Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Down Syndrome Awareness Month: Sign Language can help children who may have difficulty with speech

It has been shown that children with learning disabilities often need to have multiple senses stimulated simultaneously in order for them to learn effectively. Even boys (as opposed to girls) do better when movement, or a third sensory stimulus) is added to their learning regimen. Yet, in a normal classroom setting, children only listen to a teacher and see what is being demonstrated. In this example only two senses are stimulated and a single set of connections is made in the brain.

By stimulating the tactile centers of the brain with a hands-on activity like signing, that number of connections can be tripled. Connections would now be made between somatosensory and visual centers, somatosensory and auditory centers and visual and auditory centers. As a result, learning becomes more efficient and memory is enhanced, or in the case of a child with a learning disability, learning becomes possible. This is just one reason that children with learning disabilities benefit from the use of sign language in the classroom. However, sign language isn’t just for the learning disabled. All children tend to benefit from its application.

This may be why teachers and early childhood educators are piling into sign language and baby sign language workshops. A representative from Kauai-based company, Blossoming Little Minds, just recently gave a standing room only presentation about using sign language in the classroom at the 2010 HAEYC (Hawaii Association for the Education of Young Children) conference. She covered many benefits of using sign language in a classroom and pointed out that those benefits are multiplied for children with learning disabilities, speech delays, Down Syndrome and autism. She said that Children with Down Syndrome may also have difficulty with speech and that using sing sign language can alleviate much of the stress and frustration that is due to the inability to communicate.

She went on to say that preverbal children that can communicate their needs, are more likely to get their needs met. As a result, these children are often more self-confident and have higher self esteem. Since self esteem is related to the future success of our children, it would only make sense to use a tool such as sign language to instill these qualities into our children at an early age and if signing can help children with learning disabilities too, then kudos to the teachers that attend these workshops so that they can help our children succeed.

For more information about the benefits of baby sign language, you may visit Blossoming Little Minds’ website.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March 24 vocabulary sign list

Aloha Mamas and Daddies:

Thanks for continuing in your quest to communicate with your baby! you guys did fabulous today, give yourselves a hand! Today we learned the signs for: Apple, banana, grapes, cookies, ice cream, water, juice, mommy, daddy, gramma, grampa, baby, bath, sleep, up & down! WOW! and we learned how to use them with songs! Keep up the good work and try to remember to incorporate just a couple signs into your daily life!
good luck and happy signing!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Word List March 16 class

Here is the word list for today's class:
Milk, Eat, More, drink, all done.
We will review these signs next week. For now, try to remember to use them as such:
Would you like more milk? Would you like more food? Would you like to play some more? When all done diapering say all done! When all done eating say all done! As your child if they would like to drink some milk. Then ask if they would like more or are they all done. Are you hungry, would you like to eat? Check out youtube, signing savvy, blossoming little minds and signing time! And bring pictures from magazine of fruits, cookies, cheese and crackers, etc.
Good luck! Happy SIgning

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Baby Sign Language Classes

Baby Sign language class

Learn how to communicate with your infant/toddler before they develop speech. This 6 week class will cover the benefits of signing, how to get started, how to help toddlers identify emotions using sign, overcoming any pitfalls and continuing to use sign language as a multisensory teaching tool in the preschool years. You will learn over 75 signs and the manual alphabet. Classes run Tuesdays 10A-10:45A, March 16-April 20 at Storybook Theatre in Hanapepe. Donation recommended but not required. More info,
Schedule of topics:
March 16: Getting Started, Benefits of Signing, signs for basic needs
March 23: Uses of sign language, signs for food & drink
March 30: Overcoming pitfalls, signs for animals
April 6: Everyday signs, review, questions, books & games
April 13: Using signs to help toddlers identify emotions, signs for body & feelings
April 20: Using sign language as a multisensory teaching tool, signs for colors and the alphabet

Ziggity Zoom

Aloha folks:
I was recently appointed to the Ziggity Zoom advisory board and have posted a few articles about sign language at this site. By the way, it's a great site for kids and parents and shares that title of best site for kids with Disney kids. You may see my article on Empowering your baby with sign language here.