City Research Online

The City Gesture Checklist: The development of a novel gesture assessment

Caute, A., Dipper, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-5918-3898 & Roper, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-6950-6294 (2020). The City Gesture Checklist: The development of a novel gesture assessment. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12579


People with aphasia rely on gesture more than healthy controls to get their message across, but use a limited range of gesture types. Gesture therapy is thus a potential avenue of intervention for people with aphasia. However, currently no gesture assessment evaluates how they use gesture. Such a tool could inform therapy targets and measure outcomes. In gesture research, many different coding categories are used to describe gesture forms and functions. These coding methods are prohibitively time‐consuming to use in clinical practice. There is therefore a need for a ‘quick and dirty’ method of assessing gesture use.

To investigate current practice among UK‐based clinicians (speech and language therapists) in relation to gesture assessment and therapy, to synthesize gesture‐coding frameworks used in aphasia research, to develop a gesture checklist based on the synthesized coding frameworks suitable for use in clinical practice, and to investigate the interrater reliability (IRR) of the checklist among experienced and unfamiliar users.

Methods & Procedures
The research team synthesized seven gesture‐coding frameworks and trialled three resulting prototype checklists at a co‐design workshop with 20 clinicians. Attending clinicians were also consulted about their current clinical gesture practice using a questionnaire. A final City Gesture Checklist (CGC) was developed based upon outcomes and feedback from the workshop. The IRR of the CGC was evaluated between the research team and 11 further clinicians within a second workshop. Both groups used the CGC to count gestures in video clips of people with aphasia talking to a conversation partner.

Main Contribution
A total of 18 workshop attendees completed the current practice questionnaire. Of these, 10 reported assessing gesture informally and five also used formal assessment. Gesture‐coding synthesis highlighted six main categories of gesture form. Clinicians at the co‐design workshop provided feedback on prototype checklists regarding the relevance and usability of the gesture categories, layout, use of images and instructions. A final version of the CGC was created incorporating their recommendations. The IRR for the CGC was moderate between both the researchers and clinicians.

Conclusions & Implications
The CGC can be used to assess the types of gesture that people with aphasia produce. The IRR was moderate amongst both experienced users and new users who had received no training. Future research directions include investigating how to improve IRR, evaluating intra‐rater reliability and sensitivity to change, and exploring use of the CGC in clinical practice.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: gesture, aphasia, assessment, checklist, co‐design, interrater reliability
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
R Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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