Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 8: Learning to use a sign language
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It is easy for a young child to learn a complete sign language. A child will first begin to understand the signs that others use, especially for people and things that she sees every day. After she begins to use signs that are important to her, she will learn and use many others.
Each sign will help your child learn more about the world around her. As her language skills develop, she will begin to put signs together. After a while she will be able to sign in full sentences. This will also help her develop her mind. If you and your child enjoy learning sign language together, you will get better results.
The best way for you and your family to learn the sign language used in your area is to have a deaf person who uses it teach you. See Chapter 3 for guidelines on how to teach your child language. Here is more information on how deaf adults can help the community learn sign language.
If there is no one who can teach sign language, there may be a book to learn some signs to use with your child. But learning sign language from a book is harder and less effective than learning
from a person.
|In this chapter, we show people using signs, and we also show how signs can be put|
together to make sign sentences, like this:
|One picture by itself does not show all of the signs in a sentence.||
|We sometimes show the signs that make up a sentence in boxes that you read from top to bottom.|
How to help your child understand new signs
A child first learns the signs for things and people that are important to her. So notice who or what your child is interested in. To help a child learn her first signs:
Does she respond in any way that
shows she understood? If so, praise
her. If she does not respond, repeat
the sign a few more times.
chair. For Papa.
Try to be patient. It may take your child some time to learn her first signs.