Why are we unique?
American Sign Language is a linguistically complete, natural language used nationwide by approximately 500,000 people.
Sign language is not only the primary means of communication among the Deaf community. Sign language has been used as a useful tool with special needs children for many years. In most cases, signing has been used as an adjunct to speech therapy or as a syntax emphasis within the classroom. Typically, these therapists and teachers learn a few signs with which to augment communication. Through my observations, their efforts are noteworthy yet often inconsistent and incorrect.
As an educator who has been communicating fluently in American Sign Language for over a decade, this program stands apart. Special Signers offers complete exposure to sign language as a whole interactive system, rather than piecemeal elements. Over 300 signs are integrated into the lessons. Entire grammatical aspects of sign language are introduced and continually reinforced. In addition, this program incorporates vital facets of manual communication that open the doors to language processing, including: facial expressions, body orientation, spatial recognition and emphasis through varied intensity.
Special Signers subscribes to the philosophy of “Total Communication,” utilizing signs in direct conjunction with the spoken word. However, there is absolutely no emphasis on the student’s expressive speaking skills. With the elimination of this inherent pressure, each lesson is at ease, focusing exclusively on the acquisition of sign language.
Finally, the program is designed to provide natural exposure to manual communication – through play, manipulatives, interactive games and real-life scenarios. Within the lesson, parents and caregivers are as much the student, as the child. It is crucial that the primary person interacting with the child be equipped with the skills to reinforce the lessons at home.