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Speaking with gestures or baby signing is a good system for stimulate communication with the baby before they talk. With these simple and very simple gestures a door is opened for them to communicate their needs and feelings before verbal language arises.
This same principle is used with children with language disorders such as Down syndrome. Around the first year of age, babies with Down syndrome have a lot to communicate to those around them. Once they have developed their desire to communicate, they begin to make attempts to influence their environment through communication.
I tell you what are the benefits of gestures in children with Down syndrome.
They articulate sounds, point or pull us to get us where what they want is. If they do not have an effective way to communicate their messages, children will be frustrated by their inability to be understood. For this reason, one of the areas that is usually addressed first when starting treatment is to assess what type of communication system transient will be the one that works best with the child.
Although most children with Down syndrome have a delay in their speech development, they generally have good motor development and visual learning abilities. Therefore, it is often easier for them to recognize and do hand gestures, or use images, which emit speech sounds.
Sign language makes it possible for children to progress in their communication and language, even if they are not yet ready to speak. It consists of combining gestures with speech to facilitate the development of communication. It is the most widely used augmentative communication system with children with Down syndrome. It is essential to make it clear that what is used is a bimodal system, that is, the gesture is made and at the same time, the word or words that refer to the gesture are emitted.
There are people who continue to say that sign language can prevent the child from speakingIn other words, the consequence of using it will be that the child adopts the easier method and makes gestures instead of talking. However, in recent years, we have learned more about the efficacy of using signs with children with Down syndrome. Studies and clinical results strongly indicate the need to use gestural communication with them. A speech therapist will be able to develop such a program for the child. The same system should be used in all the child's daily environments, at home, at school, in therapy, at play ...
Parents are often concerned that gestures delay the acquisition of speech, but the truth is just the opposite. Without them, children with Down syndrome, who tend to understand much more than they are able to expressThey may become frustrated and resort to yelling or abandoning attempts to be understood. By giving you the ability to communicate, gestures reinforce the concepts of language because they make it possible for it to influence their world.
In my experience at the school where I work, children, from the first year of life, can effectively learn the signs and use of sign language but it is important to always use the Bimodal Communication (signs and speech) to always provide you with the verbal model. Signs can be the expressive language system that a young child uses to communicate, but it is essential that they hear them speak.
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