In the past decade or two, sign language for children has really taken off with many parents teaching their toddlers and even their babies simple signs to improve communication and reduce frustration for both parents and children. Despite the growth in this technique, some adults have remained reluctant to use this tool for special needs children. They may have thought that it would keep these children from learning the spoken language or that it would be too difficult for other adults to learn, thus keeping these children from being able to communicate with a majority of the people around them. Putting these myths to rest can help parents and teachers use sign language to their advantage within this demographic.
Benefits of Using Sign Language
While the most obvious benefit of sign language is helping children who are unable to use the spoken word effectively to communicate with others, there are actually far more advantages than just this.
- Sign language can help develop the spoken language by stimulating the communication areas of the brain.
- Sign language helps children become more expressive.
- Sign language helps these children feel more confident and more independent.
- Sign language can significantly reduce frustration as children can now communicate their emotions.
- Sign language can help with schooling by stimulating a variety of areas in the brain.
- American sign language is considered to be a real language and may come in handy even after these children have learned spoken English.
- Tips for Using Sign Language
Parents and teachers may feel frightened to teach sign language if they do not know it themselves. However, the most basic of words can be quite easy to learn because signs are very intuitive. Adults do not have to be fluent in order to give children the benefits of sign language.
Many school districts or community centers often offer help with sign language. Speak to a student adviser, your child’s doctor, or a speech and language therapist for more help and tips with this.