Using Sign Language to Enhance Fine Motor Skill Development

ASL

I have been struggling with programming more lesson plans for Aerie. I was trying to find some age appropriate learning exercises for her that would build on things she already knows. We have been working on number patterning and counting a lot lately, and I found that she was having some difficulty in forming different numbers with her fingers. She sometimes uses her inactive hand to help push her fingers down on the hand she is using. I have to remember that she is only two years old, so I don’t think this is a developmental delay or anything, but of course it got me to thinking how I can help her improve.

To work on improving this area, I’m turning to Sign Language. What better way to work on her fine motor skill development than to start to learn a whole new language. I started looking online for basic signs, and educated myself with the “first 100 words,” then went on to teaching her a few. She is really eager to learn, and she’s really working hard to get the motions down. After working on these for a few days now, I already see an improvement in her using her inactive hand less to help form the words with her active hand. It’s great to see her really trying to get the signs just right. I think this will be great practice with hand formations, and I feel like it’s the perfect fit to also learn something new. Plus, now I have a whole new curriculum to play with for lesson planning instead of being up in the air with what I’m doing.

We started with colors and other basics like family members. I’m really excited to teach her to sign the alphabet, I think she’ll have a lot of fun with that. I just didn’t want to jump into it too quickly with starting with the alphabet. I’m also excited to get into the animals, too.

The internet is a wonderful thing. You can find many free resources. If you’re interested, this is the site I used to learn Basic ASL: First 100 Words. The site is really basic, but they give great explanations on how to move your hands to form the words. American Sign Language also has a great DVD for kids.

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