PARENTDEAF-HH: ASL and Fingerspelling

Key Words:Instructional Strategies, sign language, Prek & k-6

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Subj: Re: Deaf Kids' Identity Crises (?)
Date: 97-04-11 09:32:25 EDT
From: Shockflock@aol.com
Sender: parentdeaf-hh@amethyst.educ.kent.edu
Reply-to: parentdeaf-hh@amethyst.educ.kent.edu
To: beejatwork@aol.com

Hi Andrea....Hayden is 4 years old, but we have only been signing for three years. His first year of life we tried an oral program but it did not work for us. I know what you mean about them not paying attention even when you are signing..that is fine..the point is when Hayden may glance my way he knows a conversation is taking place. We experience this in church..I try so hard to sign the mass, for what sometime I think..Hayden doesnt even pay attention, but the fact is it helps me to learn more words and to become more fluent and then just maybe Hayden will want to know what is being said or he may see me sign something thing that will catch his interest and he will want to know more about what is being said. It kind of reminds me about the conversation I had with my dad many years ago..I would ask my dad why do the papers always have the same tire sales day after day after day. He responded it means nothing to you now but one day you will need tires and then you will be interested in the sale.. and will buy tires. I think the same goes for Hayden and our signing around the house, stores, church, etc..one day Hayden will be interested and I will be ready.

As for a tip..I bought pocket size dictionarys for the cars and house and carried them everywhere we went to look up words we didn't know. If I could not find it in the dictionary I would make up a sign until I could ask his teachers the proper sign. There has been times when I needed a sign and there was no such sign for a word, the deaf usually would finger spell that word (ex. "treat" as in treat someone the way you want to be treated) but fingerspelling that word to a then 3 year old meant nothing to him..no matter how much I used my facial expression, so after much conversation with hearing and deaf teachers we came to an agreement that we would use the sign "manage or handle" as our sign for the word "treat". Now when he interacts with his siblings and he grabs something that is not his I can say to him, "please dont do that, treat your sister the way you want to be treated" and he understands!!! yea!!

Tip II. it always helps me to write down the words I need signs for. To this day I have a piece of paper upstairs and one downstairs. I write the word I need a sign for and a brief discription of the situation at that time, so as to try to remember the conversation to pick the right word I need.

ok I hope this helps...gotta go
mary ann

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Subj: Re: Deaf Kids' Identity Crises (?)
Date: 97-04-10 20:27:48 EDT
From: acdaley@nfld.com (Daley)
Sender: parentdeaf-hh@amethyst.educ.kent.edu
Reply-to: parentdeaf-hh@amethyst.educ.kent.edu
To: beejatwork@aol.com

At 07:15 PM 4/10/97 -0400, Kristina wrote:

>What you may want to try is to do both...fingerspell and use your sign. I have been taught that spelling in English and ASL is different for children. Deaf children learn to see the shape of the fingerspelled word, and don't necessarily look for each individual letter. Many Deaf children do not realize that VAN, or REFRIG for example are based on fingerspelling...they see the shape of the word. If they learn both it will help them later on when they are ready to use fingerspelling or lexicalized signs. >

To teach my daughter (2.5 yrs) a sign that is commonly fingerspelled(FS) we usually start off with the "baby" or homemade sign until the sign is understood then add in FS. So for a period of time I use both, then gradually eliminate the sign to then use FS only. So even at 2.5 yrs she understands FS words such as; nap, dog, snack, markers, fudge, craft, bank. As Kristina states above, she is not reading the individual letters of the word but instead seeing the combination of the letters form a sign in its own. The hardest part of it all, is for me on the receiving end, when she tries to FS the word back to me!

Something that my daughter is doing a lot of now is ignoring. Whenever I try to get her attention she simply ignores me! This usually results in me having to take hold of her face to get her to look at me. Then usually half way through what I am saying she will look away again. This makes events such as; reading books, telling stories and explaining things, all somewhat frustrating! I realize that this is just a phase as it has only just recently begun, but nevertheless frustrating!

~TTFN!
*Andrea @:~) ~~~~~~~~~~

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Subj: Fingerspelling and ASL
Date: 97-04-11 10:19:15 EDT
From: CRAWFORD@CUA.EDU (Rosaline Hayes Crawford)
Sender: parentdeaf-hh@amethyst.educ.kent.edu
Reply-to: parentdeaf-hh@amethyst.educ.kent.edu
To: beejatwork@aol.com

I agree. I have created home signs (i.e., Y-milk for yogurt) to use when I did not know the correct sign or understand that fingerspelling some words was OK and would be read as a sign instead of letters. I tested this theory when my daughter was 2. I switched from the signed English initialized version of "foot" to the fingerspelled f-o-o-t. I was amazed at how quickly my daughter recognized the fingerspelled version (to my question, "where is your f-o-o-t" she pointed to the correct appendage!). Since then I have not hesitated to provide her with fingerspelling when necessary or appropriate. Now that she is 7 (well, next week), she is fingerspelling regularly, even for words that have signs (she's such a show off). We still have and use some home signs. Reading books now involves more fingerspelling along with explanations in and interpretations to sign to foster understanding of the concepts and English words. Emerging literacy . . . what a challenge and what joy!! P.S. my daughter was able to recognize much of the alphabet in both sign and print by the age of 2. (Do I sound like a proud mom? You bet!)

Rosaline Crawford

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Subj: Re: Fingerspelling and ASL
Date: 97-04-11 13:23:16 EDT
From: ABHoyer@aol.com
Sender: parentdeaf-hh@amethyst.educ.kent.edu
Reply-to: parentdeaf-hh@amethyst.educ.kent.edu
To: beejatwork@aol.com

I am sorry to admit that we do not fingerspell very much (some names, "Park," "back," cereal names...) However, a 6 yr old (kindergartener) friend of ours is now fingerspelling EVERYTHING. It is sometimes hard to read him because I am expecting signs and am getting fingerspelling! But I think it's great that he is learning to spell and use this in his communication.

I think the kids are capable of a lot more than we often give them credit for. If we use fingerspelling, our children will use it too. I do try to limit fingerspelling to short words, but perhaps if I spelled longer words...

Uploaded by: BJ Lawrence/ Kent State University/ Deafed Major