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The use of American Sign Language (ASL) with:


The use of American Sign Language (ASL) with: Babies Preschoolers School aged children Why use ASL with hearing babies? Pat Kuhl, Neuroscientist, stated that we used ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The use of American Sign Language (ASL) with:

The use of American Sign Language (ASL) with
  • Babies
  • Preschoolers
  • School aged children

Why use ASL with hearing babies?
  • picture

Pat Kuhl, Neuroscientist, stated that we used to
think language began at the one year stage when
kids started producing their first words and they
started to understand words. Now what were
learning is well before the stage at which babies
understand or produce any words at all, their
hearing systems are beginning to be sculpted by
language input (Hochberg, May 1997)
Dr. Joseph Garcia, author of Sign with your Baby
has discovered that babies as young as 6 months
are able to produce basic signs such as milk
or more.
11-month-old signing baby
To view this video go to http//www.mysmarthands
Why use ASL, why not make up your own signs?
There was a recent study which found that
six-month-old hearing infants exposed to ASL for
the first time prefer it to pantomime lending new
evidence that humans show a broad preference for
languages over non-languages. (Schwarz, 2002)
When did the use of Sign Language with hearing
children come about?
  • A) 1852
  • B) 1952
  • C) 1982
  • D) 2002
  • Answer 1852

Short term effects of using ASL with infants.
  • Reduces frustration
  • Promotes parent/child bonding
  • Begins to develop confidence

Long term effects of using ASL with infants
  • Higher IQs when tested at ages 7 8
  • Increased spelling skills and reading
  • Increased confidence

Can teaching a baby Sign Language delay speech?

Dr. Marilyn Daniels designed a study with 16
hearing children who knew ASL all but one of the
children had deaf parents. She found they scored
17 higher on the tests she administered than
hearing children who didnt know ASL. Subsequent
research studies with larger groups have found
the same results. (Daniels, 2001)
Why would this be?
  • One reason may be that sign language increases
    overall brain activity, stimulating the formation
    of more synapses, or connections, among brain
  • Studies with PET scans have shown that childrens
    brains process signing both as a language, in the
    left side of the brain, and as image and
    movement, in the right side of the brain. This
    give the child two places to recall language.

  • They are also being exposed to three different
    inputs visual, observing the gesture audible,
    hearing the word spoken along with the sign and
    physical, feeling the sign used.
  • And, as a growing body of research on early brain
    development shows, the more stimulation a child
    is exposed to at an early age, the more
    intelligent he or she is likely to be.

13-month-old signing baby.
To view this video go to http//www.mysmarthands
Why would the use of ASL increase vocabulary and
language development?
  • One reason for higher IQs could be that signing
    babies communicate about complex things earlier,
    helping them build the circuitry of their brains.
  • A child who signs can elicit more communication
    and responses from adults and older children
    around him providing him with a language-rich
    learning environment that allows him to develop a
    large vocabulary.

Use of ASL with Preschoolers
Research has demonstrated repeatedly that
children retain what they learn through fun,
playful activities that encourage the use of
multiple intelligences
  1. Physical learning (movement)
  2. Visual learning (seeing)
  3. Verbal learning (speaking or listening)
  4. Musical learning (music or rhymes)
  5. Mathematical learning (reasoning)
  6. Interpersonal learning (with other people)
  7. Intrapersonal learning (individual learning)

Laura Bush has stated that, The years between
diapers and the first backpacks will determine
whether a child will succeed in school and make
it to college.
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton asked physicians to
    suggest parents read to their young children, and
    she called for greater investment in children
    aged zero to three.

Penelope Leach states that The more language
they (children) have, the faster thinking will
progress. But the more thinking they are doing,
the more language they will use. So language and
thought even language and intelligence, are
intimately entangled.
Research shows when signing is added to the
preschool curriculum, children not only find
signing fun but also show a significant
improvement in receptive English vocabulary and
retain information for a longer period of time.
Marilyn Daniels found that the significant
vocabulary gains made in their pre-kindergarten
years are sustained through their kindergarten
year and remain with them. There is no memory
decay over time. (Daniels 40-49)
2-year-old signing toddler.
To view this video go to http//www.mysmarthands
Using ASL in Elementary School
Confucius, over 2000 years ago said
  • If you tell meI will forget
  • If you show meI may remember
  • If you involve meI will understand.

