I have been asked whether Ava is deaf, and if that is why we teach her sign language. I have also been asked whether I know sign language or am I learning along with her.
We are all learning sign language as we go, just one word at a time. Ava is not deaf, and apparently contrary to what we thought at first, is not even hearing impaired at all.
The reason kids with Down Syndrome are often taught sign language has to do with their low muscle tone and coordination. Because the extra chromosome affects every cell of their body, it makes everything they do more difficult. At a Down Syndrome meeting we attended one time they compared it to us trying to go about our normal routine wrapped in Saran wrap. Imagine how difficult that would be. The same goes with speech. If you think about it, speech requires a lot of different muscle groups working together properly to make even one sound.
Sign language is an easier way for these kids to communicate until their fine motor skills are developed enough to formulate words that are understandable.
We have a little ASL pocket book and we just look up words as we need to. Ava can use, I think, around 20 signs now to communicate what she needs. I don't know about you, but I find that amazing!
So here is her latest, she just learned this morning as we were getting ready for her first day back at school.....Enjoy!