5 Ways for Kids to Communicate Easier with Sign Language This Summer
Summer is HERE! For most children this means a break from school and fun in the sun with long summer days playing with friends. Unfortunately, for many deaf and hard of hearing children, these weeks away from school can mean days without good communication. They will still have great summer days of play with friends and picnics with family, but often times communicating at home can be more of a struggle than at school – signing skills may not be as good at home and neighborhood children do their best, but just don’t have the knowledge or vocabulary to be very effective.
These situations happen all too often, leaving deaf children to fill in lots of blanks and they are not always able to get the whole picture. Luckily, there are some proactive things that you can do to better prepare your deaf child and their friends for communicating this summer.
Here are 5 ways for kids to communicate easier with sign language this summer:
- Talk to the neighborhood kids, ask them what they plan to do ahead of time so you can go over rules to games, or describe some of the activities to your child before sending them off to play for the day.
- Share some of the quick survival signs with your child’s playmates so that they can do some very basic communication.
- Introduce signing as something fun and interesting - a “secret” way to communicate in public, something that sets them apart from others in a positive way.
- Create some standard Signing Savvy word lists and email the links to family and friends so they can easily pick up some new vocabulary and common signs that you use.
- Encourage your child to play “teacher” and to pick a new sign of of the day everyday to use regularly and teach others. If they are already a good signer, it may be a sign they use often or a sign they really want others to learn to use. If they are still learning to sign, encourage them to pick a new sign to learn and use for the day (they can search for a sign on Signing Savvy). This will gradually introduce neighbors, friends, family, and the child to more vocabulary throughout the summer. Sign language is a beautiful language that the child can share with others and teaching others is the best way to learn and remember new signs.
Summer is a time to really enjoy the days with your child. Give them exciting and interesting experiences that they can learn from and remember forever. The only way a deaf child is able to properly remember things is to categorize their experiences into memories. Strong communication is an important part of this process.
Do you have other suggestions on how to improve communication over the summer? Share your ideas in the comments below.