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Autism and American Sign Language

    Addressing difficulties resulting from changing dynamics in the classroom, we offer an innovative approach to improve communication and facilitate speech develop for children with autism. Signing Autistic Lives designed and developed this program in direct response to meeting a unique set of needs from parents and professionals/educators. Schools have an ever increasing number of inclusion classrooms as a result of an increasing population of students with disabilities.

    Teachers are faced with increased pressures and expectations trying to understand how they can meet the needs of activities and lesson plans for a diverse class.  Educating children to maximize development cognitively, socially, language and speech proves challenging, especially with the range of disabilities widening. Autism and other development concerns such as limited speech, nonverbal, limited mobility and difficulties with auditory processing can reduce quality learning time. Sign language assists teachers and students in communicating issues such as: requesting assistance, following instructions, making choices, indicate feelings of discomfort or pain, and express wants and needs.

  Signing at home, school, or visiting the doctor is about communicating using the same level of understanding as charades. Sign language is conceptual. Its about providing the big picture.  Our programs teach simple fundamentals beginning with half day workshops which lay a foundation for signing and transition to  a 12 week hands on classroom program.  Programs for school are unique to teacher and students, beginning with assessments, goals, objectives, strategies, creating a plan, and a final evaluation.

   The emphasis with our programs is to identify difficult situations for children and provide sign language to assist in understanding the activity, possibly preempting potential melt downs previously occurring in similar situations.  The result for teachers and students is to minimize frustrations previously experienced and create a calmer, positive activity.  Minimal signing ( 1 to 2 signs ) is required for most interactions and will enhance speech development in addition to connecting children to friends and families in many different ways.

   Our flash cards  are specific for children with autism and other disabilities, addressing visual processing issues, and include additional supports for adults such as short cuts, phrases, and practice sentences.   Most of our workshops include a minimum of 2 sets of flash cards - 60 total.  Flash cards include quick start guide, short cuts, and tips for learning sign language faster and easier.        

    Research indicates children with autism may rely more on the right side of their brain as it is associated with visual processing. Our eyes are responsible for 70 % of what reaches our brains. Left brain processing is associated with auditory processing. When auditory receptors are inadequate children can become isolated without having an alternative means of communicating.  Children pick up sign language quickly and stop using signs on their own when they feel comfortable with their speech. When signs are associated with speech and even reading, information is sent to long term memory banks, verses simply hearing one word.

    Sign language empowers children with autism and creates genuine two way communication. As a result of this, sign language is recognized as the most effective visual format assisting  children in cognitive, social and emotional development.  

   Parents, therapists, teachers and other professionals will overcome myths, misconceptions, and limiting concerns which prevent many from moving forward to learn sign language.   Beyond workshops and initial classroom assessments, 5 to 10 minutes a day is sufficient to introduce new signs.  Workshops include a minimum of  60 flash cards for each participant.

Life Flow Signing Series flash cards

Signs in each set are introduced in a step-by-step chronological order as to how your family lives every day, and the transitions during your daily schedules.

Workshop series

  • Peer Education in the Classroom
  • Emergency and Medical Community
  • In the Work place-Lunch and Learn (read more)
  • Teachers ASL and Autism  (read more)
  • Family and Friends
  • Physicians and Therapists
  • Volunteers and Caregivers
  • Signing for Seniors (Grandparents) and Babysitters

It’s easier than you think

Flash cards and workshops offer a true shortcut to American Sign Language (ASL).

    Our instructional programs and services provide a one-stop solution for the difficulties faced by those who want to learn more. For parents, we understand there is no time left in the weekly schedule to add another activity or class. Teachers, therapists, care-givers and individuals who touch our children’s lives on a daily basis play a critical role in their development.

What we do

    We provide a foundation for learning sign language as it applies to children with special needs. Parents, teachers, medical professionals, volunteers, child advocates, and therapists benefit from our instructions, and learn how to apply techniques to foster healthy relations that facilitate meaningful communications. The result is an increase in a child’s learning capabilities, which ultimately leads to a better quality of life.

How we do it

    In combination with Life Flow Signing Series flash cards, workshops (your location), seminars and 12 week programs for the classroom, we inform, educate and instruct on how sign language assists in development of the "whole child" in multiple ways. Sign language creates genuine two way communication unlike  anything else.  Communication is the foundation for learning. It provides a means for all children to interact.  The more children can feel confident with others more they interact, and the greater exposure they have to auditory processing.

    With this short cut for learning American Sign Language, you can learn just what you need for your child. The term “your child” could be the patient of a therapist, the student of a teacher, or the child of a parent.

    It works. And as a team, family, friends, and the extended list of professionals who take part in our child’s life can all play a vital role in their development.

Our Community

    We work with individual families and various disciplines such as health care institutions, public safety response teams, church groups, government, and nonprofit organizations. Workshops are customized to meet the needs of individual sectors and can be designed to address diverse applications.


Contact Us To Learn More

Workshop Testimonials:

"The Signing Autistic Lives workshop was excellent! Candice and Danielle help take the guesswork out of determining what signs to learn and teach to children. I especially like the suggestion of keeping a journal of the child's daily routine, favorite activities, and important people. This will help me decide which signs to focus on first. I highly recommend this training for educators and parents of special-needs children." -Rachel Crane, educator and parent of a child with Autism. "As a registered nurse in a different county I have been searching for a quick way to pick up just enough sign language to be able to help patients under my care.  This workshop was worth the money, time, and travel, the answer I had been looking for. It provided much more instruction and insight on basic ASL (American Sign Language) than I thought possible in the 3 1/2 hours.  I left the workshop totally excited and definitely feeling confident. Truly Life Changing for Everyone." -Sandy, Panama City "I enjoyed it so much!! You really provided us with fabulous resources, an excellent foundation, and I was so energized by your energy.  I love what you're doing, your mission, and your way of helping children." -Katie, Jacksonville Florida

Our Inspiration: Alex

A close-up of a young Alex at the beach. When Alex F. was 2, his parents began to notice changes in his behavior.  The previously engaged and sunny child became withdrawn and silent...
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News & Events

At every turn, our process is tailored to your child and family, with goals set by mutual agreement. Common goals include reducing inappropriate behaviors and increasing the use of spoken language...
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Our Work: Benefits of ASL

The Benefits of ASL “Research suggests that sign language offers children with autism extraordinary communicative, social, and behavioral benefits.” Dianne E. Berkell
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Transforming Communication for Children & Families Living With Autism

Signing Autistic Lives provides American Sign Language (ASL) instruction to facilitate communication and improve quality of life for autistic children and their families. Sign language is an empowering tool for creating genuine communication and providing a transition to spoken language for many autistic individuals. We break down the basics of American sign Language in a unique approach that allows everyone to begin signing immediately and create communication within the family, teachers, therapists, and friends,  that they never thought possible. We will guide you through the maze of available resources and help you understand the best resources available and how to use them. When children are able to express themselves, they are much more likely to seek out social interactions, and to be rewarded to doing so.” To learn more about what we can do for you, attend one of our workshops or seminars  or contact us to schedule an onsite workshop at a location of your choosing. You’ll be glad you did!