14 Year Old Autism Child Learns Sign Language

14 Year Old Autism Child Learns Sign Language

My son has resisted learning how to communicate for years.  It’s been one step forward, two steps back.  It’s great to see him now using his communication device voluntarily.  Unfortunately, he only uses it when he is in the mood to.  That is why I so happy that he is learning how to use sign language.  Sign language isn’t a common form of communication for an autism child where I live.  I don’t know if that is the case everywhere.

When my son was younger, I tried to get his school to teach him sign language.  His teacher had told me that he was using some signs in the classroom.  I was told by the school’s speech therapist that my son could not learn sign language.  Her reasoning was that he couldn’t reciprocate in the signing, so it was pointless to teach him.  I never understood that.  I didn’t give up.  I kept using simple signs with him, and his teachers continued to use some in the classroom.

Through the years, he has done a sign here and there.  Never consistent.  But it was obvious that he was understanding the signs we did with him.  In situations where we couldn’t talk, I’d use a sign and he would react to the sign.  Now, it is with great pride and happiness that I can say that my son “told me” that he loves me.  He has learned to sign “I Love You.”  I’ve waited 14 years to have my son say that to me.  I never gave up, and I will never forget that moment.

He has learned to sign about a dozen different words.  He doesn’t get them all perfect, but that will take time.  His school, his private therapists, and us at home, are all using sign language with him.  We all keep in close contact with each other, updating one another on his progress.

My son’s therapists are so excited about how much progress he has made just this year.  My daughter is also extremely excited that her brother is using sign language.  She has been getting me to teach her, and she has been teaching herself.  I have a book of signs, and we all reference it.  What I love about this form of communication for my son is that he loves it.  He signs with us, and he does it with a big grin. It’s a quicker, and easier way to communicate.  Everyday, I look forward to talking with my son.  It just proves to me that nothing is off limits for my son.  It might take time, but he can learn anything we teach him.

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