Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Friday's Facts 061512: Sign Language

I learned early on that sign language can be helpful for a baby/child with Down Syndrome.  Here's what I have discovered.

1. Many children with Down Syndrome (DS) have some degree of speech delay.  This makes it difficult for parent and child to communicate - leading to frustration for all.
2. Many babies can pick up signs long before they can speak their first words.  They develop gross motor skills needed for signing before they develop the fine motor skills associated with verbal speech.

3. Sign language is not just for the deaf; It can be helpful with:
  • apraxia
  • autism
  • cerebral palsy
  • communication impairments
  • down syndrome
  • deafness/hearing impairment
  • LLD - language learning disability
  • various learning delays
  • medical non-verbal needs, i.e. tracheotomy
  • varying degrees of mental impairment
4. The development of speech, language, social, emotional, and academic skills is enhanced through the use of sign language.

5. Sign language accelerates the acquisition of speech by stimulating areas of the brain that are associated with speech and language.

6. Signing provides language stimulation and conceptual information that enhances vocabulary development in children.

7. By expanding vocabulary and social opportunities, sign language naturally enhances self esteem.

How to teach sign language to your baby:

1. Start simple (eat, mama, etc)

2. Introduce one sign at a time & use it often.

3. Say the word as you sign it so baby will associate the word with the sign.

4. Make it fun!

A few sites to help get you started:

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