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Does anyone else sign with their kids??

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
I am a pediatric nurse and a mama to a 14 month old dd. I have used some sign language with kids who can't vocalize, because they are deaf, or because they have other issues. I noticed that in many of these kids, their language development is on par with threir vocalizing and hearing peers. When my dd was about 8 months old, we started to sign with her. We taught her 'nurse', 'more', 'all done' and later worked on 'eat'. We are trying to do 'help', but it is taking her a while to get that concept!!!
I have noticed how dd's ability to sign has prevented many a temper tantrum, or at least given me insight as to what the problem was.....
I am interested in hearing others experiences with sign language!!!
post #2 of 47

DD Loves to sign...

She really does love to sign. DD is 14 months and she knows signs for more (which to her means food I think), cat, dog, book, nurse, hat, and we are working on many more such as drink and all done. They are immensely helpful in her communication with us, she knows more, has more thoughts, than she can speak and she speaks actually quite a bit for her age. By signing she can express herself that much more. I have several friends who use sign with their toddlers too, and when I saw how expressive the kids could be I was sold. DD seems very pleased when we understand her signs. She eagerly learns new ones

I just got the book "Baby Signs" it is very helpful. It offers suggestions for many signs which are easy for toddler hands to make. I also have a book for kids to learn ASL (american Sign Language) but some of the signs are pretty complex for someone who can't even snap their fingers yet.

I think signing is great.
post #3 of 47
We started with our youngest dd around 8 months also.

I agree that it can help alleviate frustration. I also believe, in my daughters situation, it enhanced her ability to speak. She started saying her first words at 9-months-old. Granted there were only a couple words such a baby and balloon but her vocablulary has continued to increase at a surprising rate!

I am totally sold on baby signing!

Oh, keep up with the "help" sign. That seems to be a tough one but she'll surprise you one day and use it. I know with my dd I didn't catch it right away because I was so used to her not being able to sign it KWIM?
post #4 of 47
We sign too. Our little guy has down syndrome and is very speech delayed. I would go out of my mind if we were not able to communicate!!!!! He understands everything we say but cannot yet talk back; he can call mama or dada and that is about all.

But he signs about 30-40 words. He knows all the basic plus most animals --- he loves to read books about animals and he signs along . He is 3yo by the way. We started at about 1yo but I have met many moms who have started with a few simple signs earlier. I do believe it helps for a child to communicate in the pre-verbal stage. I've read that that is the usual cause for biting or tantrums (when they can't be understood) ............

Keep going - your children will be bilingual !
post #5 of 47
We do some signing with Logan as well. His speech seems to be a little delayed, a month ago (20 months old) he wasn't saying any words, just whining or grunting...

We started to sign with him ~ mostly "help", "eat", "juice/drink", and "more"...

Within a month, I kid you not, he has learned a whole slew of words ~ vocally! It is just amazing how much it has helped. He picked up the help sign right away, and it has cut back greatly on the many temper tantrums out of frustration.
post #6 of 47
We started signing with Emmanuel at about 9 months. It took a few months for him to really get going, but once he did, it was great! Signing not only let him communicate earlier, it made me talk to him more as I taught him the signs. It can sometimes be a little too easy to lapse into silence when you're one-on-one with a baby all day! He's almost 21 months now, and the signs are slipping away, but he seems more competent with verbal language now because of all those months of signing experience. It's great you're doing it with your little one.
post #7 of 47
we've used a few signs with kayli since she was 4 mo. at 6 mo she started signing "milk". it seems to mean milk, either breast or mama milk in a bottle, also food and yummy. we'll see how many more signs she picks up.
post #8 of 47
We signed with Marian (now 28 months) and will with Leo (11 weeks) as well. At 14 months, Marian had a vocabulary of about 15 spoken words and 50 signs. Shortly after that, she had such a vocabulary explosion that I no longer tried to keep a record. I am a friend of the local Deaf Community and the president of the ASL Club, so my kids are exposed to ASL outside the home as well. Marian is deifnitely bi-lingual and we are working on adding Spanish now...boy, I wish I'd had such a rich start in languages!
post #9 of 47
We hit signing hard when our dd, now 22 mo, was getting frustrated but wasn't able to vocalize her frustrations. She signs for more, food, drink, help, milk and down at this point. It has been a life-saver. Keep at it--it pays off.
post #10 of 47
OK I just had to post this signing story .....

