The Benefits Of ASL For Your Child

May 1, 2023
The Benefits Of ASL For Your Child

From hearing to processing sounds to palate development, language skills flourish by expressing wants and needs, repetition and the use of American Sign Language (ASL). This reduces pre-verbal frustration by closing the gap between their desire and ability to communicate while having their needs understood. 

What is ASL? ASL is an organized visual language that serves as the sign language for hard of hearing individuals in the U.S. and most of Canada. It is both a visual and gestural language. Visual refers to the use of body movements and facial expressions instead of sound and gestural refers to ‚Äúsigns'' that are observed to convey various messages. 

How old does my child have to be in order to begin learning ASL? ASL can be taught as early as 6 months, but is generally introduced between 6 to 9 months of age. During this time frame, infants will typically use their first sign.

What if my child is not hard of hearing? Is ASL still useful for my child? ABSOLUTELY! Research has shown that sign language not only helps hearing children develop their reasoning and language skills, but also reduces preverbal frustration levels by allowing infants to express their thoughts and desires before they know how to talk, therefore reducing negative social behaviors, such as hitting or biting. In addition, this communication tool allows the opportunity for parents to bond in productive ways with their child. This can lead to bridging the communication gap and building a stronger trust and understanding in their relationship. ASL also helps to increase vocabulary, verbal, and spelling skills. When toddlers learn how to finger spell, it offers them another tool to help them remember how to spell words by pulling apart the words into sounds and associating the sound of a letter to its written form.

How does Lightbridge Academy utilize ASL? At Lightbridge Academy, our proprietary Seedlings Early Childhood Education Curriculum includes an enrichment program called Signing Sprouts. This program provides numerous videos about ASL to support at-home learning. Lightbridge Academy incorporates ASL in the classroom on a daily basis, allowing your child to express their wants and needs effectively. Parents can also receive information on what their child is learning through the Peek-of-the-Week on the Lightbridge Journey App.