Signs and Gestures for Basic Communication Needs

Signs and Gestures for Basic
Communication Needs
Signed languages are not universal.
• According to Wikipedia, there are 200 or more
signed languages around the world
• Valerie Sutton, the inventor of the SignWriting
system states, “Just like spoken languages,
signed languages are unique to each region of
the world.”
The sign for “chair” in ASL & BSL:
British Sign Language
American Sign Language
Signs taught today are based on
American Sign Language
• Online dictionaries for ASL:
Incorporate gestures
• What gestures does the student already use?
• Be aware of cultural differences in gestures
What other American cultural gestures can you
think of? Do you know any gestures from other
Some hand gestures from around the
• Mexico:
• Phillipines, Indonesia, Australia, and Brazil:
• Italian
Recognize modified signs
• Student may not be able to make certain
• What signs or gestures do they already use?
• What do they mean when they use those signs or
• Ask parents or caretakers to provide information
on home communication.
Pay attention to eye-gaze
• When a student is trying to communicate
something, watch where they are looking closely.
This and a point or wave may be the only
indication of a want or need.
What are some basic communication
• In groups of 3-5, identify basic communication
needs of your students that you see on a daily
• Record at least 10 basic concepts you feel are
important for day-to-day communication
Common Communication Needs

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