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May 2008
   
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 Welcome

Hello and welcome to the 3rd Edition of the KinderSigns News!

It is hard to believe the school year is coming to come to an end and a few months of bored kids is about to be underway! For those with kids, I hope you have plans that will keep them busy and not pull too much money out of your pockets!

As you know, the sun is already scorching- keep the kids (as well as yourselves) hydrated and protected with sunscreen and make them take plenty of ‘shaded’ breaks if they are playing outside. Unfortunately many children do not realize the importance of drinking water and applying and re-applying sunscreen as often as possible. Have a fun and be safe!

In the Newsletter this month:
Article
Featured Instructor
Instructors Corner
KinderSigns around the World
Baby and Child Signs
Success Story
Become a Kindersigns Instructor
   
 Article

Using Sign Language with an Autistic Child

In recent times a growing interest has been directed to teaching sign language to autistic children who have failed to develop speech. Sign language is a language which relies on movements of hands, arms or body and facial expressions in order to communicate. This is commonly used by deaf people or hard of hearing people. But it is also becoming popularly used by other sectors, especially hearing non verbal children who suffer from down syndrome, trauma, autism, cerebral palsy, brain disorders and speech disorders. More and more parents now rely on sign language as a mode of quick communication particularly with their children who suffer with short attention spans or limited language capabilities.

Autism is a brain development disorder which results in damage to social skills, language and behavior. This disorder causes restricted and repetitive behavior which can be identified during infancy or childhood years. Autism affects many parts of the brain and parents are able to notice signs in the first few years of their child’s life. One of the main questions arising with regard to an autistic child would be whether he/she is ever able to develop speech. According to recent research it is conveyed that with appropriate interventions there is a possibility that children with autism can learn to talk. There are several ways to help autistic children to talk. And the most popular way is to teach speech through the utilization of sign language. 

Researchers suggest that the use of sign language increases the chances of autistic children learning the spoken language. In addition it also provides children with an alternative mode of communication. It is easy for parents or caregivers to learn sign language and utilize it while interacting with an autistic child. Also it is found that autistic children are able to learn signing successfully. Some reasons for this are that signs can be physically guided unlike speech, signs can be frozen in time in order for the child to process it, sign language is more iconic than speech, individual signs can be easily grasped and it is believed that signing is processed in the right hemisphere of the brain. Since research has shown there may be differential disturbance of left hemisphere brain functions in autistic children this might be another reason why signing is easier for them to learn.   

Teaching sign language to the child would provide him/her with a way of expressing his/her needs in a manner which is more socially accepted and easily understood. Due to this the child would experience less frustration. Also an increase in social awareness and decrease in tantrums due to frustration will follow with the ability to communicate. Another more crucial advantage in teaching sign language is that it would lessen some of the learning problems that autistic children face. It is believed that through acquiring sign language early on, the child is able to build up cognitive structures which are the basis for later learning. 

As a parent or caregiver, there are many benefits for you in utilizing sign language with an autistic child. You would be able to enjoy a more interactive experience with your child as well as decrease the anxiety you face when communicating. Also you would have a chance to experience a much closer bond with your child.

Kindersigns.com Management

 
 Featured Instructor

This month’s Featured Instructor is Edwin Rihn!

When did you decide you wanted to teach baby sign language?
After seeing it mentioned on a morning TV program and reading more on the subject about how important it is to be hands-on and interactive with babies as early as possible. 

When and how did you get started teaching baby sign language?
After searching the web and looking at the many companies that instruct baby sign language and deciding that kindersigns offers the easiest and most fun ways to teach baby sign language.

What is the most important thing/lesson you have learned working with children?
Parents need to be as involved with their children as possible and the children want that attention.
What are your inspirations?
To get the word out to as many people as possible and to be a leader of my community in doing that to possibly make a difference in parents and children’s lives.

Any news that you would like to share with us?
I am going to contact my local newspaper and some local groups to share the baby signing benefits.

A bit about Edwin:
I am from Greenfield Indiana, married, father, grandfather-- wanting to help!
You can contact Edwin and visit his web site at:
http://kinderworkshops.com/babiescantalk.html
susan.rihn@gte.net
 
From everyone at Kindersigns.com, we wish you the greatest success with your Baby Sign Language Business, Edwin!

If you would like to be our next Featured Instructor send me an email to jamie@kindersigns.com with Featured Instructor in the subject line. Our Featured Instructors will be presented in the monthly Kindersigns newsletter and on www.kinderworkshops.com for one month!

 
 Instructors Corner

During the summer, you should market yourself as much as possible. With things slowing down for many parents, there will be more time for those with small children to inquire more about the sign language program. I will be posting more about some marketing ideas in the forum. Be sure to check it out!

Just a reminder the new Kindersigns Forum is up and running. You will need to register an account first. You will find the link in your KinderSigns Instructors kit page.

The forum will be a great place to get advice, share ideas and network with other instructors! Please join in, introduce yourselves, and create some topics and post!

 
 Kindersigns around the World

We want to hear from you! We want to know what part of the world you are from and how Kindersigns has helped you, your baby or students. Send me an email at jamie@kindersigns.com with ‘Kindersigns World’ in the subject line. Please include your name, email, web site URL if you have one, what Country you are from and how you have adapted Kindersigns as a parent or Instructor.

Please visit our Kindersigns Instructor map and place a pin on your location!

 
 Baby and Child Signs

Learn a word or two in Baby Sign Language! This month’s words are taken from the Color and Indication categories. The words are Green and Down.

The G hand shape is shook in a position that is used to indicate colors.

A natural gesture for indicating the
concept of down.

   
   

Be sure to check out next month’s issue for the new signs!

 
 Success Stories

Are you a Kindersigns Instructor and want to share with us your success story? Please send your submissions to Jamie@kindersigns.com with ‘Kindersigns Success Story’ in the subject line.

 
 Become a Kindersigns Instructor

Want to join the largest Baby Sign Language Instructors Network in the world? We would love to have you join! With summer approaching, now is the time to get your own sign language business started! Visit www.kindersigns.com for more information!

I hope you have enjoyed this issue of the Kindersigns News!

Keep signing and making a difference in children’s lives.

Jamie Edson Opielski
Director of Operations - Kindersigns.com

 
   
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