Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Speech-Language Pathology


Vannesa Mueller Ph.D., CCC-SLP


Using ASL and/or gestures has been found to facilitate verbal language in hearing children and has become a new area of interest among researchers. Because socioeconomic status plays a role in behaviors and language development, this study was designed to target individuals from low socioeconomic backgrounds in the hopes of finding whether ASL or gestures were used more by their children, whether mothers are capable of promoting the use of ASL in the home environment, and whether ASL or gestures was preferred more by the mothers. Mothers were taught ASL signs based on the MacArthur Communicative Index and gestures in the form of fingerplays to interact with and teach their children. Measurements included counts of ASL signs and gestures produced by the children, self reported ratings of using ASL at home, and ratings of each condition by the mothers. It was found that most child participants produced a greater amount of ASL signs during the training session than gestures and mothers were capable of extending the training session into the home environment; however certain aspects of using ASL decreased as time post training increased. The mothers rated the ASL training session slightly higher than the gesture training session. This suggests that using ASL with children from low socioeconomic status may be an option to facilitate verbal language and potentially prevent language delays or disorders.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

51 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Vanessa Michelle Arreola