Over the past 40 years we have witnessed, Dr. Francine (Penny) Patterson, teach Sign Language as a way to communicate with a gorilla. Just because Koko cannot use verbal words as a basis of communication, didn’t mean that Koko didn’t have words to convey! The gorilla, being unable to verbally master the ability to talk was shown a way to communicate with sign language! What an impressive feat!
What can we all learn from Koko?
Koko knows 1000 Signs! She is able to express concepts of high-level thinking, judgement, organization, and even blame ( obviously understanding forethought). She conveys thoughts and emotions that we never conceived a gorilla could understand.
If we look at our special needs individuals, (Autism, Apraxia, Aphasia) or our adults with head injuries, or strokes we would understand that Sign Language could be an answer, to not only their communication but to their ability to understand in-depth concepts!
Concepts such as ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ are very difficult to teach and yet very ‘teachable’ when we add a visual cue. It ‘prepares’ the brain for what topic is being talked about next in a sentence.
If you have a need to facilitate communication or desire a basic understanding of signing take a look at our Functional Sign Language DVD. http://www.cognitive-connections.com/Brain-Shop/product/33-functional-sign-language-dvd-course
I believe, just as they have found with Koko, communication is a necessary part of feeling alive and connecting with one another.
Just another thought from Dr. Lise’