Through my experiences with American Sign Language (ASL) and special needs, I have come to the conclusion that there are three main benefits for individuals with special needs to learn Sign Language.
- One benefit to learning Sign Language is to help bridge the communication gap. Often times individuals with special needs who are nonverbal will experience much frustration and even behavioral difficulties due to the lack of communication skills. When we can teach that individual Sign Language and also help families to Learn Sign language, we can help bridge that communication gap. Bridging the communication gap can lead to improved relationships and the overall happiness that families experience because they are able to communicate more effectively.
- A second benefit is to help individuals build self-confidence. The ability to communicate wants and needs, even on a basic level, can contribute to individuals having more self-confidence. Having self-confidence can also lead to feeling better about themselves as an individual and also being able to communicate what they need or want without relying on others.
Now I’m not saying that Sign Language is the only way, but it is definitely one away to bridge the communication gap.
A communication strategy that can be paired with Sign Language is a communication picture system. Pairing the use of Sign Language and a picture system can help to provide communication options when necessary.
- Another benefit is helping the individual to build independence. We always want our children and students to be as independent as possible as they navigate their way through life. Being able to communicate basic wants and needs independently and finding what’s right for the individual also helps to build confidence while bridging the communication gap.
All three of these benefits go hand in hand to support an individual’s ability to communicate basic wants and needs.