No, most of us are not clumsy. We can walk, handle objects, wave and smile. Sometimes even at the same time. But all of this, we do automatically. When you make us aware of our hands, our fingers, our bodies: then we slow down. Make us aware of our facial expression and we freeze. We feel your eyes on us, we feel the eyes of others on us. We become nervous, freeze, blush. If we move at all, we move like a rusty robot! Or we run. Signing in front of a mirror? Some of us love it, some of us hate it!
What might work:
- Use ‘mirror’ signing, to help us unfreeze. Not with a real mirror, but: you sign, we ‘mirror’ what you do. Make us focus on you, not on our own fingers, hands, faces. If standing across from you is too difficult, and we confuse left and right, or we are too embarrassed to look at you: do this side by side. Or: do it with the whole class.
Never mind if it’s not perfect, just get us to move without thinking, more or less automatically. Fine-tuning comes later.