SignWise for Kids reviews a range of products including apps, DVDs, books, and websites that include sign language and deaf-related products designed for children from ages 0-8 and their families. These are included in our reviews.  

REVIEW CATEGORIES

The focus of the review is on accuracy and clarity* of sign language. The review covers each section if applicable: 

  • ASL grammar
  • ASL vocabulary  
  • pictures/videos
  • manual alphabet (fingerspelling),
  • storytelling or presentation structures  
  • bilingualism**

*Clarity includes fluency in the production of signs. The reviewers also look at whether or not the background, color, and quality aid or interfere with comprehension.  

**Bilingualism:  the focus is on the accurate translation of both languages (i.e., whether the languages shown are semantically and conceptually accurate, and the concepts presented in English and ASL are similar.)

PROPER REPRESENTATION OF DEAF PEOPLE AND COMMUNITY

The reviews will include comments about whether or not the proper representation of deaf people and the community are shown in the product if applicable. Some examples include if the product portrays deaf characters in an appropriate way, use appropriate labels to talk about them, and/or give the community credit instead of appropriating their culture for the product's gain. They are not included in the review score because the main focus of SignWise for Kids is on the quality of sign language in the products.  

FEATURES

For each product, the reviewers share what features the products (e.g., interactive features, subtitles, other languages, worksheets, etc). 

RATINGS:

What do the Numbers Mean? 

5 points: The signer is clear and fluent. The flow is good. There are no errors in signing or facial expressions. Simultaneous-Communication (sim-com), speaking and signing, is not used and both languages are presented separately. The concepts expressed through translations are correct (the meaning in sign language matches the text and vice versa).

4 points: There are two or more errors in grammar, vocabulary (e.g., phonological errors), or fingerspelling and/or storytelling components (e.g., role-shifting). There are some concerns about editing or usage, but this does not greatly interfere with comprehension. Illustrations are good.

3 points: There are four or more errors in grammar, vocabulary (e.g., phonological errors), or fingerspelling and/or storytelling components (e.g., role-shifting). Sim-Com is used in some places, but not all the time.

1-2 Points: Do not bother--too many errors to count. Sim-Com is used extensively. The illustrations are not clear and they interfere with comprehension. The language errors are substantial.

DISCLOSURE POLICY

The United States Federal Trade Commission requires that we disclose any relationship that we have with the products we review. 

1. The Signwise for Kids website was designed and created by Melissa Herzig, the Director of Translation in Science of Learning Lab (TL2)  at Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2), the Science of Learning Center at Gallaudet University. VL2 also collaborates on app development. VL2 will disclose if any of our products are reviewed in the future. The reviewer of the product will not be a member of VL2.  

Remaining Policy Statement:    

2. We are never paid to give a positive review of any product. Like most review sites, we do accept complimentary copies of the products we review. We also have a service for developers that want their products to be reviewed for a fee, but we will still adhere to the same standards for objectivity. 

3.     All of our reviews are based on our own experience and evaluation of the products. As a result, the views and opinions expressed here are purely our own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the company that developed it.

If you want more information, contact us at signwise4kids@gallaudet.edu.

This policy was established May 9, 2016

Updated on February 2018