A picture is worth a thousand words. To a non-verbal, special needs child, the benefits of pictures and art go far beyond words:
Art provides special needs kids the chance to creatively communicate thoughts and feelings when they don’t have the words to express them. For example, Valentine’s Day is a great time for special needs children and their families to use art for loving self expression.
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.
Parents strive diligently to give their children “wings and a compass” – the gifts of independence and life direction. Parents of children with autism are no different. However, they also recognize that their children will experience developmental delays and skill deficits that make uncertain the degree of independence that their child is capable of reaching. (more…)
Happy First Birthday, Baby! Your baby’s work on her fine motor skills is really paying off now. She can pick up and hold her toys (and other “stuff” that you rather she wouldn’t). She enjoys turning the pages of her board books while you are reading to her. Stacking cups present her fun and interesting challenges. (more…)
Fine motor development refers to baby’s ability to use the smaller muscles in his hands and feet. Fine motor skills grow simultaneously with gross motor development. For example, while he learns how to use the bigger arm muscles to reach for a favorite toy, he is also learns how to use the smaller hand muscles to grasp it. You may notice that while he pumps his legs (large muscle group) he is also spreading his toes (small muscle group). (more…)