Before children can communicate with adults or with each other, they must be able to receive and send messages. To develop the child's ability to be both guided by sign/word sequences and to use the sign/word to guide or influence the behavior of others, the child participates with each concept on the SSLP as it goes though two sequences: An interweaving to blend sign with action or object, and a command sequence. As the child makes the sign (with help) while watching the sign interweave with its referent, he or she begins to experience both the sign and the word accompanying it as related to their object or event. More precisely, the child begins to experience his or her hand gestures as invested with the meaning of the referent. Then, during the command sequence—also from the child's perspective—the child has opportunity to observe the effect of the sign on another person portrayed in the SSLP. Subsequent sequences show the sign being used effectively at right angles to the observing child and, eventually, directly opposite the child in the face-to-face form that takes place in everyday communication.
The intent with these sequences is to help the child understand that the sign/word retains its significance no matter what orientation it has with regard to the child. Once the child experiences both interwoven and command sequences for a particular concept on the SSLP, the teacher turns the child away from the monitor so that the child can begin to learn that the intentions conveyed in the SSLP are effective not only in the program but with adults and children in the real world.
For further information on the SSLP the reader is referred to Miller and Eller-Miller (1989) and to www.cognitivedesigns.com.
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