Available in 2018
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course provides an examination of the contexts in which signed communication is used with young deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) children 0-3 years of age. The components of signed communication are investigated and prerequisites for optimal language development described. Discussion of current approaches will include case-study examples and available resources. Note: this course does not include tuition in Auslan (or other signed communication method).

Availability2018 Course Timetables

WebLearn GradSchool

  • Semester 2 - 2018

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe the features of gesture and sign in early language and communication;

2. Demonstrate an understanding of the role that interactive use of gestural communication plays in early language and cognitive development of young children;

3. Summarise the theoretical perspectives on bilingual/bimodal approaches in early childhood intervention and education; and

4. Demonstrate a range of strategies to support families in their early use of gesture and signed communication with young D/HH children.


Topics will include:

  • Review of early neurological, perceptual and communication development;
  • Gesture in parent-young child communication;
  • Consideration of case studies: Children in deaf and/or hearing family environments;
  • Family perspectives on alternative communication approaches;
  • Social correlates of using sign with D/HH young children;
  • Review of research on "baby sign" for hearing infants;
  • Review of research on sign-supported oral language development;
  • Supporting families who chose bilingual/bimodal communication;
  • Reading to babies who are D/HH: strategies to introduce signed communication/ language;
  • Design of early education programs using sign bilingual approaches; current models in early intervention;
  • Fostering bilingual/bimodal approaches in multidiscipinary teams; and
  • Resources for professionals and parents;
  • Using bimodal communication with deaf children with other needs


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies programs (11008 or 12365) or Master of Special Education programs (10936, 12356, or 40014).

Assumed knowledge

All core courses in MSpecEd (D/HH) or demonstrated equivalent.

Assessment items

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Essays/Written Assignments - Case Study

Project: Essays/Written Assignments - Projects

Quiz: Online quiz

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Lecture: Attendance Requirement - Students must attend a minimum number of these sessions. - Attendance at the scheduled campus conference is compulsory.

Contact hours

WebLearn GradSchool


Online 18 hour(s) per Term Full Term

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 9 hour(s) per Week for 13 Weeks