Temper tantrums were common during our daughter’s transition from pre-verbal to verbal. Her word acquisition did not keep pace with her quickly growing wants and desires. Through the frustration and tears (sometimes hers, sometimes ours), we would remind her, “Use your words!” Eventually, we developed a somewhat effective way of communicating with each other using words and gestures. The problem was that no one beyond our immediate family “spoke the language”. How I wish that we had known about baby American Sign Language (ASL) back then!!
Although there are more than a few benefits to teaching your child ASL, here are my top five:
- It’s a real language. In fact, it is the 4th most common language in the US!
- It will facilitate your pre-verbal or non-verbal child’s communication and, therefore, help them build connections with you and others.
- This additional tool in their communication-toolbox means less dependence on temper tantrums for self expression.
- Watching others sign stimulates visual attention and joint attention skills.
- Signing develops motor skills.
If you are looking for a resource, we were fortunate to meet Jennifer Cranston, M.Ed. at a recent gathering. She is a nationally certified sign language interpreter with over a decade of experience in interpreting and deaf education. She can be contacted at Jennifer.L.Cranston@gmail.com or (703) 725-8289.
More in future posts!Tags: American Sign Language, autism, Autistic Children, babies, baby sign language, children, children with autism, children with down syndrome, down syndrome children, fine motor development, fine motor skills, gross motor development, gross motor skills, parents