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Teaching British Sign Language To Improve The Lives Of Children With Mental Disabilities

1380 words - 6 pages

There have been countless ways in which doctors and teachers have tried to improve the lives of children with mental disabilities. A number of methods and lessons have been created to hopefully help these children. Though not all have been successful, there were some that stood out from the rest. One, specifically, was the teaching of British Sign Language. Teaching British Sign Language to mentally disabled children helped not only their ability to communicate but also improves their literacy skills and mental processing skills.
Teachers and doctors enjoyed using and teaching British Sign Language to people with mental disabilities even if it wasn’t proven that it helped. (Francis and Williams, 1). After studies that taught British Sign Language to children with mental disabilities, the results demonstrated that it helped create better speech (Francis and Williams, 1). Not only that, but the children were able to detect meaning in the signs (Vallotton 16). All the results from the studies give a great example as to why British Sign Language should be taught to children with mental disabilities. They show how helpful it can be.
Signs such as water helped children spell and sound out the word (Vallotton 17). Teaching British Sign Language allowed the children to feel more comfortable and calm. Since they felt this way, it made them want to learn and understand. The children were seen to be motivated and the extent of their disabilities did not affect the learning process (Francis and Williams, 31). The children were able to have better learning experiences.
The early child educators who have used signs to teach children have received greater responses from the children. When the children signed the teachers were capable of creating more eye contact between them (Vallotton 20). Also, the teachers felt that it was easier to respond to what the children needed and could give them more attention (Vallotton 21). The children understood each other better and so it led to cordial conversations (Francis and Williams, 25). The children gained a number of new useful and helpful communication skills with not only children, but also adults.
British Sign Language helped children with mental disabilities who really struggled with spelling and reading (Vallotton 24). Marilyn Daniels found that teaching British Sign Language to children with mental disabilities improved their vocabulary, reading ability, and spelling skills (Jones 21). By the end of a year of teaching British Sign Language, the children’s vocabulary was stronger (Vallotton 24). British Sign Language helped develop stronger literacy skills which improved multiple school lessons.
Marilyn Daniels compared reading scores with a class who used British Sign Language and a class who didn’t. The results showed how the class who used British Sign Language received higher scores in letter identification, and word recognition (Vallotton 25). These test results help one understand the positive effects...

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