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Taking on language - AUSLAN

Continuing on our goal of exploring the purposeful use of languages other than English and summarising October, which brings awareness to hearing loss and hearing impairment, children across the Service have been learning and exploring AUSLAN.

Marissa has incorporated the AUSLAN while singing with children during nature walks. The Kookaburra song you can HEAR and SEE children singing is based on the popular nursery rhyme "Barramundi song".

Sign Language has been proven to be beneficial when used with verbal children. Dr Marilyn Daniels has conducted over ten years of research in the U.S. and the U.K. on the benefits of using sign language with verbal children, and below is a list of those benefits:

  • Extensive vocabulary: Children exposed to sign language had larger English-language vocabularies than non-signing children. Introducing sign language to children through music is also a great way to enhance children's vocabulary.

  • Reading ability: Sign language involves using hands, body and facial expressions to communicate with those around you. As it is a visual language, learning it consists of using the visual-spatial part of your brain. This is the same part of the brain we use to learn to read.

  • Spelling proficiency: Research shows that children who learn sign language can more readily translate letters and words into the written language.

  • Stimulate Brain Development: Sign language can stimulate brain development. When learning sign language, you use both the left and right hemispheres of the brain compared to learning a spoken language, which only uses the brain's left hemisphere. It helps develop neural pathways and cognitive processes unique to using visual language.

  • Increased Memory Retention: When sign language is incorporated into other learning activities, children are learning visually, verbally, and kinesthetically all at the same time—simultaneously engaging children of different learning styles and creating greater memory retention.

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