Supporting Communication for Disabilities & Getting Started

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Teaching Sign Language for communication is a great way to begin understanding what your child is communicating, but if you are still working your way up to this strategy, I wanted to let you know that non-verbal communication through body language and facial expressions is a form of communication. Even if your child or student doesn’t know the signs or have age-appropriate communication skills, take some time to “read” their responses through facial expressions and body language. Typically you can identify positive and negative responses through that.

Modified signs, or signs that are close to the correct way of signing, are okay. Your child or student may have physical limitations due to developmental milestones.

One strategy to teaching Sign Language for communication support is through integration and pairing signs with objects, activities, and spoken language. Here are some points to remember:

  • Be consistent and pair the sign with voicing the word to assist with association.
  • You can pair the sign with visuals such as a visual schedule to help establish routine.
  • Use a combination of these strategies to help generalize the skill.
  • Consistency and routine matter, and if what you’re teaching is applicable to that child, it’ll matter even more. If a child doesn’t drink or like milk, that would not be a priority sign to teach. If a child does drink milk everyday with a meal, then it would be a priority sign to teach.

Another strategy to teaching Sign Language for communication support is through mini lessons. Here are some points to remember:

  • Dedicated short-sessions on teaching specific Sign Language vocabulary is a good start, and the length of lessons depend on the learner’s attention span and motivation.
  • Use a picture book, flash cards, visual schedules, or objects around you that your child enjoys.
  • Continue integrating these words within your daily activities to help generalize the skills.

What key takeaways have you learned today that you could apply to your classroom, homeschool, or parenting?

Whether you want to learn ASL to communicate with others, just for fun, to improve communication with your autistic child, or to strengthen your bond with someone, Sign Tribe Academy is the perfect solution. Be sure to check out Sign Tribe Academy today and thank you for stopping by!


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