I really love sign language. I think it’s a great and convenient tool to help babies and kids with autism to get that communication ball rolling. Some of Adrian’s first communication WAS sign language and I think that really helped him make that connection between words and objects. I am excited to share this valuable information and this free resource for you to use in the future to learn some signs and teach them to your babies and children! This guest post is provided by babysignlanguage.com and for future reference you will find their link in my side bar under “communication resources”.
Can baby sign language really help children with autism? More and more parents and educators are saying yes, it can. Not only can it help the child, but it can help the entire family.
But first, for the child:
Communicating with sign language has been shown to increase vocalization attempts in children with autism. While some mistakenly assume that learning to sign will prevent a child from learning to speak, the research does not support this assumption. Signing actually helps a child learn to talk. The same area of the brain is activated during speech and during sign, which suggests that the development of both could go hand in hand.
On a more practical note, sign language can help alleviate frustration. When a child wants or needs to communicate something, it is very helpful if she has a sign that matches what she wants to say.
Signing with your child also facilitates eye contact and promotes social interaction. You have to look at someone to see them sign, and she has to look at you to make sure that you understand her sign.
Now, for the rest of the family:
Some parents shy away from signing because they themselves don’t know sign language. This is sad, because it is so easy to learn a few signs, especially when compared to learning everything else that one must learn about parenting.
You don’t have to be fluent in sign language in order to start signing with your toddler or preschooler. You can learn and introduce one sign at a time. Is there a word that your child could use often? One that might alleviate some frustration? Then teach her that sign. Just start there. It will alleviate some frustration for you too, in those moments when you don’t understand what your child needs.
Making sign language a household event gives other children a job to do, a way to help. Teaching and learning signs quickly becomes a family affair. Other children in the household usually jump at the chance to help, especially if it means interacting with a sibling.
Many parents choose to hang baby sign language flash cards up in their home, to serve as reminders, not only for the sign itself, but for the task at hand. For example, hang up the flash card for the sign for “wash,” near the bathroom sink to remind everyone to wash their hands before leaving the bathroom. Or hang up the sign for “shoe” by the door to remind everyone to take their shoes off.
Make signing a bonding experience for the whole family! Most things are anyway, right? With baby sign language, or signing at any age, the more the merrier.
This article was provided by babysignlanguage.com a website featuring digital resources including a baby sign language dictionary, baby sign language flash cards, and baby sign language wall chart 100% free.