Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Why Sign Language?

The easy answer is Why Not? And the full answer is because you have so much to gain. 
Signing is beautiful and it is fun. It is a great way to encourage communication with young children and with those who have speech and/or hearing challenges. Signing can be used silently, or with vocalization.  Many signs are intuitive and children especially love the animal signs which are often very funny.   

For instance, the sign for DOG, is patting your thigh and snapping your fingers.

When my daughter was small and just starting school, she was unable to tell me about her day.  By us learning some signs together, we were finally able to communicate. We have always used spoken language when signing, because ultimately we wanted her to utilize full language.  In the past, she might just say or sign the word DRINK, holding a cupped hand to her mouth. 
In response, I would use signing as a verbal prompt.  I’d sign the word, “I” my pinky pointed toward myself and the sign for drink. This would get her thinking about saying more. She then would try to sign and/or say the sentence, “I want a drink please”. This encouraged her to make a complete sentence. Ultimately, with or without vocalization, signing allows a child to express themselves.

By teaching just a few signed words in a story, children and adults, have found it so much easier to learn and retain the words.  In our first Sign Me A Story app, 14 signed words are taught through live action video and animated adventure.  In the second story, 12 more signs are learned and previous signs are revisited.  By the end of the two apps, 26 signs are remembered. Kids can practice reading, review the videos as well. The story makes the whole experience entertaining and engaging.  

Signing is an amazing way to teach words, encourage language and break down communication barriers.  Why not learn to sign?  It will open up a whole new world.

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