The Southern California Augmentative and Alternative Communication Network... a support group for professional development, problem solving, leadership, mentoring, and training in the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to develop communication in non-speaking and minimally verbal individuals in the Southern California Region.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Signs of the Week - Giving Choices

Wherever you are, sign language is a great visual/gestural supplement to your verbal questions, comments, and commands. 

Signs are always 'at your fingertips' and available to you even when:
  • you don’t have time to find that picture card
  • your ability to draw a picture to increase understanding leaves something to be desired
  • the abstract concept you're attempting to communicate is not a 'picture-producer' (fails to communicate more meaning than the spoken word itself). For example, the movement inherent in the ASL sign for WHICH demonstrates the concept of choosing between two items more so than the PCS symbol.
At Villa Esperanza Services' Non-Public School, our staff are making an effort to add 100+ new signs to our expressive vocabulary this school year in order to increase our students' understanding of what is said to them throughout the day.  We hope you'll join us in visually supporting your communication through the addition of American Sign Language to your speech!

Sign graphics used without permission (but for an educational purpose!) from:

Wurm, T. (1986). Teaching sight words with sign language. The Reading Teacher, 39(7), 744–745.
  • Sign language increases sight word acquisition because it involves multiple modalities: kinesthetic, visual, and auditory.
  • Sign language links abstract concepts with pictorial symbols to increase schema for vocabulary acquisition.
  • Sign language is visual, engaging, and interactive.
Hafer, J., & Wilson, R. (1986). Signing for reading success. Washington, DC: Kendall Green.
Learning vocabulary, especially sight vocabulary, can be enhanced by using sign language as part of the reading process.

Gardner, Howard. 1993. Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice. Basic Books.
Learning is enhanced when more than one modality is incorporated in the learning task.
- Post by Gwendolyn Meier, SLP, MT
Director of Speech & Language at Villa Esperanza Services

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