American Sign Language (ASL) is a language that is expressed by hand and facial movements rather than verbal speech. It is used by the deaf and hard of hearing communities to communicate without sound. With signs for nearly every English word or phrase, communication via ASL is extremely effective. It is common for parents of young children to teach their babies basic sign language that helps them communicate their needs long before they can speak. While most babies are taught basic words like milk, mom, thank you, and other commonly used words in their little worlds, the benefits extend far beyond the meeting of their basic needs in infancy.
At Darlene’s Wee Care 4 Kids, our staff is fluent in ASL and offers these invaluable language skills to all of the children who attend our daycare and preschool programs. Join us in today’s post as we discuss just a few of the benefits of ASL and why we believe all children should learn it. Connect with us online to learn more about our ASL program and special needs daycare and preschool in Upper Darby.
Inclusion of the Hard of Hearing Communities
The deaf and hard of hearing communities are forced to live in silent isolation in the general public, unable to communicate with those who do not know sign language, or they are forced to attempt to adapt in a spoken world. While most people who have been deaf since birth have learned to read lips, speak, or resort to writing their needs down, it is an extremely isolating life when you cannot freely communicate when you want or need to. Like spoken English and reading and writing, when the general population knows and uses ASL, it offers inclusion to our hard of hearing or deaf community members. And, inclusion is just the right thing to do.
Babies and Those on the Spectrum Can Communicate
Non-verbal community members including young infants and those who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often find ASL particularly useful to communicate their needs despite verbal limitations and normal hearing abilities. There is strong evidence that both babies and those with ASD can quickly and efficiently learn to communicate, as ASL is not difficult to learn. When children can communicate, and those in their lives understand, it can reduce tantrums, crying, and general upset. Because they are able to communicate their needs more efficiently, young babies who know ASL are often more easy-going and calmer than their peers. When their parents understand and react by meeting their needs, it helps enhance bonding and strengthen relationships.
Build Stronger Language Skills
Research shows that even children who can hear and speak normally experience great language enhancement by learning ASL. Learning sign language can speed up speech development and enhance the connection between words and meaning, making them more effective communicators in general. Hesitance or lack of understanding words can interrupt fluency and lead to frustration. When children know ASL, they are more confident and have higher self-esteem because they are able to effectively communicate much sooner and have their needs met.
At Darlene’s Wee Care 4 Kids, we offer the same great childcare services to children with special needs including hearing issues, autism, and other developmental disabilities. Our staff is able to communicate with these and other children using ASL, and we offer ASL lessons to all of the children in our care. If you are interested in your child learning ASL while at daycare or you have a special needs child who would benefit from care providers who speak their language, contact the caring staff at Darlene’s Wee Care 4 Kids in Upper Darby today.