Using Sign Language to Help People with Autism Communicate

Autism & Sign LanguageOver 30 years of research has shown that nonverbal people with autism can learn to communicate with sign language. Many autistic children respond well to sign language because it's visually based and provides a mode of quick communication. Research also shows that it may actually help nonverbal people to become verbal.

Some of the advantages of using sign language include, it's inexpensive, portable, a true language system, and communication can take place quickly. It can help reduce negative behaviors such as tantrums, aggression or self injury which are often a result of being unable to communicate a want or need. Also, by providing a form of communication you increase the opportunity for social interaction. Read More
Remember that sign language and verbal communication can be taught simultaneously. Some believe that using signed words may help children with autism to become more verbal because the signs act as visual prompts for spoken words. It can be an incredible tool that can increase communication, independence, and academic achievement for people on the spectrum.

References

Bonvillian, J., Nelson, K & Rhune, J (1981) Sign language and autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 11, 125-137
Carr, E. & Kologinsky, E. (1983). Acquisition of sign language by autistic children II: Spontaneity and generalized effects. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 16(3), 297-314.
Mirenda, P. (2003) Toward functional augmentative and alternative communication for students with autism: Sign Language, graphic symbols, and voice output communication aids. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 34, 203-216.
National Research Council (2001). Educating children with autism. Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism. Catherine Lord and James McGee (Eds). Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington DC: National Academy Press.
Remington, B. & Clarke, S. (1983). Acquisition of expressive signing by autistic children: an evaluation of the relative effects of simultaneous communication and sign along training. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 16 (3), 315-328.
Tincani, M (2004). Comparing the Picture Exchange communication System and sign language training for children with autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Studies, 9, 152-163.
Helpful Products
Autism Sign to Speak Set
Price: $79.95
Sign Language Fun in the Early Childhood Classroom
Price: $11.95
Sing, Sign, & Learn!
Price: $10.95
Sign Language Picture Cards
Price: $10.99
Sign Language & Braille
Price: $9.95
Family, Feelings & Fun Flash Card Set
Price: $10.99
My First Signs Book
Price: $12.99
Everyday Signs Book
Price: $12.99
Sign Language Flash Cards
Price: $7.49
Family, Feelings & Fun Book
Price: $12.99
SENSEsational Alphabet Touch and Feel Picture Cards
Price: $14.95
ABC Signs Book
Price: $12.99
Baby Buzz'r
Price: $10.99
Baby Signing Time Vol. 1 Bundle
Price: $39.95
Baby Signing Time! Let's Be Friends Bundle
Price: $39.95
Baby Signing Time! Here I Go Bundle
Price: $39.95
Baby Signing Time! Let's Be Friends Bundle
Price: $39.95
My Favorite Things Book
Price: $12.99
Playtime Signs Book
Price: $12.99
Signing Time Music CD Vol. 8-13
Price: $9.99
Signing Time Music CD Vol. 1-7
Price: $9.99
My Favorite Things Flash Card Set
Price: $10.99
Signing Time! Who Has the Frog? DVD
Price: $19.99
Signing Time! Time To Eat DVD
Price: $19.99
Signing Time! Box of Crayons DVD
Price: $19.99
Signing Time! Once Upon A Time DVD
Price: $19.99
Signing Time! Helping Out Around the House DVD
Price: $19.99
Signing Time! My House DVD
Price: $19.99
Signing Time! My Favorite Sport DVD
Price: $19.95
Signing Time! Days of the Week DVD
Price: $19.95
Signing Time! Going Outside DVD
Price: $19.95
Signing Time! My Favorite Season DVD
Price: $19.95
Signing Time! Family, Feelings & Fun DVD
Price: $19.95
Signing Time! Move and Groove DVD
Price: $19.99
Signing Time! Happy Birthday To You DVD
Price: $19.95
Signing Time! Nice to Meet You DVD
Price: $19.95
Sign and Sing Along: Itsy Bitsy Spider
Price: $4.99
Sign Up for Our Newsletter