Posted by Jill Eversmann (upcoming workshops), Speech Language Pathologist, Sign Language Instructor. Owner, SPEECH SIGNS, LLC.
1) Start with signs that motivate the child. For young children, these often revolve around food, drink and parents. Good ones to start with: Eat, Milk, Mama/Mommy, Dada/Daddy (“more” is helpful, too, but often overused. When the child is ready, teach the sign for the name of the item he/she wants)
2) Model the signs you are teaching frequently. When teaching the sign for “milk”, use the sign every time you say the word. (“Milk” “Do you want some milk” “Here’s your milk”)
3) Use hand–over-hand assistance to help the child make the sign. After helping him/her make the sign, offer praise for “asking for ___”. (if the child goes to the kitchen and is pointing to the cabinet or refrigerator, help him/her sign “eat” then say something like “good job asking for something to eat” or “oh, you said “eat”, here are some crackers”, etc.
4) Encourage vocalizing when signing with hearing children when you are using signs to encourage speech development, especially at this early, single word stage. This means that you say and sign the word and also remind the child if he/she doesn’t vocalize to “use your voice, too”
Learn more at my 6 hour workshop: “Signs for Success”
Posted by Jill Eversmann, Speech Language Pathologist, Sign Language Instructor. Owner, SPEECH SIGNS, LLC.See Jill’s Upcoming Workshops