WHY LEARN TO SIGN?
• To become more expressive
• To be better able to read body language
• To volunteer and connect with more people
Who Uses Sign Language?
People with these challenges:
Apraxia (obscurement in neural pathway between brain and speech)
Aphasia (communication disorder from damage to the brain's language capacity)
Deafness, Hardness of Hearing
Dysarthria (nerve or muscle damage)
Spasmodic Dysphonia (voice disorder)
Speech Delay (common with small children)
...And Many Other Individuals
It is not just deaf and hard of hearing children and adults who use sign language. Another large segment of sign language users are the hearing who are nonverbal due to various conditions. For many, sign language provides a means of quick communication, particularly for those whose attention spans may be very short or language very limited. It can also be a tool for language development prior to developing spoken language. For children, it is a means of expressing themselves so that they are less frustrated.
Aphasia is a common speech disorder. It can be developmental or sometimes caused by a stroke or brain injury, making a person unable to speak. Sign language can be a communication aid for people with aphasia.
Sign language is frequently used as a communication tool with children with autism. One resource discussing sign language and autism research is "Acquisition of Picture Exchange-Based vs. Signed Mands and Implications to Teach Functional Communication Skills to Children with Autism" in the Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship from December 2016.
Some hearing children with cerebral palsy may be unable to speak because the cerebral palsy means they cannot control the parts of the body needed in producing speech. Sign language gives them an alternative means of communication.
The experiences of parents and children with Down syndrome in using sign language varies. Some parents of children with Down syndrome find that using sign language reduces the incentive for children to speak, as signing is easier for them. Others have found that using sign language encourages the development of speech in their children with Down syndrome and that the children drop the signs as they learn to speak. A resource for using sign language with children who have Down syndrome is:
Sign Language can be an incredibly useful tool for parents and children with cognitive and speech challenges. It is also extremely valuable for adults and seniors with loss of hearing and speech ability.
GraceSigns is happy to announce "Signing Stars," a new program sponsored by the Global Down Syndrome Foundation to employ individuals with Down syndrome. Candidates are encouraged to download GraceSigns free apps, learn signs as either words or sentences, and send in their photos and/or videos of themselves signing. Participants will be paid $25 for each photo and $50 for each video. Show your stuff and be a Signing Star today!
Poetry is a beautiful form of self-expression and GraceSigns embraces language in all formats.
Share your poetry with us! We will showcase your creation here in our Poetry Corner.
I Am Deaf
The silence of sound
doesn't silence me.
To hear nothing
is something opening
Everything is exposed.
I am exposed.
I am expanded and empowered,
I am deaf.
— Zachary B. Hart