Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Sign language--Study and teaching (Early childhood); Nonverbal communication in infants;


Trying to figure out what an infant needs can be frustrating for the child's parents and caregivers. Around eight months of age, infants can start pointing at things they want and start to mimic hand motions from simple finger plays like Pat-a-Cake. In this study, Early Head Start teachers in one classroom went from using four sign language signs in the classroom to using 12 signs for five weeks. The teachers recorded how many times they used each of the 12 signs during interactions with the infants. They also recorded whether an infant repeated the sign when the teacher showed how to use the sign or if the infants used a sign independently. The teachers also talked to the families about whether they had seen any of the signs at home before and after the study. Between the 12- to 18-months old group and the 18- to 24-months old group there was an increase of signs used in the classroom. These groups showed an increase in both imitating teacher signing and using signs independently. There was also an increased use of signs at home reported by the parent and grandparents.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Linda May Fitzgerald


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 26 pages)



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