At 42 Degrees

At 42 Degrees

Friday, June 28, 2013

To Sign or Not To Sign,...

 Hmmmm,...this is Isaac's thinking sign,...(his own)

Lately I've been thinking about the various therapies for Apraxia and Autism.

Seeking therapies, I've been getting lots of advice,...unfortunately often adamant advice,...that you MUST do this or you MUST do that,... which I find to be contradictory with the fact that autism is such a individual disorder. 

What happened to the quote? "If you've seen one child with autism,'ve seen ONE child,...with autism."

Lot of the advice and pushback I seem to be getting is on teaching Isaac sign language,...because: "No one will be able to understand him." 


Is that what they tell parents of deaf children? Get an implant or use a device, but DON'T teach your child sign language.

For us everything is on the table: Verbal, of course, PECS, iPod with talk apps, mime, tap dancing the morse code,...and sign language,...pardon the sarcasm and no disrespect to mimes or tap dancers,...but my point is why not use every technique at your disposal. 


Musicians don't use just one note, artists don't use just one color, or if they do, they create differing tones, so what's so wrong with Isaac learning sign language - if we are willing to teach him and he absolutely loves it and it helps him learn and communicate?

After all, my sole concern is Isaac's comfort in communication. 

Verbally Isaac has come such a long way,...we're getting sentences now and proper pronoun uses such as when Isaac open the freezer drawer the other day,...a prohibitive activity by the way,...but what could I do, when he grinned at me and said, "I did it!"

However, Apraxia doesn't make communication for Isaac easy,...his Echolalian is flawlessly fluent, but English is halting and difficult, and in the long run we don't know what degree of fluency Isaac will be able to achieve in his communication.

And to communicate, Isaac wants to do! In fact for a nonverbal child,...Isaac's is pretty much a chatterbox,...Mr. Opinion, he has something to say or sign about everything!!!

Never do I want Isaac to feel hampered by Apraxia, is not his lord, nor is it his master.

It is so important for Isaac to know HE is in charge and able to be flexible if Apraxia is giving his motor processing a hard time, then he can still communicate: he can sign, he can write (when he learns to write), he can use PECS, he can use a talk app on iPad, he can tap dance the morse code, for all I care,...but nothing and I mean nothing will be taken off the communication table,...not by this Mama. 

The more I learn about living with autism and the more I live with autism, the more I see it is so true, "If you've seen one child with autism, you've seen ONE child with autism."

Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you.


  1. You go girl! I think if he uses sign language that is a bonus. Keep in mind that you can always use that in churches or libraries or other quiet places. I would dearly love my apraxic 14 yo to have developed ANY signs! He just never wanted to. And yes, I did chuckle over the tap dancing mimes!

  2. Thanks Julie,...the encouragement is most appreciated. We think signing is a bonus too and can't fathom the bias against it, is recognized as a genuine language. Have a blessed weekend! :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.