ExpressiveHands

Fingers do the Talking

Using American Sign Language to bring parents and infants together


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What is Expressive Hands?

Expressive Hands offers professional sign language instruction and cirriculum development for childcare professionals. We take a three phase approach to help you introduce sign language into your programs:

  • Jump Start Your Training
  • Staff Training and Support
  • Customized Curriculum Development

For more information about our approach and services, please visit the programs page.

Why use sign lanuage with young children?

Expressive Hands uses American Sign Language as a tool to empower babies, toddlers, and young children to express their needs. Infants may lack the fine motor skills necessary to produce spoken language, but they do not lack the conceptual ability to understand and use language. With the aide of sign language, children as young as eight months of age can tell you what they want, need, and feel, before they are able to verbalize.

Expressive Hands’ Fingers do the Talking instruction is based on Joseph Garcia’s award-winning SIGN with your BABY™ Program. Expressive Hands uses American Sign Language and speech to build the communication skills for each child. By teaching an established language, all participants in the child’s language development have a common foundation for instruction. Without a standard, each individual family, and childcare facility, could be faced with interpreting a unique set of signs from each child. American Sign Language is a sensible, established, and documented language for your pre-verbal child to learn.

Signing with children does not require parents or caregivers to learn a new language. Rather, sign language teaches a few simple gestures that empower children to communicate. In the same way that crawling seems to stimulate a child's interest in walking, signing provides an excellent bridge to verbal communication. Babies learn signs that represent ideas they can understand like “eat”, “more,” and “milk.” This enables the child to replace some of their frustrated outbursts with hand gestures that tell you exactly what they want or need. This creates a bond that can greatly improve the relationship with their caregivers.