Partners In Learning Blog Team

Partners In Learning Blog Team
Blog Team

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sign Language and Autism

Because communication delays are a significant part of the issues that children with autism face, sign language can be a great option for some children in order to ease the pathway to communication and language. Signing can be easier to learn than verbal language and once the child learns sign, the transition to verbal language is less difficult for them.

If you decide to use sign language with your child, follow these simple tips and steps:

1) Choose the type of sign language you wish to use. There are many different forms of sign language, such as American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language (BSL).
2) Make sure that everyone in the family and environment of the child are aware of the fact that you are teaching sign laugauge. If everyone is consistent, the process is much smoother.
3) Practice the signs before you teach them to your child. Also, do the sign multiple times while you are performing the act (sign "eat" while eating).
4) Once you introduce the sign, form the child's hand into the sign and repeat the word.
5) Prompting of the sign will become less necessary as the child learns.
6) Once the child is fluent with a number of signs, transition to requiring the child to verbally say the word and the sign in order to communicate.
7) Begin having your child eliminate the signs and using their words only.

Sign language provides social, emotional, cognitive, and communicational benefits to your child if you choose to use sign with your child. Benefits include:
- stimulation of speech and language development
- reduction of negative social behaviors
- increase in social interaction and self expression
- development of cognitive structures

Sign language is a great option as a pathway toward language and communication for your young child. Children as young as infants can begin to learn sign. Children, whether they have disabilities or not are capable of signing.

If you would like to begin learning sign language and teaching your child, come to our Sign Language Workshop! Tuesday, May 22nd from 6:30-8:00 at Partners In Learning. Registration is free, but space is limited so CALL TODAY! Childcare will be provided.

We will also be having a sign language breakout session at our Special Needs Mini-Conference on Saturday, May 5th from 8:00-12:00 at Catawba College. Call today to register for this FREE conference, childcare will be provided at Partners In Learning!

Katherine Zink
Community Inclusion Assistant

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