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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a stepmommy (and full time caregiver) to my son who is turning 4. His mom disappered when he was 6mo and recently returned a year ago. I have always done his speech therapy and OT. I wanted to teach Sign to my baby girl and as a family we all have been doing this together as our project. Since we started he has just loved it!
and his vocab continues to grow daily, i am thrilled and so proud!
: however his mom just flamed me.

"The issue of you trying to teach my son Sign Language is rather disturbing. As you are aware as well, MA's school nor his teachers teach that language and are confused as to why you are doing this. It is troubling to them as well as myself. MA is not hearing impaired and you are in no position to teach it to anyone let alone a "special needs child."

Are there negative effects for him learning Sign?? Did anyone find Sign helpful? He is diagnosed with ASD and SID. I would judge him on the mild side.
 

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Pretty much all research has shown that a Whole Communication approach that fosters all types of communication is helpful to children. My dd, who is very motor impaired, uses a combination of facial expressions, sounds (a few), signs (2), and augmentative communication devices. Our POV is that we should help her to communicate in every possible way she can, and those different kinds of communication will foster a greater desire for communication in all areas. So signing will allow him to communicate more, which should eventually help him to talk more if he is able to.

But it will only be effective if everyone (home, school, etc.) uses it with him. If he signs at school and gets ignored, that is not good for him. Pretty much every special ed classroom I have been to uses some signing, so I would be surprised if his school was opposed to it.
 

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I am all for using sign language with hearing kiddos. I use it all the time. It is a way for kids who have difficulty with getting words out to communicate what they want. It decreases frustration and outbursts and increases meaningful communicative interactions. I have also used picture symbols too. Speech is just another symbol system to communicate what you want; it just uses sounds rather than hand shapes and movement.

If his teachers and/or mom know his signs for things, then he can communicate with them. They don't need to necessarily sign to him. I have had families that I work with make up signs for things that aren't in any sign language book. It is all about communication and helping him to tell people what he wants and needs whether it is by his hands or his voice.
 

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Well, I agree with what everyone else has said.

For one thing it could just be a difference in parenting and she is just not into what you are doing....and it is annoying to her because it is always hard when someone else is taking care of your dc....and even worse if they do a really good job and make you a bit jealous and wish you were the one doing all of it.
I'd say it is less about the actual signing....but also she may just be uneducated about it. Maybe you could give her some written info. about it.
 

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I think there would be no problem with it also. My ds has just started to communicate fairly ok but I had tried using sign language with him while he had no real communication skills. We did try a bit but he had a lot of difficulty with it. My concern would be that if he is signing and being ignored it might be very frustrating for him.

I think that beyond jealousy that maybe her problem with sign language is that it is so visible to others. She could have a problem admitting that her child has special needs to others and herself. To her using sign language would be an outward sign.
 

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While my daughter isn't on the spectrum she does have a significant communication's delay and her SLP encourages the use of sign language in conjunction with verbal language to help her expand her vocabulary.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by GC_Mom View Post
While my daughter isn't on the spectrum she does have a significant communication's delay and her SLP encourages the use of sign language in conjunction with verbal language to help her expand her vocabulary.
What she said.

Plus, my pediatrician encouraged the use of signs with my delayed dd, as signs and spoken words form from the same section of the brain. I find it very helpful for my daughter and her teacher (who's also a ST) was thrilled to hear we were using signs and uses them with dd at school. And I find that she will learn how to speak a word more quickly if she's also learning the sign.

I do think a lot of teachers will say that they don't want to teach kids signs b/c another form would be more useful, when in fact they just don't want to learn signs.

Also, what a gift to give any child - my older kids are learning ASL as well for fun, and their great-aunt is hearing impaired - I know she will get a kick out of them signing to her.
 

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AFAIK most SLPs today encourage the use of sign language for reasons others have mentioned here. It can be extremely helpful to kids for many reasons. I agree that it sounds like she has some other issues and is using this one as something to vent about. I would just doublecheck with his teachers if they are having any problems with his signs. If they are then you might even speak with his SLP and see about having his signs written into his IEP, but I question whether these teachers have actually even spoken to his bio-mom. Does she have any custodial rights? If not then is it even legal for those teachers to be discussing him with her?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for sharing all your thoughts. I believe in all the theories behind all your comments, its just hard sometimes with all the specialists and knowing what to do for my little one. i am trying to understand her concerns, however it appears perhaps that it is underlying issues and not the Sign. I have seen the teachers use Sign with him, so I think she may have fibbed a bit about the teachers. With my son I noticed that he is having a lot of fun with it, he requests me to help him make the sign with his hands, which I love because he has a lot of muscle weakness in his fingers and arms. We only really use the sign in conjunction with speech to try and teach my daughter. He does use sign when he is emotionally upset and he seems to get stuck, after he makes the sign it seems to help him verbally say it more quickly than before where he would usually go into a tantrum. the best thing is that it has increased his vocab very quickly!!!!!!
i will continue with the Sign, i would perhaps forward some info, but that would only create problems, this is something she needs to figure out in her own way. I am so happy to hear how Sign has helped your children, I look forward to more victories.
 

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I'm sorry that you are getting flamed.

I have to agree with the other ladies. Sign is a *huge* help with my Dd and she only has a dx of SID at this point. We are kicking around who we should talk to since we have startef picking up on some possible hearing pronlems, but her biggest issues seems to be being able to pick up on the emotions connected to the words and body facial language that would go with what is being said that normally tells a person how the words are being used.

I say keep it up with the sign. So, far the only person I know who is backing up what we are trying to do with Dd(at least from out side the house) is my mom and she has done *tons* of work with special needs kids of all kinds.
 

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Therapists at both of my ds's therapy providers (one a university speech lab, the other a professional independent provider) encourage sign for my son. ANY form of communication is going to help an ASD kid to progress with communication.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by chann96 View Post
AFAIK most SLPs today encourage the use of sign language for reasons others have mentioned here.
yep, we do!
 
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