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Signing With Babies And Children: Autism Awareness Month

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Autism Awareness Month

Paretns of Children with Special Needs ask often times: "Why should we use sign language if my child is not deaf?"

Children with Autism, or ony child that struggles with spoken language can benefit from using signs. Enhancing communication skills with sign language has a profound impact upon the quality of interactions between children with special needs, their peers, their families, and the professional who work with them. Sign language is now being used more and more outside the deaf community by children with and without disabilities, in order to communicate more effectively. In fact, signing is recommended for children with disabilities for several reasons (Sundberg and Partington, 1998):
  • Signing is completely portable and requires no special equipment.
  • Signing can be performed at a speed similar to talking.
  • Signing initiates motor movements, which may prompt talking.
  • Signing may reduce problem behavior more effectively because the response form is more efficient than when using picture selection or exchange.
  • Signing is easier and quicker to learn than picture selection or exchange by some children. Parents or teachers can help a child learn signs by helping mold the child’s hand into the correct sign for a given word.
  • Signing may enhance receptive language.
Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner


marab said...

Thanks for shedding light on the benefits of signing with children who have Autism. It really is an asset for families with Autistic members to be signing together; communication is enhanced.
It will benefit each and every person's mental development. Remember that signing increases the brain functioning because it involves 2-sided brain activity!
It's wonderful that you mentioned that signing is "completely portable". Very true! It doesn't matter where you are, there is always the opportunity to connect with children (and adults) with Autism.

Bobby said...

Being able to communicate and understand your baby/child through sign language and hand gestures is priceless. So many parents have no clue what their baby/child wants or needs or what they are feeling and would do anything to just be able to understand their baby/child. All it takes is a little one-on-one time with your baby/child and imagine the possibilities and the connections parents could build with their baby/child.

SignShine said...

Signing with children with special needs has its amazing power. I watched many children, through my work at SignShine, finding their words and their connection to the outside world --- give them a hand today!

etel leit

HannahM said...

Using sign language with children who have autism or other special needs is an amazing idea. It opens up new avenues for them and allows for enhanced communication and for expressing needs. It would be interesting to learn more about the social implications that sign language has.