Signing contributes to the development of receptive language skills – the ability to understand what is being communicated. For children with receptive language disorders, parents and therapist must help children connect the printed words, spoken words, signs and pictures with their meanings.
Children learn best when their senses are engaged, by doing and experiencing life. By adding Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL) to a child’s communication options, you are giving them the opportunity to hear the word (when
spoken), see the word (on both the lips and hands) and “do” the word by signing it.
This multi-sensory form of communication helps children acquire vocabulary more quickly and efficiently.
Additionally, signing is also useful for helping children develop expressive language- the ability to effectively communicate thoughts and feelings to others. This is especially helpful for children who have good receptive language skills and can formulate their thoughts, but lack the oral skills to speak clearly.
A child may choose to mix signs and spoken words to form their phrases. With sign language, children can overcome barriers to spoken language and successfully communicate their thought and feelings. This success gives them a sense of empowerment, which can lead to increased self- esteem and confidence.
My signing Time. (n.d.). In K. F. Abbey S. Cook MS, Using Signing Time with Children in speech and Language Therapy (p. 4). Two little hands productions.