Saturday, December 23, 2017

Santa and Signs of the Holidays

Santa and Signs of the Holidays 

When December rolls around, so do the Signs of good things to come.  Signs of Joy can be seen and heard and felt in the air.  Signs are not always written, nor are they said aloud.  We see and feel the signs of love and happiness and we know it is that time of year.  When children are smiling, that is a sign. When people are tired, we can see signs of that too. At this time, there are signs everywhere - homes, businesses and even people are sparkling with red, green, glitter and gold.  Holiday music plays as lights dance and dazzle around us. There is a also a sweetness that permeates our senses - chocolate, baking and all things yummy.  The holidays have us using all of our senses!

With Sign Language, we use all our senses (except hearing) to read the other person; we watch their hands. We study their facial expression, their posture and their energy. When someone signs “I am Happy”- they show you with their whole being!

We at GraceSigns were honored to demonstrate Signs of Love and Joy by hosting a holiday party for children with special needs and their family. Happy Signing to all of you and Happy New Year from GraceSigns!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sign Language & Emotions

Sign Language & Emotions

by Valerie R. Carter

When you think of “language” you might just think of spoken languages, such as English, French or Spanish. However, language comes in many different formats and also involves body language and emotional language. Facial expressions are especially important with sign language, a visual form of communication.

When Lydia Callis’ animated sign language interpreting helped Mayor Michael Bloomberg warn New Yorkers about 2012 Superstorm Sandy, she became an overnight internet star.  As Bloomberg spoke, Callis' face, hands and body spelled out the dangers for New Yorkers who could not hear. When Bloomberg said, "It is dangerous," a sense of peril visibly spread across her face. While Callis was spoofed on late night talk shows, the use of hands, body language, facial expressions and mouth movements all stress importance. They are similar to intonation and inflection in speech.

An interesting study shows that people who can sign have improved abilities to read general body language – an integral part of communication. Sign language also helps communicate emotions and sometimes allows people who can’t express their emotions in words easily, like young children and those with special needs, give voice to their feelings.
Learn a Sign a Week

Introduce a sign each week associated with an emotion such as afraid, happy, sad, etc. Say and sign the word multiple times each day and use appropriate facial expressions to match meanings. We will post a new emotion each week on our website.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017



by Laura O'Grady

We are all back to school and with that comes the chaos of scheduling, paperwork, and after-school activities. Children with special needs are often in new classes with new teachers and new aides, who have not yet learned each child’s unique communication needs.  What is the best way for children to convey a brief 1-2 word message when their articulation isn’t clear? Fingerspelling!! Fingerspelling is signing the spelling of a word rather than using the sign for the word.  Most Special Educators have learned how to fingerspell, and it can be used in any environment.  When your child isn’t understood, have them fingerspell it! When teachers ask who will be picking them up, have them fingerspell it! When teachers ask if they have siblings, have them fingerspell it! Fingerspelling is useful anywhere, anytime, so it is an essential skill to learn.  Be on the lookout for GraceSign's fun, new signing app that teaches all the letters in the alphabet! 

Guest Blog post by Laura O’Grady, Speech Pathologist and GraceSign's Board Member