Signing in School

Rombouts, Ellen; Sheehy, Kieron; Buchanan-Mellon, Judith and Grove, Nicola (2019). Signing in School. In: Grove, Nicola and Launonen, Kaisa eds. Manual Sign Acquisition by Children with Developmental Disabilities. Nova Science.



The use of key word signing (KWS: see Appendix 1, this volume) is now accepted as common in schools, and indeed often regarded as an example of good, classroom practice in several countries around the world. This can mask the revolutionary nature of its introduction into schools for children with intellectual disabilities. In this chapter, we consider the history of sign use in special education, what is known about the use of signs – both reported and observed – and some of the factors which appear to influence the success of its introduction.
We draw on detailed findings dating back to the 1980s and 1990s, and consider what has changed and what has remained the same over the last forty years or so. These findings are cross cultural, from the UK and the Netherlands. Finally, we explore a particular model, the Reasoned Action Approach, which can help us to understand attitudes to, and adoption of, a total communication approach.

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