Baby Sign Language for Children with Special Needs

Child sign language can be used as a critical language development tool for children with special needs. Children who have developed in the typical fashion have learned to speak by 3 years old. Of course some children have physical, emotional or mental problems that delay language development.

These problems may include deafness or some level of loss of hearing, developmental disabilities or oral skills difficulties due to a variety of reasons. But children with deafness or developmental disabilities need to learn how to communicate just like any other child. These babies and children have needs and wants and desires just like other children. Baby Sign Language can provide the means to open the world of communication.

The use of American Sign Language with children who are Deaf is well known. Sign language gives them a way to express themselves. Normally, parents begin teaching child sign language before their child is 3 years old if their child is Deaf. But if the deafness occurs after the child is 2 years old, child sign language can still be taught at any age.

When a child has developmental disabilities, sign language can become a primary language. Even for children who develop learning skills later in life, sign language could most likely be prominently used throughout life.

Children with Downs Syndrome typically develop speaking skills at a later time than other children. Sign language has the benefit of making gestures that often look like what is being represented. This is a major factor in its effectiveness with children who have developmental disabilities.

American Sign Language is useful for babies, toddlers, (and children over 3 years old) who have learning disorders of many kinds. Baby Signs and Child Sign Language not only provide a means of communication, it offers structured focus. Children with short attention spans or recall problems can benefit from being taught sign language.

Child Sign Language is also wonderful for developing language skills in children with autism or speech impaired children. Children who have throat surgery or problems during the time they would normally be learning to speak can be taught child sign language.

One of the greatest advantages sign language can provide children, over 3 who have language difficulties for whatever reason, is the ability to teach descriptive differences between objects. For example, a child with Down Syndrome can be taught the difference between a real bird, a bird statue or a toy bird. This is often a very difficult concept to teach!

There are also parents who discover baby sign language after a child is already talking; and yet decide to augment their child’s language further by teaching sign language. Children who require more time to learn can benefit after 3 years old by learning various significant helpful signs. The same intellectual benefits that extend to younger children often apply.

Sign language improves literacy skills in preschoolers as much as it does in infants. This special language can be used to build confidence in a shy child. Mastering a skill improves self-esteem in children (under and) over 3 years old.

No matter what reason you have for teaching a child sign language (past his or her toddler years), parents will discover that their child reaps many benefits. Children over 3 years old can use sign language to develop both motor and verbal skills. Children with developmental disabilities can use sign language as an avenue for mastering difficult language concepts. Try sign language today and experience the beautiful benefits from the increased communication abilities!

Article Source:

By MJ Williams


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