Friday, June 3, 2011

Sign Language

Sign Language is commonly used in the world of Down syndrome.

It can be extremely beneficial for most children. There are some children who have various issues with it.

For us, it was very helpful when O was a baby and toddler, but it has since hindered him. While he doesn't use many signs anymore, the signs he does know, he won't say the word. It's kind of like a crutch for him.

Like "more" for example. He can say the word, but because he uses the sign, his brain is programmed to use the sign, instead of say it. I believe he'll eventually drop the sign, but it takes time. He used to only shake his head for "No", but can now say the word. As with everything, it's a process and takes time. But, I believe he'll get there one day, by God's grace.

There are some people who are adamant about not teaching babies sign language because of the above possible problem. And some who are huge advocates for teaching sign language.

I tend to be in the middle. I believe it's very beneficial for babies and children who cannot communicate, which is why it is good to teach it when the child is young. Once the child learns to speak, most of the time the signs will slowly start to drop off, because the child does not need them anymore. It's always best to teach the sign language in case the child can't pick up talking well or doesn't ever learn how to talk.

I know one mother who's daughter is now in her early 20's. She doesn't speak. The daughter was born during the time when sign language was greatly discouraged and therefore that's what was recommended back then - not to teach sign language. But, now, the mother wishes she would have taught her daughter sign language, because her daughter has very limited communicating skills.

I was recently sent a link about a website called I went to the website and looked through it and it looks very helpful. Everything is free and they have great resources.

Their site includes....

-a dictionary

-flash cards
-wall charts

....and more!

 Here's an example of one of their pictures which explains how to do a sign ("baby" is being signed in this picture).



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