Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Something Annoys me ... about the marketing that is so blatently geared towards the ego of parents rather than the needs of the child. There is a wonderful book called Hands Can Talk by Aileen Ryan which uses Auslan sign language - Aileen was using Auslan in her work prior to having a child with DS but then began using it with her little one - as many of us do.

I had always planned on using signing with my children - even before we heard that it would help Hannah communicate more clearly. I have a deaf sister for one thing but also because of this I know that I am better 'visually' than I might otherwise have been. I also know what a rich language and culture Auslan belongs to - so it was something I always was going to do - just as I often considered studying an Auslan certificate so I could work in that area in some way or foster children with hearing impairment at some point in my life. Now I have taken a slightly different route by focussing first on the special ed and later I may well expand my signing qualifications.

Anyways I was given a new signing kit aimed at Childcare centres and their parents to look at. The resources are good. I have no issue with that although I think Aileen's are better because she has a more extensive yet still useful vocab in her fabulous little pocketbook. What I do not like is the covering flyer - comments like" Research has shown that children who use sign language may acquire spoken language faster than non-signing children" and "Teaching sign language can stimulate your baby's brain development. Research has illustrated that signing babies achieve higher scores on future IQ tests (up to 12 IQ points higher) than children who learn to speak in the traditional manner".

Where do I begin??
Non verbal communication including signs are actually a pretty 'natural' part of childrearing - you don't need an official dictionary! Why do you need a 'typical' child to speak earlier - is this part of the desire for a G&T kid in every house?? I want to redress Hannah's communication delay rather than having her speak sooner- although that would be good. I just don't like it. It makes me feel uncomfortable. There is also something about such absolute appropriation of a language of a group in our society who are often marginalised without any recognition that this is their language - what an opportunity to open people's thinking about disability instead of promising them 'better' children!

Oh well maybe I am just too uptight and overly sensative - after all Hannah will need those 12 IQ points and if she doesn't get them boy will I be pissed off!

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