Signing with Autism

by Jennifer Contreras
(Escondido, CA)

I have a two year old son who has recently been diagnosed with autism.

We're in an intense therapy program to help him and us learn about autism.

It's an incredible experience; nothing I have ever imagined in my life.

I stumbled upon sign language when we checked out a DVD from the library and it had the wrong disk in it.

My older daughter, three, loved it, and taught my son a few signs.

I noticed immediately that tantrums around meal times decreased significantly because he was now able to communicate his needs and wants.

I ran right out and got more children's signing DVDs. He now has a vocabulary of about 40 signs, 20 of which he uses consistently and spontaneously.

It's been a little difficult to learn a new language as I am teaching him but the benefits are amazing!

He's now starting to form sounds with his signs and we're hoping he will be speaking in words by the end of the year.

I strongly encourage all parents with children of Autism (or without) to use sign language as a tool for communication.

I know each child is different so my experience may be different than your own, but give it a try to see if it works.

I have the added benefit that my daughter now knows many signs as well and is able to communicate a little with a deaf child we see time to time at the park near our home.

All in all, it's a win-win situation!

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