Teaching ASL Sign Language to Children: Homeschool Resources

September 27, 2012

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What is this little cutie pie saying with sign language?

He’s making the sign for “full”.  He’s too full to finish his oatmeal.

In his other hand?  Oh, that’s a piece of toast drenched in sugar and cinnamon he just got from one of his brothers.


I’m glad the sign language we taught him as a baby is paying off:

If you haven’t played around with young children and sign language, they pick it up very easily and it comes in handy when they can’t speak yet and get frustrated trying to communicate with you.

And if you have a child reluctant to learn a foreign language, they’ll often get excited about “speaking with their hands.”

Here are some of our favorite ASL resources:

  • Pick up a Baby Signs book full of easy to learn, simple signs, to help the youngest in the family make their wishes known.
  • A.S.L.U – a website with full online ASL courses complete with outlines, video, and self-testing.
  • Signing Time video series – We first saw this excellent series on PBS and it’s now available on DVD.  The kids will come in from other rooms and join in watching and signing.


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Posted under Foreign Languages


2 Comments so far

  1. docmisty October 6, 2012 10:58 am

    Good question, Jenny.

    I think I noticed the opposite. The best time simple ASL worked for me, was in that stage where the babies know what they want, but they can’t form and speak the words. They get really frustrated pointing and grunting while you guess what they want. Being able to tell you in one ‘word’ (sign) that they are hungry, thirsty, tired, want to go ‘outside’, all ‘done’ eating, play, etc. seemed to be liberating.

    But, as with anything, each kid is different. Like how I figured I was a pro after potty training four very different kids, but number five wouldn’t go along with any of the 100 methods that had worked before 🙂

    In general, though, kids have the desire and mental ability to speak before their vocal development is ready, so sign language helps fill in the gaps then.

    Good luck – let me know how it works out.


  2. Jenny October 5, 2012 4:42 pm

    Have you noticed any unwillingness (especially in baby boys) to learn how to speak after learning “baby sign language”? I had an interest in ASL as a kid; my fiance has expressed an interest in learning it to aid his ministry; and I’ve heard a lot of positive things about teaching it to babies. So I’ve been thinking about trying it when we start having kids. However, I’m concerned that it might slow down the speech development process. My baby brother didn’t bother learning how to talk for years because he got away with grunts and pointing.

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