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Consider Teaching ASL To Your Children

American Sign Language (ASL) gained popularity over the past decade as more parents identified it as a great way to communicate with babies and young children before they master verbal language skills. Expectedly, the renewed interest in ASL will continue, and more children will grow up knowing the language. Teaching young children any language has lots of benefits, but sign language is a universal language that can be used throughout a child’s life. Not only does it open more avenues for communication, it improves confidence and makes future learning of other languages easier.

A great way to teach children ASL is by using flash cards. Each card can hold a different letter of the alphabet or word on one side and the sign for it on the other. There are also cards that have pictures of an object or action on one side and the sign for it on the opposite side. The flash cards make for a variety of games that change learning from drudgery to fun, especially when played with other children. It’s not hard to find resources either. You can buy flash cards, make your own with unlined index cards or download for free online.

ASL is a very visual language, involving body movements and facial expressions. When a child captures the basic language structure, they should progress further and learn conversational signing. There is a multitude of videos online available to watch for free or to purchase. There are also plenty of books available for every age group from babies to teenagers.

All humans absorb knowledge utilizing three types of learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Children start with a clean slate and utilize all three styles until they find the one that works best for them. With that in mind, let’s recap. To practice all styles, you should utilize flash cards and gestures for visual learning, say the letter or words out loud to support auditory learning and have the child perform the sign to enforce kinesthetic learning. Play around with different ways of learning to see what suits your child best. After some time at this, you will recognize their dominant style of learning and should continue teaching in accordance with their preference.

Check out signbabysign.org for some great information about American Sign Language training.

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