Sign Language is frequently recommended as a way to support a child’s expressive language skills while they are learning to develop their spoken vocabularies. Sign language is indeed a very helpful way to not only give young children another way to express themselves, but also a way to help build understanding of their world. Sign language , like the natural gestures we use while communicating, are visual supports that can be seen and provide a static representation for the words and concepts we are talking about. The words that we speak, that are only heard for the milliseconds that it took for us to say, often don’t give children enough time to process and make sense of what they heard.
We are often asked to suggest resources to lean sign language. There are free sign langue resources on the internet that have a variety of resources. American Sign Language (ASL) is the language that is used for individuals with hearing impairments. We also use sign langue with verbal stimulation for children with normal hearing and language delays.
If you are interested in learning ASL handshapes for the letters of the alphabet try www.lifeprint.com/as101/fingerspelling/abc.htm.
If you are looking for some basic signs, the typical first 100 words that children use try www.lifeprint,com/as101/pages-layout/concepts.htm.
The American Sign Language Browser is a dictionary of words and a few phrases and can be found by googling ASL Browser.
Signing Savvy provide videos of ASL signs at www.signingsavvy.com.
In addition, RMCDC has some Signing Time videos with theme-related vocabularies with children signing and some songs that are available to be loaned out to families for a two week period,