Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Nicola: The use of sign language with a blind, autistic child

  • 25 Accesses

Abstract

A treatment program employing the simultaneous use of speech and sign language with a ten-year-old, congenitally blind, autistic girl is presented. Simultaneous communication has been successfully used to train nonverbal autistic children to communicate. Although apparently inapplicable due to its reliance on visual cues, sign language, accompanied by speech, has also been used to train deaf-blind children. Thus far, however, it has not been applied to blind, autistic children. After eight months of training, Nicola was able to acquire a functional sign vocabulary of 19 signs. Treatment techniques, her progress through the program, and outcome are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Ainsworth, F. & Fulcher, L.C.Group care for children: Concept and Issues. London: Tavistock, 1981.

  2. Beker, J.Critical incidents in child care: A casebook New York: Behavioral Publications, 1972.

  3. Blank, H.R. Reflection on the special senses in relation to the development of affect with special emphasis on blindness.Journal of American Psychoanalytic Association 1975,23 32–50.

  4. Fraiberg, Selman.Insights from the blind. New York: Basic Books, 1977.

  5. Greenacre, P. Considerations regarding the parent-infant relationship,Emotional Growth, 1975,1, New York, International Universities Press, pp. 199–224.

  6. Keeler, W.R. Autistic patterns and affective communication in blind children with retrolental fibroplasia. In Hock, T. H. & Zubin, J. (Eds.),Psychopathology of Communication. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1958.

  7. Konstantareas, M. M., Hunter, D. S., and Sloman, L. Training a blind autistic child to communicate through sign.Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 1982,12 1–11.

  8. Konstantareas, M.M., Webster, C.D. & Oxman, J. Manual language acquisition and its influence on other areas of functioning in four autistic and autistic-like children.Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 1979,20 337–350.

  9. Mahler, M.S.Psychological birth of the human infant. New York: Basic Books, 1975.

  10. Nagera, Humberto, & Colonna, Alice, B. Aspects of the contribution of sight to ego and drive-development.Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 1965,20 267–287.

  11. Oxman, J. & Konstantareas, M. M., On the nature of variability of linguistic impairment in autism.Clinical Psychology Review 1981,1 337–352.

  12. Piaget, J.The Origins of Intelligence in Children. New York: International Universities Press Inc., 1952.

  13. Redl, F. & Wineman, D.The Aggressive Child. New York: The Free Press, 1957.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to D. S. Hunter.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hunter, D.S. Nicola: The use of sign language with a blind, autistic child. Child Youth Care Forum 12, 321–336 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01115475

Download citation

Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Treatment Program
  • Functional Sign
  • Sign Language
  • Autistic Child