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Behind the Signs

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

I became interested in Sign Language when I was 7 or 8 years old. We would go over to my aunt and uncles house, and in their basement they had a sign language dictionary. I would spend so much time flipping through it, trying to teach my self the alphabet or words. Flash forward to high school, my friend's brother has autism, and their mom was looking for someone to tutor him. Since I was heading in to the Early Childhood Educator field, I was quick to volunteer. One of the things she taught me was how beneficial sign language could be in situations to help children who have autism. I was excited to learn from her that Conestoga College offered a ASL course and signed up right away. I graduated from the certificate course in 2015 and being in the ECE field, and in the raising of my own children I have used Baby Sign to support their learning.

Long before babies can speak, they have the ability to understand language. The part of the brain that is used for speech actually develops slower than the part of the brain used for sign language. According to experts - brain experts that is - the left hemisphere is deemed as the verbal hemisphere and the right hemisphere is deemed responsible for spatial tasks. It is important to note that some research has found overlap between the right and left hemisphere in both spoken and signed language.

(Combined ASL sign for teacher)

Muscles used for signing are developed faster than the muscles used for speech.

Motor skills develop as follows:

  • Palmar hand grasp begins at newborn

  • Controlling hands and feet at three months

  • Grasping blocks at five months

Language skills develop as follows:

  • Making vowel sounds around four months

  • Babbles around six to nine months

  • Imitating sounds around nine to twelve months

Thanks for checking out the first blog post!

Until next time, Happy Learning!

<3 Miss Jamie

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