Learning ASL (American Sign Language) can be a wonderful way for parents to communicate with their hearing-impaired children. But, statistics show that 75% of parents who have deaf children can’t sign fluently.
There are many reasons why some parents of deaf children aren’t learning ASL. We’re going to take a look at what some of those are as well as how Rock and Roll Daycare is helping to introduce ASL to students and parents.
Reasons Why Not All Parents of Deaf Children are Learning Sign Language
When you’re the parent of a deaf child, communication can be challenging especially when you consider that more than 90% of deaf children are born to parents who can hear. While some are learning ASL, others are not for a variety of reasons. These can include:
Makes the Condition Real
Learning sign language makes the child’s condition more real for the parents of some deaf children. It confirms that this is something that is not going away. Some parents feel that if they learn ASL they can’t continue to look for other treatments to help their children. That’s not the case at all. Learning ASL is actually more helpful because it allows the entire household to communicate. Parents can still continue to research other treatments while learning ASL.
Some May Not Think They Can Do It
Learning something new isn’t always easy. For some adults, the idea of learning ASL can be overwhelming. While some may pick it up quickly, it may take more time for others. A learning curve is to be expected. When this happens, children who already know ASL can help their parents learn. Instead of looking at learning ASL as a hurdle, it can be viewed as a way for parents and children to bond.
Some Fear Their Children Will Not Speak
While ASL is an excellent way to communicate with deaf children, some parents fear that their children won’t try to learn to speak if they learn it. It’s important to understand that learning ASL doesn’t have to be an “either-or” situation when it comes to speech development. Parents can still encourage their children with speech development even if they know how to sign. The two can work hand-in-hand to achieve better communication all-around.
Some May Think They’re Communicating Well Enough Already
Some parents may think that their level of communication is good enough without learning ASL. But, learning sign language can only help your hearing-impaired child. Research shows that poor communication can hurt a child’s performance at school and lead to problems at home. Parents who learn ASL can help to prevent this from happening to their children.
Some May Think They Don’t Have the Time
Learning sign language does not have to take up all of your time. You can take short intervals of time to learn and continue to practice. Many available tools make it easy to fit learning ASL into your schedule.
How Parents Can Learn ASL
Learning ASL requires practice and studying just like learning any other language. Many available resources make it easy and convenient for parents to learn ASL. These include:
- Books at your Local Library
- Free apps and websites
- Local Events
It’s also worth it to reach out to organizations such as the National Association of the Deaf and the American Society of Deaf Children for resources and possible local events that can help you learn ASL and bring you and your child closer together. There is plenty of help available to help you and your child communicate.
ASL at Rock and Roll Daycare
At our Alexandria location as well as our other Rock and Roll Daycare centers, we believe that teaching sign language to all children is important. We have currently implemented it into our curriculum that focuses on Jamaican culture.
Our Jamaican Heritage Curriculum Guide is a central part of these lessons. It contains lyrics to Jamaican songs as well as how to sign them. Research shows that learning sign language can help all children, not only those who are deaf. It can help with reasoning and language skills. Studies also show these benefits:
- Reinforcement of learning basics like ABC’s
- Larger vocabulary
- Better reading skills
- Increased IQ scores
While children are at our Alexandria location, they can see images of how to sign the different words that are in the songs. With clear illustrations that are easy to follow, children can practice the words and then try to sign along with the song. They may enjoy it so much that they’ll want to learn more sign language words that are not part of the song.
Parents can also learn how to sign the words in the songs with the help of this guide. This can be a fun way for parents to get started, especially if they don’t have experience with ASL. Besides being a learning tool, it can also bring children and parents together if they choose to learn some of these words at home.
American Sign Language is a part of much of our curriculum at Rock and Roll Daycare as it appears in many of our cultural guide books. We believe it is important for children to continue learning ASL. This also gives parents ample opportunity to try it as well. American Sign Language can be a vital skill for everyone, not only those who are hearing-impaired.