It may seem like introducing sign language to a speech delayed child is simply adding more work to an already difficult and arduous task, but experts say that teaching sign language can sometimes help speech delayed children to find another way to communicate. Most children that have a speech delay know what it is that they are trying to communicate, but have trouble effectively communicating. Sign language offers children a way to physically and visually express their feelings and needs, rather than verbally voicing them.
Learning and Teaching Sign Language
Videos and books can help you and your child to learn sign language together. As you and your child practice signing to one another, be sure that you speak the words as you sign them, so that your child begins to link the words to the signs and vice versa. As your child begins to see that the signs help them to express their point, they will ordinarily become excited and motivated to learn more words, both spoken words and signs.
Benefits of Learning Sign Language
Learning sign language can help babies and toddlers to gain confidence as they are able to express themselves. Some of the feelings of anger and frustration that they may feel when they are not able to effectively communicate can be avoided and mitigated, which can help to avoid future anger issues. When doing sign language together, parents and children also look into each others’ eyes to understand the message, which can encourage bonding and help children to more clearly communicate with others, looking them in the eye as they learn to speak.
Communication is a central part of child development. Children must learn to communicate in order to express needs, tell teachers the correct answers to problems, and develop social relationships with other children. Adding the option of sign language can help them to more easily participate in these types of activities.