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Research Article  |   January 1980
Representational and Nonrepresentational Gestures in Boys with Learning Disabilities
Author Affiliations
  • Sharon A. Cermak, M.S., OTR, is an Assistant Professor in Occupational Therapy at Sargent College, Boston University, and a doctoral candidate in Special Education at Boston University
  • Wendy Coster, M.S.O.T., OTR, works with emotionally disturbed children with sensory-integrative dysfunction at The Norfolk Clinical Children’s Center and in private practice
  • Charles Drake, Ed.D., is founder and headmaster of Landmark School for Children with Learning Disabilities. He is also an Associate Professor at Sargent College
Article Information
Learning Disabilities / Features
Research Article   |   January 1980
Representational and Nonrepresentational Gestures in Boys with Learning Disabilities
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 1980, Vol. 34, 19-26. doi:10.5014/ajot.34.1.19
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 1980, Vol. 34, 19-26. doi:10.5014/ajot.34.1.19
Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the gestural abilities of boys with learning disabilities. Eighteen boys with learning disabilities (who had a low verbal-high performance WISC profile) and 24 normal boys between the ages of 9 and 13 were given a gestural test that consisted of two sets of tasks, one requiring the symbolic representation of implement usage–on command and on imitation (representational items) and the other requiring the imitation of hand positions (nonrepresentational items). The items were classified according to place of action as either on-self or away-from-self. The results indicated that the learning-disabled subjects performed at a significantly lower level than the normal control group on the gestural representation tasks. There was a significant difference between instruction (command vs. imitation) and between place of action (self vs. away). Further, the learning-disabled subjects made significantly more spatial errors than the control subjects on imitation of gestural representation and nonrepresentation tasks. Results are discussed in terms of the need to investigate the various parameters of praxis.