Sign languages are based on the idea that sight is a useful tool for some people to communicate and receive information. Sign languages therefore use hand shape, position, and movement; body movements; gestures; facial expressions; and other visual cues to form words.
There are many different sign languages including American Sign Language, British Sign Language and Makaton. Each of these languages is completely separate from spoken English. Each contains all the fundamental features a language needs to function on its own. For example, each has its own rules for grammar, punctuation, and sentence order.
Some sign languages (such as Sign Supported English) take the signs from another language (such as British Sign Language) and use them in the order that the words would be spoken in the spoken language (English).
Sign language is sometimes used, alone or alongside spoken word, to teach individuals with autism spectrum disorders to communicate.
This glossary is designed to explain some of the jargon and gobbledygook used by some people when they talk about autism or research..
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The fact that an intervention is listed in this glossary does not necessarily mean that we agree with its use. Nor does it necessarily mean that there is any scientifically valid or reliable evidence behind it.