Communication can be difficult for hearing-impaired children. This is why learning ASL (American Sign Language) can help them. It can also be beneficial for parents considering that more than 90% of deaf children are born to parents who can hear. But, statistics show that 75% of parents who have deaf children can’t sign fluently.
There are many reasons why this is the case. We’re going to take a look at some of those as well as how parents can learn ASL.
Why Aren’t Parents of Deaf Children Learning Sign Language?
Some Fear Their Children Will Not Speak
While learning ASL can help parents communicate better with their children, some parents may fear that their children won’t try to learn to speak. But, learning ASL doesn’t have to be an “either-or” situation when it comes to speech development. Children can still work on their speaking skills even if their parents know how to sign. The two can work hand-in-hand to achieve better communication all-around.
Makes the Condition Real
Learning that your child is deaf can be difficult to handle. Some parents feel that learning to sign solidifies the condition and this is difficult to accept. By learning ASL, some parents feel that they have given up on looking at other possible treatments. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Parents can learn how to sign and still seek other possible treatments for their children. Learning ASL is actually helping everyone because it allows the entire household to communicate.
Some May Think It’s Too Hard
Learning a new concept can be difficult as an adult. While there may be a learning curve for some, it’s well worth it. Children who have already learned ASL may even be able to help their parents as they begin. This is a great way for parents and children to spend time together while parents learn ASL.
Some May Think They’re Communicating Well Enough Already
Parents may have already found ways to communicate with their children already and may feel that they don’t need ASL. But, that’s not the case because improving communication can only help hearing-impaired children. Research shows that poor communication can hurt a child’s performance at school and lead to problems at home. By learning ASL, parents can help to prevent these types of issues.
Some May Think They Don’t Have the Time
We’re all busy these days, but learning sign language is important if you have a hearing-impaired child. When learning ASL, you can start in short intervals and build your skills as you go along. Many available tools make it easy to fit learning ASL into your schedule.
Tips for Parents Learning ASL
Learning ASL can be easy when you have the help of some handy tools. Many available resources make it easy and convenient for parents to learn ASL. These include:
- Books at your Local Library
- Free apps and websites
- Local Events
Learning ASL is like learning any other language. You need to be proactive and practice. You may also want to reach out to organizations such as the National Association of the Deaf and the American Society of Deaf Children for resources and possible local events that can help you learn ASL and bring you and your child closer together. There is plenty of help available to help you and your child communicate.
ASL at Rock and Roll Daycare
At our Huron Village location at Rock and Roll Daycare, we believe that teaching sign language to all children is important. This is why we implement it in much of our curriculum.
Currently, students are learning about Jamaica and its culture. This includes lessons about music, food, as well as Jamaican stories.
Students at our Huron Village location are using our Jamaican Heritage Curriculum Guide. This contains lyrics to Jamaican songs as well as how to sign them. Research shows that learning sign language can help all children, not only those who are deaf. It can help with reasoning and language skills. Studies also show these benefits:
- Larger vocabulary
- Better reading skills
- Increased IQ scores
- Reinforcement of learning basics like ABC’s
The guide includes clear illustrations that are easy to follow as they show children how to sign the different words that are in the songs. Children can practice the words and then try to sign along with them. They may enjoy it so much that they’ll want to learn more sign language words that are not part of the song.
The great thing about these types of sign language aides is that parents can also take part and learn the words. This can help parents get started on their ASL journey. It can serve as a learning tool and help to bring children and parents together if they choose to learn some of these words at home.
Children at our Huron Village location and all of our other locations can take advantage of learning sign language as part of many of our curriculum guides. This helps children continue the learning process and gives parents ample opportunity to try it as well.
If you’ve learned sign language and have some tips for parents starting out, please share them in the comments below!