3 Jun 2015
We quite often get the question if Freja will ever speak or if we use sign language with her. Now the truth is we do use sign language, BSL actually, with her, but only to aid speech. Now as I’ve explained before Freja do have good hearing with her aids so is able to access speech sounds very well in good sound environments. That means she will master speech just like any child only perhaps a little slower.
She is already using some verbal words, singing the melody and snippets of half formed words to her favourite songs and generally she is babbling a lot. More and more is becoming comprehensible to us and she is clearly showing us she has great understanding of spoken language, for her age that is. That’s all very good. But a toddler who can’t communicate their need is a very frustrated toddler and that’s where BSL comes in handy.
From very early on we started using signs to aid communication and speech development. Much thanks to the support from speech and language therapy and the support workers of the teacher of the deaf we started with simple things like dog and cat, signs for changing a nappy, for being hungry, for a question and always together with speech. Amazingly when she started to realise she could use these signs to communicate with us it didn’t take long for her to pick it up. For a few weeks she was learning and signing new signs almost every day. Now she will pick up new signs quickly for things she’s interested in. Worm is the latest one!
At the moment signs are her main way of communicating, but more and more there’s words and sounds accompanying the signs. Like she will sign cheese and say cheese at the same time. With time this will change and one day there won’t be a need for signing. Meanwhile it is a fabulous tool to aid communication with a toddler, any toddler, with or without hearing impairment.
For us this has worked well but please keep in mind that there’s lots of ways to aid communication with hearing impaired and deaf children and that sign language as an aid for speech was our choice based on our situation. If you’d like to know more the charity NDCS has a database with loads of useful information or you can just ask.
I’ve written more about Freja’s hearing impairment here.
Om hur vi underlättar kommunicationen med Freja.