Sign language is being used consistently in my house at the moment. Rose has just turned 15 months. She is quickly frustrated by her inability to verbalize but her communication is certainly developing quickly.
Not surprisingly ‘more’ was one of the first signs she used.
‘All done’ is also proving to be very useful as a way of telling me she has finished and either wants a cookie or to be cleaned up and let loose! Here Daisy is reinforcing the sign.
Other signs we are using at the moment are;
Big sis loves to help with the teaching.
Other favourites for Rose are ‘change, poop, food, cookie, cheese, bunny and sleep’.
While there are many signs more specifically used with babies, these may not be so suitable for the classroom. When a toddler needs to poop we love them to use the sign for poop or potty but a student in grade one could use the sign for toilet. This would allow the student to communicate across the classroom without disturbing the teacher or the other students. Teachers use so many methods of non-verbal communication as it is, sign language just makes that communication even easier to understand.
The alphabet is a great starting point for older children and alphabet cards of the letters and basic signs are great for games and activities.
As ASL is becoming more widely used in the classroom, many videos are available to quickly bring you up to speed.
For young children songs are still the most popular way of teaching sign and Expanded Songs in Sign is a great way to teach basic sign. The songs are familiar with children and as early childhood educators we are likely to be singing these with children. Adding in sign language makes the experience even more engaging and enjoyable.
Having used ASL for 4 years with my children I can see the benefits in the classroom and will be using it in the future.
How do you use sign language?