Signing Time Apple App

June 1, 2011

There are many sign language apps available and several which are targeted toward helping young children. I have recently been working with a few young children who are using signs/gestures to facilitate the development of expressive language.  I have also been helping a couple of speech-language pathologists explore apps to help make speech therapy more fun and everyone has really been enjoying this app when I show it to them.

 Signing time app

Lately, I find myself using Signing Time app the most often. It was produced by Rachel Colemen. According to her website, prior to producing this series of products, Rachel was writing music and performing with her folk rock band. She then had a child who at the age of 14 months was found to be deaf. She mmediately began to study American Sign Language and to teach it to her daughter. As it says on her blog, by the time her daughter was 18 months old, her sign language vocabulary far surpassed the spoken vocabulary of hearing children her same age. Rachel had a second daughter who was born with spina bifida and cerebral palsy. Rachel was told this daughter would never speak, but after much work- after two years of no communication, Rachel’s second daughter Lucy began to sign along with Signing Time, despite her physical challenges. Shortly thereafter, Lucy started talking. At age five, Lucy attended mainstream Kindergarten, something Rachel never imagined possible.

The application contains a collection of 48 flash cards with  accompanying video demonstrations and an explanation of how to perform the sign and tips on how to remember it. It also includes very engaging music videos. After watching the videos a couple of times they begin to learn the signs and are stimulated to use their voices to interact with what they see on the screen.

From the main menu, users can search a list of signs or type in a word. There are only basic signs included. Other apps are more appropriate for more extensive dictionaries. A unique feature of this app is that there is a challenge section in which you select one of 4 possible meanings of the pictured sign. Progress can be tracked.

Other Sign Language apps I have used include:

Baby Sign

Baby Signing

Smart hands

iSign

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