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“Look at the bird!”: Declarative gestures and early vocabulary

Parents’ use of declarative gestures predicted vocabulary at 3 years old.

July 11, 2021

During EI parent coaching, how often do you focus on teaching parents to use gestures with their children? If you’re like me, sometimes this gets placed on the back burner. However, a new study found that it may be beneficial for us to prioritize teaching parents to use gestures with their young children. Choi et al. found that parents’ use of declarative gestures (the gestures used to gain joint attention) with their 12-month olds can predict vocabulary skills at 36 months old. This study is different from previous ones because of the focus on parents’ use of gestures, rather than the child’s.


To try to determine what type of gestures were associated with later vocabulary skills, the researchers compared two different types…

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