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Signing With Babies And Children: a routine...

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

a routine...

signing has been invaluable in my family.  my little boy has learned many signs, and at 21 months, continues to use them daily.

as a teacher of sign language for babies, i know how wonderful it is when you see your baby sign for the first time...and how helpful a tool signing is to have for all involved.

that said, as a special education teacher, there is really a place in my heart for teaching children with special needs.  academics, social skills...and now, sign language.  when signing is used as a tool for language that otherwise may not yet be possible, the importance of it, and value of it...skyrockets.

for my next few posts, i've decided to give some tips on teaching signing to children with special needs.  now, granted, many of these strategies can be helpful for any child, so feel free to follow along!

for my first topic, i'd like to touch on the importance of routine...

many children benefit from some type of routine.  we all do...even if it's simply the general routine of having three meals a day, and going to bed at night.  so, when teaching signing to children with special needs, i often use a schedule of some sort.  i have pictures of each activity we're going to do, and as each one finishes, we take it down, and place it in a "finished" envelope.  the child can see from the pictures what is happening next, and even what is expected from him or her throughout the session. by having this simple tool, it not only puts the child at ease, but it also allows both the parent and me to know what we'll be doing for the length of the session.

in addition to this tool, i try to keep some of the session similar each time.  we might start and end with the same activity each time...a song, bubbles...things like that.  this gives the child several types of indications (visual, aural, tactile) that our session is starting or coming to an end.

each child may not need the same amount of consistency...and that's where individualization is important!  each child has his or her own unique needs and preferences...just like each of us :)

1 comment:

My Baby Details said...

Please continue to share! My girl friend's son has special needs, and she expressed that upon starting to use American Sign Language with him, people did not understand the benefits.

The point being... she did it any way despite what people thought. I hope that sign language continues to reach all different types of learning circumstances (from bridging the gap between two spoken languages to, as you put it, being a tool for a language that otherwise may not had been possible).