Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Nonverbal communication in children


The purpose of this literature and research review is to understand better the use of sign language and the importance of gestures to children in young early childhood. Children, even at the earliest ages, begin the process of effectively communicating with people and the environment around them. The beginning forms of communication originate in the form of body movements, also known as gestures. Sign language has been present in recorded history since the 16th century, and the first written records of it began in the 17th century. Sign language is most widely used with individuals who have hearing or speech impairments, as well as individuals communicating with those who have a hearing problem. When working with young children, either American Sign Language (ASL) can be used, or an adaptation of ASL sometimes called baby sign. There is speculation as to how ASL or baby sign can provide more connections and outlets for communication with young children. Some individuals believe that the incorporation of sign language, either in ASL or baby sign form, causes young children to be inhibited in development of their verbal skills and vocabularies. This literature review attempts to answer five questions regarding the use of gestures and sign language in young early childhood, as well as whether the incorporation of sign language into young early childhood environments is a benefit or hindrance to children in that environment.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Division of Early Childhood Education

First Advisor

Charles R. May

Second Advisor

Rebecca Edmiaston


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (49 leaves)



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