Re: [xmca] Signing babies

From: Mary van der Riet (
Date: Mon Jul 31 2006 - 00:55:42 PDT

I woudl really appreciate commentary on this.

On a slightly different note from the issue of signing babies, we have
recently conducted a set of qualitative focus groups on HIV/AIDS as
barriers to learning with learners from a School for the deaf in a small
and impoverished rural town. We are interested in whether research
methodology approaches have to be different for hearing and signing
participants - particularly more participative strategies such as
'road/river of life' activities. There seem to be differences in
conceptual abilities related to competence in signing. This is
compounded by the fact that the school has very few teachers competent
in sign language (just another indication of how South African education
resources are skewed by our past). Some people in the project team have
argued that the 'literalness' of signing does not allow for children to
'imagine' easily. The example given was that if one imagines a 'rock' on
one's road of life, as an obstacle - the concept can only be expressed
in one way in 'signing'. I cant believe this - but am struggling to
figure out what could be going on. It could also have to do with the
abilities of the facilitators to convey what was needed, rather than the
abilities of the children.
Does anyone know of anything written about research methodologies with
children of different abilities, and particularly how methodologies are
adjusted to different modes of communication and expressive abilities.

School of Psychology, UKZN, South Africa

Mary van der Riet; School of Psychology; University of KwaZulu-Natal
Private Bag X01, Scottsville, 3209

tel: 033 260 6163; fax: 033 2605809

>>> 2006/07/31 07:21 AM >>>
Heck, my now 12-year-old daughter was taught to sign somewhere
around 6 months at the preschool/daycare center run by/with JPL/
NASA. It was very eerie to walk in on a group of 8 toddlers eating
lunch silently and signing like crazy: more, milk, down, cup

I agree it seemed to reduce the frustrated crying and ease
communication. We used it at home once the teachers taught us, and of

course, Sesame Street had a signing adult role model type and there
were plenty of Sesame Street books about sign language.

It may be a fad, but it's not a "new" fad.

On Jul 30, 2006, at 4:18 PM, Mike Cole wrote:

> The increased use of sign language with pre-verbal kids appears to
> be a
> growing practice (fad?). Anyway,
> i thought perhaps this story might interest some xmcaogrifs.
> mike
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

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