Q: Why is signing beneficial to children?
Sign language gives children the tools to communicate at a very young age, even prior to speaking. Often, children become frustrated because they have the desire to communicate with others, but simply do not know how. Beginning with signs for basic needs such as ‘milk’ or ‘more’, children are able to relay their wants and needs to their loved ones. Sign language can reduce frustration and tantrums, boost self-esteem, and enhance vocabulary.
Q: Does learning sign language cause a speech delay in kids?
No. In fact, use of sign language often enhances language development and vocabulary. Often times the words that we are teaching our little ones to sign are the first words that they learn to say. We have found that children who are signing have larger vocabularies and are combining more words to form sentences than their same age peers.
Q: My child is already talking. Why should I start signing with him/her?
There are several benefits to signing with a child who is already talking. First, often times, toddlers are talking, but they cannot always be understood. Signing helps to clarify your child’s message. Secondly, in many of our classes, children are talking more than signing. We use signing as a strategy to help little ones learn new vocabulary. It is fun, interactive and appeals to all types of learners.
Q: What is the difference between the Sign to Communicate and Sign to Learn curricula?
The Sign to Communicate curriculum (for ages 3-36 months) is designed to teach children and families signs for the first 100 words that little ones begin using. American Sign Language vocabulary is taught to help your child express her wants, needs, and thoughts before she is able to communicate verbally. The class, entitled What is Your Baby Thinking?, is our most popular. It is often taken multiple times as your child acquires communication skills. The Sign to Learn curriculum (for ages 18-36 months) is designed for children and families interested in adding to their child’s vocabulary through signs. Many children in these classes are already talking and signs are used as a tool to introduce new concepts and vocabulary. These classes include Sign As You Grow, ABC Signs, Number Signs and more. These may be taken multiple times as your child’s skills grow and change.
Q: What is the difference between Sign and Sing story time and Sign and Play classes?
Sign and Sing Story Time is designed around a monthly theme. Our goal for Sign and Sing Story Time is that a family leaves the large group setting with 3-5 signs that they can practice and use all month long. Sign and Play Classes are designed to engage a family in learning. Our What Is Your Baby Thinking? class is designed to help families communicate, using the first 100 words that little ones first learn. Each week a family learns 10-12 signs to take home. Our more advanced classes: Sign As You Grow, ABC Signs, Number Signs and Color Signs are designed to use signs as a strategy to teach our children new vocabulary and concepts on a weekly basis.
Q: What age is best to start signing?
Any age is a good time to start signing! Many parents begin signing with their infants right away, simply so that it becomes a habitual part of their everyday lives. It may take a little while for infants to gain the fine motor skills to sign back; however, the exposure to signing and repetition is extremely beneficial. Starting sign language with toddlers is also a great idea. Building vocabulary and language skills can ease frustration at any age.
Any time is a great time to start signing, but right now is the best! – Abbey Cook, Owner Communication Junction
Q: Are there are options for older kids?
Communication Junction offers classes for preschool aged children. If your child is ages 3-5.5 we have a weekly class that would be perfect. In these classes we focus on finger spelling and expanding familiar concepts in a fun and relaxed environment. Check our current schedule to see what exciting options are available!
Q: How many times can I take a specific class?
Many families choose to take our What is Your Baby Thinking? class multiple times. The What Is Your Baby Thinking? class is designed to help a family communicate through the first three years of life. In addition, our Sign As You Grow, ABC Signs, Number Signs and Color Signs classes are each offered once a year. Often times families will take these classes multiple times, as their child is ready to learn or receive information in a different way than he/she was a year prior.
For older toddlers and preschool students, we offer a variety of class topics, depending on the session. Check our current schedule to see what exciting options are available!
Q: Which class should I start with?
What is Your Baby Thinking? is a great introduction to sign language for children ages 3-36 months. Each class focuses on vocabulary relevant to your child, and includes movement, music, and literacy. If your feel your child is ready for one of our more advanced classes, please let us know.
Q: How is Communication Junction involved with Early Intervention?
Communication Junction’s owner, Abbey Cook, is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist and Early Intervention Provider. If your child qualifies for speech and language services through the Illinois Early Intervention Program, he/she may be eligible for Speech Group services through his/her IFSP. This is a decision that is made by the Early Intervention Team. A child eligible for Speech Group Services is able to join our Sign and Play Classes or Sign and Sing Story Times as part of his/her service plan. We typically have a wait list for children eligible for Sign and Play Classes through Early Intervention. Contact Abbey or your Service Coordinator (through Early Intervention) today if you are interested.
Q: How is Communication Junction involved with Shine Therapy Services?
Communication Junction provides Speech Group Services through Early Intervention in conjunction with Shine Therapy Services. Shine Therapy Services is a locally owned pediatric therapy company offering speech/feeding, occupational and developmental therapy in the Peoria, Illinois area. If your child qualifies for Speech Group Services through Early Intervention, Shine is the organization that will handle all paperwork for you to be enrolled in Sign and Play Classes with Communication Junction.