Learning and using sign language is helpful for children who have communication delays or unclear speech, word finding problems, use augmentive communication devices or low tech index cards on rings, and those benefit from cued speech techniques, as well as those who have hearing impairments.
There are several options for teaching signs to children with developmental disabilities, including ASL, American Sign Language; and SEE, Signing Exact English; and Makaton, keyword signing adapted from BSL, British Sign Language. There are many versions of sign language around the world, using one or both hands.
Mainstream children enjoy learning sign language to communicate with friends or family members who sign, and to have a 'secret language' with friends or classmates. Teenagers can sign up to learn ASL in high school to meet 'foreign language' requirements for many colleges and universities.
If you have resources or stories to share about the impact of signing on your child's communication abilities or behavior, we'd love to read them here!
SE of Seattle
Children and Sign Language
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