Teaching Hearing Children to Communicate With Sign Language
Master Signing Time Academy Instructor Kim Fries, who is also a Pediatric Speech and Language Pathologist teaches a weekly Story Time at Rolling Hills Moravian Mothers Morning Out in Longwood, FL. This week WOFL FOX 35 News Orlando featured Kim’s program in a piece titled Sign language helping hearing kids communicate better (view below). In the feature they referenced the White Paper: Signing with Babies and Children Written by Dr. Claire Vallotton from Michigan State University that was commissioned by Two Little Hands Productions.
The White Paper gives an overview of research findings on the impacts of signing on development and learning for children of all ages and abilities – and provides research supported answers to common questions parents and teachers have about signing with children.
There are many benefits of using signs with students – from as young as preverbal infants, to those in early elementary, all the way to adult students who struggle with reading or those who are learning a new language. Research has also shown benefits for children with special needs including dyslexia, language impairments, Down syndrome, and Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as for both hearing and deaf children in an inclusive education environment. Thus signs can be used to enhance education for learners of a wide range of ages and abilities.
The benefits of signing are not just for the students, but for teachers, too. When children can communicate more clearly, teachers can respond to them more easily, and teachers’ feel more competent in their own work.
In the last three decades, we’ve witnessed an amazing partnership between families, teachers, and researchers. This partnership created the impetus for the early research and the momentum for studies that followed. As we move into the future, our work will continue, fed by breakthroughs in neuroscience and technology which will lead to even more exciting discoveries about how signing influences human interactions and learning.