APE – the Asperger Parenting Experience

The Life and Times of one Asperger Parent

The Joys of Sign Language

Posted by Patrick on 13 November 2007

I hope that the title is clear; I’ve found something positive to teach my aspie son.  Sign Language is a big victory for my aspie – while he is completely capable of well-structured speech (not all Aspies are) in multiple languages, I’m finding that teaching him ASL has been a great way for him to not only improve his overall communication skills, but also to help him grow his vocabulary and to allow him to convey ideas when he either doesn’t know what to say or when he goes into a non-verbal tantrum over something infinitely minor.

Is anyone else with an aspie child doing this?  I have been using the Signing Time video series by Rachel de Azevedo Coleman checked out from the local library in series.  It’s been amazing to watch him learn so quickly.  Like many aspies, he is particularly intelligent yet quite out of focus with his surroundings most of the time; however, he is able to tune in for these videos non-stop and he really gets a lot of enjoyment out of this series in particular.

Parents don’t neglect to watch the videos with your aspie long enough to learn the signs yourself.  You’ll be surprised at how easy ASL is to learn, and how effective it can be for helping you reach your sometimes unreachable child(ren).


3 Responses to “The Joys of Sign Language”

  1. Lauren said

    What you’re doing with your son is really interesting. My husband runs an after school program for middle school students with AS, and he tried teaching them ASL for a while, but they did not have enough time to practice (nor were the students particularly interested).

    I love that you are sharing your experiences with other parents. My husband (an aspie himself) runs a non profit called the Asperger Society, based in California. It works with kids with AS to develop their social abilities and helps adult aspies, parents such as yourself, and professionals network and find community.

    It looks like we have some similar philosophies about AS, so I’ll have my husband keep an eye on this blog. Maybe we can send you some new readers.

    By the way, our url is http://www.aspergersociety.org

  2. I am glad to see someone else who uses Signing Time! My youngest daughter is hard of hearing, so we have been learning some ASL. At first we used it a bunch in conjunction with spoken English, which helped her gain language when she was fighting ear infections. Now, we mostly use it when her hearing aids are out and when I do my area ASL playgroup.

    Check your local PBS stations. Many run Signing Time! episodes, although sometimes at very strange hours.

  3. Erica said

    My 11 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD and SPD. He has never been diagnosed with Aspergers but I really think that he does have it.
    When he has his outbursts, he refuses to talk. This is when ASL is very helpful for us. I’m the only one that he will communicate with when he is in this state, if he communicates at all. He uses signs to tell me what’s wrong. I’m also the only other one in the house that knows any sign language. It’s kind of a nice bond that we have.

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