domenii publicaţii > Ştiinţe medicale + Tipuri publicaţii > Carte

Autori: Christina Daniela Droll

Editorial: Hartung-Gorre Verlag Konstanz, Doctoral Dissertation, 2000.


The present study was designed to explore the development of speech-related hand movements in children and to examine the age and sex distribution of differences in performance (praxic abilities) between the two hands of the child.
One-hundred-thirty-one normal Romanian children, divided into three age groups (4-, 6-, and 8-year-olds) and two testing periods, were individually tested. The children were videotaped while engaged in conversation with the examiner as well as while performing a series of handedness and praxia tasks. The number of speech-related unilateral left and right as well as bilateral hand movements during conversation were recorded (using a specially written PC-program) and then analysed separately.
Some studies of adult populations have supported the view that there is a common cerebral system that governs speech and gesture (Kimura, 1973); others, after observations in aphasic patients, have suggested that there are two different systems (Feyereisen, 1982). Goal of the study was to determine which of these two assumptions is valid in children.
In 4-, 6- and 8-year-old subjects, relatively more speech-related hand movements (both free and self-touching) occurred during speech than during intervals of silence, providing additional support for the view that speech and gesticulation accompaning speech are under the control of the same cerebral mechanism. Self-touching movements were relatively more frequent than free hand movements corroborating the child’s necessity to compensate his/ her emotions during conversation with movements of relaxation. All three age groups of children made far more bilateral hand movements than unilateral left or right hand movements. However, bilateral self-touching movements were more frequent than bilateral free hand movements. Few significant sex differences were found; manual activity during speech in children aged from 4 to 8 years seemed to fulfill generally the same role in both boys and girls. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that at younger ages the variation of handedness is not necessarily associated with the variation of the laterality for praxic abilities.

Cuvinte cheie: gesture, human development