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, developer of American
Sign Language, saw that hearing childrens
language development increased from the use of
sign. This led him to believe that the more
varied the form under which language is presented
to the mind through various senses, the more
perfect will be the knowledge of it acquired, and
the more permanently will it be retained.
During the early years of the educational process
one of the most important skills, if not the most
important skill, children are required to learn
is reading. ASL has been shown to be beneficial
in helping children in the first years of
elementary school to learn and remember many of
the skills necessary to become great readers.
Teague, Teague, and Wilson conducted a study with
seven regular first grade students who were
having difficulty learning to spell.
  • At the time the students were selected, they
    spelled only 25 to 46 of their words correctly
    on spelling tests.
  • When the students used both fingerspelling and
    sign language to learn their spelling words,
    their spelling test scores improved to a range of
    56 to 90 words spelled correctly.
  • The students retention of the spelling words at
    the end of the study ranged from 60-90 words
    spelled correctly.

Jerry Johns, president-elect of the International
Reading Association, says that use of ASL in
classrooms has yet to catch on with mainstream
educators. But, he adds it does utilize
techniques that improve reading skills.
How to incorporate signing in library programs
  • Books
  • Songs
  • Alphabet / Games

  • When reading and signing to a baby or toddler,
    the child will frequently be more involved with
    the activity.
  • Most infants are visual learners and associate
    books as fun. When signing with him/her it
    becomes a game.
  • An early introduction of sign language through
    books establishes the joy of reading in a childs

  • Children love putting actions to songs, why not
    use signs from a real language as opposed to made
    up movements.
  • You can teach specific words and signs and then
    use them in a song these can be based in themes.

Alphabet / Games
  • Children have an easier time learning their
    alphabet when movement and muscle memory is
    involved in their learning.
  • You can teach songs with letters in them and have
    the children sign the letters. eg. E-I-E-I-O
  • You can play a game with them having one child
    fingerspell a simple word and then having the
    other children guess the word. This is a fun way
    to practice spelling skills.

The letter F
Hopefully, parents, daycare workers, librarians
and teachers will soon realize the value of
incorporating sign language into their daily
Important websites
  • My Smart Hands, educating young minds
  • Mind Bites (videos on how to sign words and
    songs, go to the parenting kids section)
  • Babies and Sign Language

Recommended Readings
  • Daniels, Marilyn, (2001) Dancing With Words,
    Signing for Hearing Children's Literacy, Bergin
    Garvey, Westport, CT.
  • Garcia, Dr. Joseph (2005) Sign with your Baby,
    Northlight Communications, Inc. Seattle, WA

  • Blackburn, D., Vonvillian, J., and Ashby, R.
    (January 1984). Manual Communication as an
    Alternative Mode of Language Instruction for
    Children with Severe Reading Disabilities.
    Language, Speech and Hearing Services in
    Schools,15, 22-31.
  • Bonvillian, J., Cate, S., Weber, W., and Folven,
    R. (Fall 1988). Early Letter Recognition, Letter
    Naming and Reading Skills in a Signing and
    Speaking Child. Sign Language Studies, 271-289.
  • Carney, J., Cioffi, G., and Raymond, W. (Spring
    1985). Using Sign Language For Teaching Sight
    Words. Teaching Exceptional Children. 214-217.
  • Christensen, K. (1984) Reading Sign Language -
    Use of a Visual-Gestural Mode to Supplement
    Reading Acquisition. Claremont Reading Conference
    Yearbook. 228-231.

  • Daniels, M. (1996). Seeing Language The Effect
    Over Time of Sign Language on Vocabulary
    Development in Early Childhood Education. Child
    Study Journal, 26, 193-208.
  • Felzer, L. (1998). A Multisensory Reading Program
    That Really Works. Teaching and Change, 5,
  • Good. L. Feekes, J. Shawd, B. (1993/94). Let
    Your Fingers Do The Talking, Hands-on Language
    Learning Through Signing. Childhood Education,
  • Hafer, J. (1986). Signing For Reading Success.
    Washington D.C. Clerc Books, Gallaudet
    University Press.
  • Hochberg, Lee (1997). Childs Play.
  • Koehler, L., and Loyd, L. (September 1986). Using
    Fingerspelling/Manual Signs to Facilitate Reading
    and Spelling. Biennial Conference of the
    International Society for Augmentative and
    Alternative Communication. (4'th Cardiff Wales).
  • Schwarz, Joel (2002). Hearing infants show
    preference for sign language over pantomime.
  • Wilson, R., Teague, J., and Teague, M. (1985).
    The Use of Signing and Fingerspelling to Improve
    Spelling Performance with Hearing Children.
    Reading Psychology, 4, 267-273.