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Would signing systems be helpful or not for people with speech and language difficulties?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Chrysanthemum, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum Active Member

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    Do you think signing systems/sign languages such as Makaton signs, Paget Gorman Sign System, Signing Exact English, ASL, BSL etc would be helpful or not for children and adults with speech and/or language difficulties (including children and adults with or without an Autism Spectrum Disorder)? Do you think it could help facilitate spoken language or not? Do you think that signing systems would be more in facilitating spoken language if it exactly or very closely resembled spoken language order/grammar or do you think otherwise?

    This question came to mind because it is my impression that many (not all) children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder have speech and language delays or speech and language difficulties, and because I also had a language delay and some difficulties with speech in the past; and because I know signing systems are sometimes used with children with speech and language difficulties.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
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  2. Xerces Blue

    Xerces Blue Evil Overload

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    I work in manufacturing, It's loud.
    My co-workers and I often use hand signals to communicate about common tasks and information.
    I need help moving this and where, It's break time etc.
    Hand signals are great but only when everyone involved knows the signals.
    I use the hand signals for acting as a ground guide I learned in the military, my co-workers get the generic signals but they don't know the more complex ones - Side shift your load, raise or lower the load etc.
     
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  3. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    Makaton is already commonly used with non-speaking autistic people as are AAC devices.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
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  4. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    My ASD3 daughter tried a number of "systems" in high school to no avail. We sign a few single words, but no sentences.

    It really depends on WHY the person is non-verbal.

    If it is just due to brain damage in their speech centers, they will find alternate ways to communicate.

    In cases like my daughter, she failed to develop neurologically past 18mos. That condition is known as "preliteracy."
     
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  5. Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum Active Member

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    Thanks for sharing.

    Does your daughter understand the signs and can she sign a few words herself?Personally I think if it leads to better comprehension or some ability to communicate, signing or even just gesturing a few words is better than nothing.

    However, I could also see how AAC devices could be useful if one has difficulty in verbal communication (in being able to use words to say what one wants or in their pronunciation) because the communication may be more understandable to a wider range of people (since many people don’t know sign language).
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2019
  6. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    She does so consistent with an 18mo.
     
  7. Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum Active Member

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    Thanks everyone for sharing.

    Do you think that writing, typing or other forms of written communication such as eye tracking communication (if one is
    unable to write or type) should be attempted to be taught to children aged maybe 6 or 7+ and also the alphabet to younger children, and whether or not it should also be taught to children and adults who have limited or no spoken language skills (because while I am by no means a professional, my theory is that one can’t really know whether a child or adult is able to learn to use written communication unless it has been taught to them for an extensive period of time)?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  8. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member

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    You may need to first ask yourself if the six or seven year old could use any given method independently to communicate.

    Any other methods; in place of verbal, used as a way to communicate is, I think, an excellent idea,
    but does the child needs to be capable of learning what it means and would those they communicate with also need to understand?

    perhaps considering If anxiety introduced stimming (hands) into signing,
    everyone involved needs to be able to understand what's happening.

    also considering the varying emotional development of six or seven year olds.
    - if the child doesn't know how to articulate what they're feeling I don't suppose they could convey that.
    (If the words aren't there they may struggle with any formal, recognised method) ?
     
  9. Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum Active Member

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    Thanks for your points. I agree with some of them and they provide some insight, for example that it’d be important for those who interact daily or frequently with the person to know what they are communicating, and the fact that the emotional development of children varies. However, I disagree that not being able yet to communicate using spoken language equates to not yet being able to communicate using any formal or recognized method (such as signing, picture exchange communication system or Makaton, typing etc).

    May I ask what do you mean by “if the child doesn't know how to articulate what they're feeling I don't suppose they could convey that“? Writing from the perspective of someone who had significant language delay (actually when I was 4 years old I had/was diagnosed with severe expressive language delay and moderate receptive language delay), personally I don’t think that a child (or adult) having difficulty to know or articulate what they are feeling in words means they can’t express what they think or feel in sign even if they still have difficulty knowing what they feel; first of all, I don’t understand how knowing what one feels or being able to articulate how one is feeling necessarily equates to knowing how to express one’s needs and desires, and second, from what I know about infants and toddlers through reading online articles and having interacted with infants, toddlers and young children I do not believe that the expressive language development level of a child or adult is necessarily indicative of their receptive language development level. Also, even if a child isn’t yet able to understand what a certain word, sign or symbol means, they may eventually learn (like babies may not initially understand what a certain word means but it doesn’t mean they will never learnt its meaning). I do think though that if there are receptive language difficulties in a child or adult though one needs to take that into consideration.

    My thinking is that communication is a basic need and that a child needs to be provided with tools that best help him or her to learn how to communicate, and skills that are currently severely delayed in a child or teenager does not necessarily mean that those skills will always be severely or even at all delayed (they may be but how do we know especially in a young person?) Personally I think a six or seven year old is still very young and that improvement in a six or seven year old’s development is very possible. However I mentioned six or seven year olds because I had the impression that about age six is when many children start to learn to write, although I agree that perhaps it might be reasonable for a six or seven year old to only learn to write the words he or she has already learnt to speak, write or understand but after a certain age if spoken language is still limited perhaps writing or typing development if possible may be even more important (just some thoughts that came into mind; I am not intending to give advice because I am not a professional).
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  10. Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum Active Member

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    If signing systems or sign languages are taught to children, teenagers and adults with speech or language difficulties and/or an autism spectrum disorder, when taught a signing system or sign language do you think they should be taught the grammar of the sign language, or instead taught to sign according to the grammar of their spoken language of the official language of their country (e.g. English)?

    If according to the grammar of their spoken language of the official language of their country, do you think a child or teenager with speech or language difficulties and/or an autism spectrum disorder should be taught sign separately from speech (i.e. teaching a child both sign and speech, but signing to the child without talking and talking to the child without signing) or taught speech and sign simultaneously (i.e. saying and signing a word at the same time to the child, following the grammar of the spoken language)?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
  11. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    IIRC, American Sign Language (AmSiLan) follows a more French syntax (sentence structure).
     
  12. Chrysanthemum

    Chrysanthemum Active Member

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    Thanks.

    I meant should children be taught the grammar of the sign language (e.g. the ASL grammar if taught ASL signs) or should they be taught sign in a way that follows the spoken language order (e.g. signing to the child with ASL signs but English word order)?

    Also if taught sign in the word order of the spoken language, should children be communicated to using simultaneous communication (i.e. signing and talking the same word to the child at the same time) or signed to separately from being spoken to and spoken to separately from being signed to (i.e. communicating to a child with both sign and speech, but not talking when signing to the child and not signing when talking to the child - without communicating to the child using simultaneous communication)?
     
  13. Rabscuttle

    Rabscuttle Member

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    I'd imagine that'd depend on what you're trying to do. Is the goal to get them fluent in ASL, to get them to follow spoken conversation, or just to be able to communicate at all?
     
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