Using Signed Communication with Young Children and Families

10 Units

This course provides an examination of the contexts in which signed communication is used with young deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) children 0-3 years of age. The components of signed communication are investigated and pre-requisites for optimal language development described. Discussion of current approaches will include case-study examples and available resources. Note: this course does not include tuition in Auslan (or other signed communication method.) RIDBC Renwick Centre administers this course. Before enrolling in this course, review the RIDBC Renwick Centre Student Handbook at Compl.etion of this course requires attendance at a compulsory campus conference. Dates and venues of campus conferences are available in the RIDBC Renwick Centre Timetable located at

Faculty Faculty of Education and Arts
School School of Education
Availability Semester 2 - 2014 (WebLearn GradSchool)

Previously offered in 2013, 2012

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be expected to:

  1. Describe the features of gesture and sign in early language and communication;
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the role that interactive use of gestural communication plays in early language and cognitive development of young children;
  3. Summarise the theoretical perspectives on bilingual/bimodal approaches in early childhood intervention and education; and
  4. Demonstrate a range of strategies to support families in their early use of gesture and signed communication with young D/HH children.

Topics will include:

  • Review of early neurological, perceptual and communication development;
  • Gesture in parent-young child communication;
  • Consideration of case studies: Children in deaf and/or hearing family environments;
  • Family perspectives on alternative communication approaches;
  • Social correlates of using sign with D/HH young children;
  • Review of research on “baby sign” for hearing infants;
  • Review of research on sign-supported oral language development;
  • Supporting families who chose bilingual/bimodal communication;
  • Reading to babies who are D/HH: strategies to introduce signed communication/ language;
  • Design of early education programs using sign bilingual approaches; current models in early intervention;
  • Fostering bilingual/bimodal approaches in multidiscipinary teams; and
  • Resources for professionals and parents;
  • Using bimodal communication with deaf children with other needs
Replacing Course(s) Nil
Transition Nil
Assumed Knowledge All core courses in MSpecEd (D/HH) or demonstrated equivalent.
Assessment Items
  • Case Studies - Outline an early intervention program
  • Projects - Develop an Auslan resource for family or classroom learning
  • Quiz - On-line -
Contact Hours
  • Lecture: for 18 hour(s) per Term for Full Term
  • Self Directed Learning: for 9 hour(s) per Week for 13 weeks
  • Compulsory Course Component: Attendance at the scheduled campus conference is compulsory.
  • Requisite by Enrolment: Enrolment limited to Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies and Master of Special Education.
Timetable 2015 Course Timetables for EDUC68561

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