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Sign Language

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Sign language utilizes many parts of the body in addition to the hands.  Use your face to communicate feelings, questions, degree, etc.


Use gestures or pantomine to act out your message when you don't know the signs or when it would be quicker or more effective to 

do so. 


Think in terms of concepts, not words.  Often different signs are used when the word is the same but the concept is different.


Above all, know your listener.  Deaf people vary widely in their degree of hearing loss, ability to lipread, amount of education, age of onset, type of education, reading level, amount of contact with hearing people, intelligence, experiences, etc...


When you are signing, ask yourself if you are signing to teach or to communicate.  For example, during a session in therapy you may 

wish to sign every word in the correct order with the correct ending.  However, if you are later signing to convey information or just to converse it will probably be easier on the other person if you shorten and simplify your sentences.


EX:        Teacher:  I am happy to see you.

               Communicate:  Happy to see you.


Force yourself to sign even if you feel uncomfortable.  Deaf people are usually delighted when you make the effort to learn and they will

be ever so patient with you (much more than the teacher who tried to get them to talk for so many years).


Ask Dr. Susan