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Browsing by Subject "M3L"

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  • Kallionpää, Anne (2022)
    Gesture use plays an important role in children's early communication, because it provides children with a way of expressing themselves already before they are able to speak. Earlier studies have shown that gestures and gesture-word combinations may also play a role in predicting later language development. However, there is not much research evidence concerning the gesture use of very-low-birth-weight (VLBW) children yet. At the same time, many studies have shown that VLBW children face an increased risk of later difficulties in language development. Since gestures might provide insight into child's later language development already before the child is able to speak, gestures could make it possible to detect potential language difficulties early on. Therefore, it would be important to gain more information about the gesture development of VLBW children also. In this master's thesis, I aim to study the gesture use of VLBW children by comparing the gestures and gesture-word combinations of 18-month-old VLBW children to those of 18-month-old full term (FT) children. Another aim is to compare the gestures and gesture-word combinations of 18-month-old children to their expressive vocabularies and early grammatical skills at two years of age. The data of this thesis has been collected as part of a bigger study, The language development of very-low-birth-weight children, which is a sub study of the PIPARI study (Development and functioning of very-low-birth-weight infants from infancy to school age). The participants of this master's thesis study were 10 VLBW and 10 FT children. The participants' gestures were analysed from 10-minutes-long videotaped sessions by categorizing gestures into ritualized requests, deictic, iconic and conventional gestures as well as play schemes. In addition, gesture-word combinations were counted from the videotapes. Children's language skills at two years of age (the size of expressive vocabulary and the mean length of the three longest utterances, M3L value) were measured with the help of the Finnish version of the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories. Mann-Whitney U-test and Spearman's correlation coefficient were used in the statistical analysis. There were no statistically significant differences in the gesture use or the amount of gesture-word combinations between 18-month-old VLBW and FT children. Neither VLBW nor FT children had statistically significant correlations between 18-month-old gestures and 2-year-old language skills. Instead, the gesture-word combinations of 18-month-old VLBW children did correlate statistically significantly and quite strongly with 2-year-old VLBW children's expressive vocabularies and M3L values. For FT children the correlation between gesture-word combinations and expressive vocabulary did not reach statistical significance, while the correlation between gesture-word combinations and M3L values was almost statistically significant considering the significance level of 5 %. That is to say, based on this study, it seems that for VLBW children especially gesture-word combinations may have an important role in providing information of later language skills.