Training in the use of signs and AAC

Sign- and communication training is a form of statutory support course to be offered to the handicapped by the municipality. Specialists should tell patients about it and also document the need in plans and in speech therapy reports. The families apply for the teaching from the office for social affairs in their municipality. Once granted, it is free of charged for the family. We offer training within the capital area of Helsinki for families that speak or understand Finnish, Swedish, English, French or German. We use Finnish and Fenno-Swedish (suèdophone) signs. If the need is urgent, we can teach Swedish signs. Our focus is not on teaching sign language, but to teach signs as support and to be used in parallel to spoken language and/or other means of alternative or augmentative communication methods (AAC). We do not teach the International, American, French etc sign languages. However, if you are acquainted to one sign language, learning another one is not that difficult.

The training encompasses, depending on the situation, signs, signed talk, augmentative and alternative communication methods (symbols, lo-tech/hi-tech aids). In spite of being statutory, the training, however, occurs ‘allowances permitting’. A good municipality knows the needs of its handicapped citizens and budgets accordingly. We offer support and training to gravely speech impaired persons and non-talkers, primarily to autistic children with (or without) developmental delay and their caregivers. Time permitting, we offer training to adults, too.

Normally, 50 hours p.a. is granted. The need is the double if both (support) sign- and symbol communication training is needed and/or aid is being used. There’s a need for continuous training.

We offer sign training for so called normal families, aiming at better speech and communication ability for babies and toddlers, especially for bilingual families.

We offer students, personnel and public servants training and consultation in the proper use on AAC in all activities of daily life. For experienced staff, too.