"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Sign Language

A few Sundays ago we were watching old family movies with the kids. They decided they wanted to see Princess Sparkley at Baby X's age, about 15 or 16 months. I was amazed at how much she talked. Was it a first kid thing that she was so smart? Or a girl thing that she spoke so early? I don't know. Part of what made it so shocking is that Buddy had delayed speech (I wrote about it here) and spoke so late that it seemed impossible to me that PS, or any little kid, could talk at such a young age. I can tell that Baby X is on the same path of delayed speech that Buddy was. I'm not going to worry, since Buddy now talks up a storm. And, according to my mom, he is easier to understand on the phone now than PS since she talks too fast (where could she get that from?).

We taught Princess Sparkley a few signs as a baby because my sister had taught her little girl who was older and it was cute. It's helpful for the baby to have a way to communicate before they can speak. We taught PS a bunch of signs, but the main ones were: please, more, all done, all gone and milk. She learned them because she was a baby prodigy, but for the most part, she was able to speak as soon as she was able to learn the signs so it wasn't really needed.

Buddy didn't really do much aside from the occassional "words" and a lot of grunting until he was two. Signs were great for him. One of my favorite videos of him is when he's about 14 months old standing at the fridge frantically signing "please" (rubbing your hand on your chest) because he knew the blueberries were in there.

Knowing how well sign language worked for Buddy, and since we were planning on using it with all of our kids a little bit, even before we decided Baby X had delayed speech as well, we started trying to teach Baby X signs. He wouldn't learn them. He's been really quick at things like rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, walking, but smaller motor skills like waving and clapping, he was slow on. He just barely started waving regularly a month ago. So we've been super excited this week and last as he's finally started to sign to us. He knows please (rubbing your hand on your chest), more (knocking your pinching fingers together), all done (raising hands in the air like the call for touchdown-- although I don't think this is technically ASL) and, unrelated, he'll finally point to his nose when I ask him where his nose is. Hooray!

Well, this entire post was really just to tell you about these great signing helps. We love these videos. Even my two older kids really enjoy them. Buddy, especially comes running if he hears the theme song. The videos mix sign language with music and songs. For those of you in the loop as far as LDS things go, Rachel Coleman, who started these videos with her sister, is LDS and the daughter of Lex de Azevedo who has done a lot in church music for EFY and such, I believe.* In the behind the scenes part of the dvd, she talks about how sign language can be effective for any child, not just a deaf child because it enables them to communicate before they can talk preventing tantrums and fits. Even with Baby X he grunts and grunts with these long stories and I can tell he's frustrated that he can't just tell us.

You can check out some of the videos here.

These board books are great. We have four of them: My First Baby Signs, Baby Signs for Mealtime, Baby Signs for Animals and Baby Signs for Bedtime.

Sign with your Baby by Joseph Garcia

I use this book mainly for its glossary of signs in the back.

*Plus, for a personal connection, the two kids in the video are Leah, Rachel's deaf daughter, and Alex, her hearing nephew. Alex's dad grew up with my sister and sister-in-law and when Jed and I were first married, we were in Alex's grandparents' ward. My kids think this is awesome.

1 comment:

Mormon Scientist said...

We tried teaching our daughter to sign a little, but gave up because she started talking.

A word on delayed speech, I had it really bad. My parents took me to all sorts of experts to no avail. Eventually, I did start talking but I had a horrible stutter... this lasted for about a year until I learned to swear by watching Back to the Future. My mom recalls me saying with emphasis over the dinner table "Mom, please pass the damn doughnuts!"

I have read that delayed speech may be the result of strong development in other areas of the brain, like those that facilitate abstract thought processes and creativity. I tend to believe it, as I still have awkward speech and a strong inclination to math and science.

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