Sign Language Helps Non-Verbal Child with Autism, Reduces Frustration and Anger

by Michael Felton
(Cadiz, KY)

A twelve year old male in my classroom with autism; was non-verbal and had several violent outbursts. He was using a PECS books; however there were not very many pictures in the book that met his needs.


We replaced the pictures in the PECS book with 4 x 6 pictures of the student signing the words of the actual thing he was wanting.

For example: the bathroom; an orange drink; french fries in the lunch room; and take a break.

We used the modified PECS and his increasing command of sign language to build his vocabulary; and his ability to communicate with everyone in the classroom and at home.

When the school year ended; he was able to complete all of his assigned tasks without prompting; and his violent outbursts had decreased by 50%.



Response from our Sign Language Team

Hi Michael!

Thank you for sharing such an amazing and inspiring story with us all!

Those were great ideas in helping him with the actual learning of individual helpful signs. Hopefully others will be able to use your ideas successfully as well.

And what you say about the signs helping to reduce tantrums is a very common story across the board.

Please feel free to visit this page at any time to add onto your experiences and to share with others simply by clicking the link below that says "Click here to add your own comments".

Here is more information on using Sign Language with babies and children who have special needs - Simply click this link!

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