Title: 'Sign Language Curriculum for Early Intervention Parent-Child Groups'
Track: 4 - Early Intervention
Keyword(s): sign language, parent-child group, communication delays
Learning Objectives:
  1. implement sign language curriculum in a structured group setting
  2. assess parent and child progress in sign language skills
  3. understand the value of early exposure to sign language in children with hearing loss as well as those with typical hearing but with speech and language delays


Research has shown that early exposure to sign language and visual communication is beneficial not only for infants and toddlers with hearing loss, but also for those with speech and language delays despite typical hearing. Early exposure to sign language has been shown to increase expressive language development (Ellison, 1982), receptive language development (Daniels, 1994) and an increased use of adjectives and adverbs at a preschool age (Brown, 1990). Early Intervention providers often incorporate simple signs in their services when working with families who have children with some form of hearing loss or communication delay. Staff at Thom Boston Metro Early Intervention have designed a six-week parent-child sign language group to build children’s and families’ existing skills in sign language. The group introduces new and relevant signs in thematic categories such as animals, family, food, and school. The 90-minute sessions include circle time, songs, books, art activities, and snack. The weekly themes were reflected in all activities. Many of the activities are ones that parents and caretakers can easily do at home to reinforce language learning from the group. This presentation will review the sign language group curriculum. The presenter will review demographics and disability characteristics of children enrolled in the first two groups of participants. We will also discuss progress made by enrolled children with hearing loss and those with typical hearing but delays in communication. Parental progress will also be presented. Other topics will include challenges that staff experienced in implementation, and replication of this innovation in other early childhood settings. Attendees can share experiences using sign language in a structured group setting.
Presentation: 1249SarahHonigfeld.pdf

Handouts: Handout is not Available
Sarah Honigfeld - Primary Presenter,Author
Thom Boston Metro Early Intervention
     Credentials: BS, CEIS
      Sarah Honigfeld is a 2013 graduate of Northeastern University with a Bachelors of Science in Human Services and a graduate certificate in Early Intervention.  She is currently working toward her Masters in School Counseling and Early Intervention from Gallaudet University. She has worked with Boys & Girls Clubs as an Inclusion Specialist. Currently she works as a Developmental Specialist at Thom Boston Metro Early Intervention, where she is a specialty provider for families with children with various hearing levels.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.