What is it about?

Gestures have been argued to be a compensatory strategy used by people with aphasia to get their message across. But is it really the case that gestures can step in as an independent representational system when language is impaired? In this study, we showed that the answer is no. In aphasia, gestures were largely coproduced with fluent rather than dysfluent speech and tended to be aligned with the content conveyed in speech. Gestures did not help to facilitate lexical retrieval problems. Overall, gestures are unlikely to have a role in compensating for linguistic deficits and to serve as a representational system conveying thought content independent of language. Aphasia is a model of how gesture and language are inherently integrated and aligned: Even when language is impaired, it remains the essential provider of content.

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Why is it important?

In terms of therapy, Clinicians should still put emphasis on the language capacity of patients rather than training them to use gestures as an alternative way of communication.

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This page is a summary of: Temporal Overlap Between Gestures and Speech in Poststroke Aphasia: Is There a Compensatory Effect?, Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, December 2022, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),
DOI: 10.1044/2022_jslhr-22-00130.
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