Last night we were leaving the house, DD had a cracker in her hand. As I was locking the door she dropped it in the mud and of course starts whining for it. I looked, saw what happened, and was deciding what to do (give her a replacement, distract her, what should I do...)when she looked down at the cracker on the ground and made a sign I've been trying to teach her - "All Gone". Then she looked at other things of interest to her outside and dismissed the cracker without another whimper, all on her own.

I am so proud of her ! You never know when she is going to demonstrate that yes, she has been listening and watching me. All the work is paying off, I am so happy. Her little toddler signs are so cute too !

Just had to share this and say how proud I am of my truly DD

post #11 of 47
DD just started doing dog and nurse and bird!!! Could someboby describe the "help" sign for me, I had to give the BAbysigns book back to the library....I'm sooo excited about signing!Loved all your stories!
post #12 of 47
The 'help' sign is to pat your chest with both open palms.
We love signing with DS, 14 months. He can sign for more (food), drink, nurse, kitty, airplane, and is inventing many of his own I haven't figured out completely The best is that he doesn't get frustrated because we don't know what he needs, he just tells us!
post #13 of 47
Wow, I have to admit I am a tad envious reading all of your wonderful signing stories. I starting signing with Ben when he was around 8 mos. I regularly use milk, eat, more, all done, dog, drink and he has not picked up one sign at 15 mos. I had wonderful visions of signing blissfully with my toddler who would then have no reason to throw a temper tantrum due to our excellent communication. LOL!

But he does understand the signs and my spoken word, so I know he will be communicating to me soon. We did have one pretty cool breakthrough, I think. Ben loves hair. He is obsessed with brushing hair, touching hair, etc, which is funny since he doesn't have much more than some fuzz himself. One day I was blowdrying my hair and he looked at me and made a grabbing gesture at his hair. I took that as his first sign, and a self tought one at that. He uses it every now and then, but it's still pretty cool.

So to answer your question, yes I sign. Waiting anxiously for more signs back!

Jenn & Ben
post #14 of 47
Hey Bensmom

I just wanted to say your ds might just be storing it all up and then BAM decide one day to use the signs he knows so well.

That is great that he made up a sign and you recognized it and you both use it !

When we first started signing, we tried ASL (american sign language) signs, but I think they were too hard to make (or she was too young ???) but I now have the "babysigns" book and with those signs she picks it up much faster. I think the signs are just easier for her to make. Plus she sees toddlers in the book signing (it has lots of great pictures). I will show her a sign over and over, then when I've about given up she will out of the blue use it one day and make me so happy

Another helpful thing was to actually help her make the sign, by moving her hands gently to make it (if she'll let me).

Anyways...don't give up !!!

post #15 of 47
I LOVE the signing! We introduced it at 7 months. She is 22 months now and is both verbal with some words and still signs. It has really helped me to get in touch with her need and wants!
post #16 of 47
Yes, we sign with our 14 month old who we just adopted from Russia. She's picking it up quickly and it really seems to alieviate some frustrations over not being able to communicate her needs. I think it's a great thing to do!
post #17 of 47
My 16 mos old signs too. It has been a great help for us. I know that there are classes out there. Check with your local health dept. that's who runs the classes in my area.
post #18 of 47
We sign with our 14 month old. It is so cute and our friends are pretty impressed We started at about 8-9 months as well. Currently, she knows please, thank you, dog, hungry, drink, milk, all done, sleep and help . I initially used the BabySigns book, but found this website to be most helpful:


Along the left-hand column, under the signs category, there is a baby sign link.
post #19 of 47
We use signs! I was teaching them a few signs from what I remembered from ASL, then when I found out about Joseph Garcia's kit I bought it. My 2yo and 4yo sign and I'm sure that my 4 month old DD will soon be signing also. They consider it fun. We are still learning new words as they ask me "mommy, how do I say "?" in sign language?". They have incredible speech. Everyone was amazed at how quickly they were speaking and using words in complete sentences. From what I understand when you sign AND speak you increase their vocal communication skills, but when you ONLY sign their speech may be delayed. I always speak to my child while signing.

I enjoy signing with babies and toddlers. It really does eliminate the frustration and seems so natural. Babies learn pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, giving kisses and hugs, it's so easy to take all of that further and teach sign language. Seeing the look on their faces when they begin using a new sign, knowing that I understand what they are telling me is so awesome. This is truly amazing. We are now learning Spanish.

Hannah 4, Rebekah 2, Elizabeth 4 months
post #20 of 47
TupeloHoney...great link Thank you !! DD seems to be learning a couple 2-3 signs a week, I can really use new suggestions on signs (am running out of ideas)

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