Using sign language as a communication tool in infant/toddler group care settings
Creators:Francik, Abby T.
MetadataShow full item record
Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Human Development and Family Science Honors Theses; 2005
This study focuses on how and when sign language is used in infant/toddler group care settings. The sample includes infants and toddlers in two childcare centers in the Columbus, Ohio, area. One day per week in each center, for two hours per session, during a 20-week period of time, interactions involving sign language between teachers and children or between children and their peers were observed. Data was recorded regarding who initiated the sign-based conversation, the context in which the sign was used, and the method of response to the sign. The data was analyzed and the signs which were used were classified into three categories: 1) task-oriented (to meet a need, to transition between activities, or to accomplish daily routines); 2) social/emotional (to express personal emotions, to show gratitude, or to ask for assistance); and 3) descriptive/conversational (to label objects, to acknowledge sounds, or to emphasize spoken words). In the majority of cases, the teacher initiated the use of sign language. In addition, task-oriented signs comprised the most frequent use of sign language in the classroom. The findings of this study should influence childcare centers to implement sign language into their infant/toddler curriculum, and also encourage centers that already use sign language to seek additional purposes for which sign language can be used in furthering the development of relationships with children.
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