Monday, April 29, 2013

How sign language can benefit a therapy session. Read our Guest Post from Jessica of Figuratively Speeching

Today we have a great guest post from Jessica from Figuratively Speeching. I wanted to hear how other SLPs are able to use sign language in their practice and therapy... new perspective.

As an SLP, one of my major goals is to improve a child’s ability to communicate through functional means, which is not only through verbal communication. Functional communication allows children to get their messages across using spoken words, printed words, gestures, sign language or through accessing a communication device. 

I incorporate sign language every day with my students, whether they are in Early Intervention, preschool, or are school age. Signs are wonderful to use as visual cues to assist students in staying on task, help with following directions, requesting and when questioning students during activities. They also help build vocabulary in nonverbal or minimally verbal children, as well as provide cues to assist in recall of newly learned vocabulary in older children. Children learn best when multiple senses are engaged and experiencing life. By adding sign language to a child’s communication options, you are giving them the opportunity to hear the word (when it is spoken), see the word (when watching it spoken, as well as signed) and perform the word by signing it. This multi-sensory form of communication helps children acquire vocabulary more quickly and ef´Čüciently. One of my Life Skills students is working with preschool children, and she is interested in teaching them how to communicate through sign language, so we practice once weekly. When going into homes for Early Intervention, I bring articles about the benefits of sign language. Here is one handout from United Way.

This next one is from Super Duper’s Handy Handouts:
Encouraging Spoken Language Through Signs

Finally, here is a link to a page with more than 90 common signs for children that I share with parents to assist in carryover. What is wonderful about this site is that each sign has its own video, and the instructor explains what to do while she signs: 

Most parents are receptive to having their children learn sign. It is amazing to see how easily they pick up sign. 

 I had the opportunity to use the March ASL packet from Hear My Hands last month (click here). Here is a collage with some of the included activities: I have to say that I love Signing Simon (that adorable boy in the blue shirt)! 

 The graphics are wonderful and clear, and the packet encompassed vocabulary that I used throughout the month of March. I loved that there were receptive and expressive language tasks. By the end of the month, my students were able to identify and use most of the signs from the packet. 

 Not only do I teach my students sign, but I also teach basic signs to their teachers. The teachers can then incorporate the signs as visual cues to gain attention, and use as “secret” signals to my students. My students love these signals, because it helps them focus, and provides a nonverbal cue that does not call attention to them. I hope you will try to incorporate some sign language into your speech sessions. It is something different to do, and fun to learn for everyone!

Thank you Jessica. Don't forget to check our her blog (click hereand show her some Facebook love (here!

Jessica wrote about some hand outs to give to parents .. great ideas! Don't forget to check out our Tips and Games page for some great posts on benefits!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

sign: GAME! I'm excited to get more GAMES!

Today's sign is GAME!


It's time for The Best Dressed for Less sale! While they have everything known to man for mommies-to-be, newborns all the way to children ages clothes and gear/gadgets, I love getting my therapy and class materials!

Here's one of my many shelves full of games and toys bought at the great semi-annual sale! Their prices are great (which helps me being a traveling therapist to fill my various shelves in my numerous locations). My sign language students also don't mind all the great finds ;)

consignment sale south jerseyFor all those who live in South Jersey and Philadelphia, you really must check it out! It's next week! May 3-5th in Burlington, NJ and I'm so excited! Here's their site:

So what seemed appropriate was the sign GAME. I even got one of my students to sign it as we just finished playing one of the many games I have bought there last fall!
ASL for game

Saturday, April 20, 2013

sign: CLEAN (good for Earth Day and it's a new sign for Little Fingers)

Appropriate for Earth Day Monday!
compliments of

sign: CLEAN
(It's also a new sign for Lil. We use this while singing the "Clean Up' song.)
sign for clean
compliments of Sign2Me
**Please note: the signs CLEAN and NICE are the same handshapes, but the movement is different. I always say, think of your hand sweeping the dirty away in the sign CLEAN (so the motion repeats a couple times).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

4 Ways We Incorporate Signing with Music...

music and sign language
Yesterday we did the sign for MUSIC (click here) ...

Now we talk about FOUR great ways to incorporate sign language with MUSIC
  • Sing songs before, during, and after familiar everyday routine such as diapering, toileting, eating, sleeping, waking, bathing, and cleaning up.  Create your own songs or borrow from popular CD’s.
  • Add signs to favorite songs such as "Happy and You Know It" (emotions), "Old MacDonald" (animals), and so on ...
  • Play instruments and learn GO, STOP, LOUD, SOFT, FAST, SLOW
  • Play the 'freeze' (or 'Red Light') game while music plays in the background and encourage movement and signs like DANCE, JUMP, RUN, WALK, and then of course STOP and GO for the music.
Signing with music can be lots of fun

How do you sign with music? 

signing with music

Monday, April 15, 2013

sign: MUSIC (Little Fingers' next new sign)

Little Fingers likes to bang on her new drum set she got for her birthday. She's always liked jammin' out on her piano keyboard and Elmo guitar. Couple weeks ago, it dawned on me that I didn't teach her the sign for MUSIC! 

Next up - the sign for MUSIC!
ASL for music

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

sign: SHORTS - it's hot here!

Today is the first day of true SHORTS weather! Record highs here in New Jersey! What about where you live? 
ASL for shorts

Miss Little Fingers even played in the sprinkler today!


Friday, April 5, 2013

sign: BIG (for tomorrow's BIG day)

birthday cake
Tomorrow's the BIG day for Miss Little Fingers. We're finally celebrating her birthday (it was last month - yikes! The new baby impeded on those plans a little but we're still going to celebrate!).

Sign: BIG
ASL for big

Last year I talked a lot about different birthday signs such as 
BIRTHDAY (with a few different variations)
                                      Go check them out! :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

sign: DUCK .. Little Fingers' newest sign

Yesterday (on Easter), Little Fingers received a Duck stuffed animal. She knew the word 'duck,' which I accredit all of her books, but my husband and I were just talking about how we need to keep up with her signs as we started slacking with the new baby here the past 4 weeks. We've been a little pre-occupied you could say! So I looked at it as the perfect opportunity, signed DUCK and Ta-Da! She signed DUCK and remembered the sign a few minutes later! Score! Another sign down :)

Sign: DUCK
ASL for duck

What did the Easter bunny bring your children? (Mom mom's Easter bunny gave her the DUCK)

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