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Basic Sign Language

Maybe it’s because my kids are teens and tweens now, but I feel like I don’t hear as many parents talking about sign language anymore. When they were babies and toddlers, it was a trend to teach basic sign language to all babies, not just those with hearing or other impairments.

We knew that Kevin’s verbal expressive language would be slow to develop, and he was able to develop a few signs as a baby. Then when we were using them with him, Brian picked them up on his own just by observing us with Kevin. He used signs for ‘more’ and ‘eat’ and ‘I want’ before he could walk or talk.

Now that I have had both boys home for six months, and no end on the horizon, we are emphasizing sign language again with Kevin. We are using his PECS pictures too, but they are not always readily available.

So it’s back to basics for us. He’s pretty good at “more” and “finished/all done” but I wanted to have something handy for other basic words and concepts.

Basic Sign Language Flashcards

Here are the basic sign language flashcards. They include:

  1. all done/finished
  2. don’t
  3. eat
  4. friends
  5. help
  6. hello
  7. hungry
  8. like
  9. me
  10. more
  11. no
  12. play
  13. please
  14. stop
  15. thank you
  16. toilet
  17. want
  18. water
  19. what
  20. when
  21. where
  22. who
  23. why
  24. yes
  25. you

I have both a color version of these flash cards and black and white.

As always, connect with your child’s team before implementing any new programs. Many kids with learning disabilities struggle with the “W” questions and words, so I wouldn’t necessarily start with those until your child is ready.

Sign Language Flashcards-Color

Sign Language Flashcards-Black and White

Don’t miss these other posts that I have with Sign Language Flashcards and Coloring Books.


  • Fine Motor Skills-Games, crafts and coloring activities are a great way to use and practice a child’s fine motor skills.
  • Speech and Language– Many parents seek out a language-rich environment for their child. Any activity can be an opportunity to use and repeat new words and language, mimicking sounds, new vocalizations and articulations.
  • Executive Functioning Skills– Depending on the game or activity, it can be an opportunity to practice executive functions such as working memory, sequencing, following directions, task initiation and more.
  • Handwriting and Fluency- This piggybacks onto the language skills a child needs, but with worksheets, coloring pages and games, they can be a low-risk opportunity to practice handwriting and fluency.
  • Practicing Previously Acquired Skills-Applying already acquired skills across all environments, bring the classroom teaching into the real world.
  • Sensory-Textures, sounds, taste, vestibular, interoception, anything!
  • Social Awareness-Practice traditional social skills in a safe environment, such as: joint attention, taking turns, reciprocating conversation, waiting politely, and more.
  • Gross Motor-If you’re in a new place, practice walking across uneven surfaces, new surfaces, inclines & declines, stairs, or increasing endurance.

ASL and your IEP

If you or your child uses ASL or sign language, or, you wish for them to use ASL, there are a few things you should know.

  • ASL is the 4th most common language used in the USA (know this as a reference point, in case you hear “well no one really uses ASL anymore”)
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing and ASL is one of the Special Factors on the IEP, which means that the IEP team must consider and discuss this.
  • If you use ASL as a parent, but your child is not deaf or hard of hearing, the school must provide an ASL interpreter if you request it (for IEP meetings, etc). The rule still applies that all communication with the parent must be in a language that you understand.
  • If your child is deaf, the team must still consider LRE or Least Restrictive Environment. A district cannot send a child to a school for the deaf just because they are deaf. All other options must be considered and discussed.
  • As always, submit your parental concerns in writing, follow up with a PWN.

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