Over 30 years of research has shown that nonverbal people with autism can learn to communicate with sign language. Many autistic children respond well to sign language because it's visually based and provides a mode of quick communication. Research also shows that it may actually help nonverbal people to become verbal.
Some of the advantages of using sign language include, it's inexpensive, portable, a true language system, and communication can take place quickly. It can help reduce negative behaviors such as tantrums, aggression or self injury which are often a result of being unable to communicate a want or need. Also, by providing a form of communication you increase the opportunity for social interaction.
Remember that sign language and verbal communication can be taught simultaneously. Some believe that using signed words may help children with autism to become more verbal because the signs act as visual prompts for spoken words. It can be an incredible tool that can increase communication, independence, and academic achievement for people on the spectrum.
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