Sign language is often thought of in the context of the d/Deaf community. However, there are many situations where sign language is beneficial to people who aren't Deaf or hard of hearing. There are a few intellectual and physical disabilities where research has shown that sign language can be beneficial in communication. Here's our list of reasons people use sign language other than hearing loss.

Boy holding hands with his mother and signing

1. Autism

Children with autism can struggle with the spoken language. Sign language is another option for communication. Research shows that sign language may help with speech development, social interaction and learning new words. Many signs are visually associated to the object they are referring to. These visual associations can help someone with autism communicate. 


2. Apraxia of Speech

Apraxia of Speech is a motor speech disorder which affects the messages from the brain reaching the mouth. This makes it difficult for a person to move their lips, tongue and says sounds correctly. Using both sign language and voicing to talk can help a person remember the motor process for that word. For someone with Apraxia of Speech sign language can benefit them emotionally and socially.


Young man with Down Syndrome laughing with his father

3. Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy can affect the way a person moves their mouth, jaw and head as well as the rest of their body. This can make speaking and eating quite difficult. Speech therapy along with sign language can help improve communication for a child with Cerebral Palsy.


4. Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome is a genetic condition caused by having an extra chromosome and causes some delay in development and some level of learning difficulty. Sign language can help babies, toddlers and children with Down Syndrome improve their communication skills. It can support in the development of expressive language, functional communication, and social skills. 

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