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Signing With Babies And Children: Sign Language Aids in the Development of Emotional Intelligence

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sign Language Aids in the Development of Emotional Intelligence

A mom shared with me the story of being at a restaurant with her six-year old child who has cerebral palsy. A nice woman came over to their table and give her child a balloon. With a huge smile and perfect eye contact, the child signed, 'Thank you'!

Not only is 'thank you' a word that does not represent a concrete object and requires that the child understand the situation and think abstractly; it also is a word that requires the child to think beyond the world of 'self' and to demonstrate feelings toward another person. Sign language allows a young child to develop and better understand the impact he has on others. When you teach a young child manners using ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry, he can begin to see the positive impact he has on others and begin to develop his emotional intelligence. When he hurts others, he realizes that it doesn't feel good, and he says he's 'sorry'; when he gives others a hug, or a ‘thank you’, he knows it makes them feel good and happy. These acts of personal engagement are important aspects of emotional intelligence. People with high emotional intelligence will find themselves at a great advantage in life.


etel leit said...

What a beautiful HEART CENTERED story! Not only that the child signed THANK YOU, he created a eye contact and acknowledged someone who he doesn't know. The Child made the effort to make a 'conversation' in his own ability.

Let the Sign Shine,

Etel Leit, M.S.

marab said...

Acts of kindness create such a great exchange of energy! As you mentioned, a child is aware of certain actions, "he knows it makes them feel good and happy." An interesting correlation to that are the signs for GOOD and THANK-YOU; they are so similar that in everyday conversational signing, they look the same. I tell my class, either way whether someone is signing GOOD or THANK-YOU, it is received as a positive message, and acknowledgement. Regardless if it's eye contact, sign language, or speaking, these positive acts of personal engagement are what keeps this world connected.

Smilealvina said...

Your story is encouraging and touching to me. Sign language is like a magic, it can easily unravel the wall between human beings, regardless of age and race.

Yael K said...

This post put the biggest smile on my face. Sometimes it takes a personal story to make one really realize how a concept like SIGNING, which is foreign to many of us who do not require sign language to communicate in our everyday lives, can have such an immense impact on a person's life. How inspiring it is to see this boy utilize his new tools to really express how he was feeling. It makes you many other people and children, burdened by some sort of disability which prevents clear expression of such feelings, go unheard and misunderstood? This is a true testament to how beneficial signing can be--to the doors signing can open for so many people. It's beautiful.