How to Teach: Signing about Pain

There are a few phases to teaching the signs for pain. In this lesson, we’ll find out what they are.

Phase One

Step One

When you recognize that they are in pain, do the sign for “pain” with your eyebrows up.

(This means “Are you in pain?”)

Step Two

Sign “pain” again with eyebrows in neutral, statement position. If you know where the pain is located (for example, if they fell and hit their knee) point to where the pain is (for example, point to their knee.)

Step Three (opt.)

If you do something to relieve the pain (for example, remove something that is pinching them) then sign “pain finished”

After you do this for a week, start phase two of teaching. In phase two, the steps are as follows.

Phase Two

Step One

When you recognize that they are in pain, sign the word for pain with raised, questioning eyebrows.

Step Two

Make them sign the sign. Help them form the sign with their hand until they can do it on their own.

Step Three

Sign the word for pain with neutral, statement eyebrow position.

Step Four

If you have done something that relieves the pain, then sign “pain finished” and make them sign it as well./blockquote>

This is the final phase. This begins after the child regularly signs in response to the signed question and, hopefully, uses that sign independently to express their want/need.

Phase Three

Step One

When you recognize that the child is in pain, sign “pain.” with raised, questioning eyebrows.

Step Two

Wait till they sign it before you cuddle them or try to relieve the pain.

Step Three

If you have done something that relieves the pain, sign “pain finished” and have them sign it as well. Once they understand, “pain finished” can also become a question by raising the eyebrows so you can ask them if whatever you did did in fact make the pain go away.

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