Teaching sign language to hearing children is associated with many benefits, from significantly higher IQ’s to fewer tantrums and reduced parental stress.* Learning ASL can also help our kids gain empathy for non-hearing people.
Talk with your child about the deaf community: they have the same needs, wants, and abilities as anyone else, but communicate in a different way. Instead of hearing what their parents, teachers, and friends say, they use their eyes to learn and their hands to speak.
Also let your child know that some people who don’t hear may speak in a way that sounds unusual, and that’s ok.
It’s easy to start incorporating ASL into your daily interactions with your child. Start with four signs - maybe yes, no, please, and thank-you. Google “How to say yes in ASL,” and watch a quick video.
Then use those four signs throughout the week, at dinner, when you’re getting ready for school, and at other times in your day.
Next week, add four more. If your child knows the alphabet, you can learn to finger-spell; if not, stick with commonly used words for now.
Here are some free and low-cost apps and resources to make learning and teaching sign language easy: