Is it too late to teach sign?? - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-20-2009, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a one-year-old who I have never done any signing with, but I am beginning to think it might be a good idea. She was pretty early with her physical milestones (walking at 10 months) but still only says three words - Mummy, Dada, and hi.

She has taken to yelling when she wants something, and it is LOUD. She babbles a lot, but if there is something she needs/wants it is just "AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!" until she gets it.

I know it is her only effective way of communicating right now so I try not to get angry about it, but boy is it making me crazy. So I am thinking some signs might help. Is it too late? I know a lot of people start with infants.

My DF didn't speak until he was three (at which point he starting speaking in full sentences) so he is worried that she is going to be delayed with language. I am not worried because she has spent a lot of energy with her physical milestones, understands a lot of what we are saying and does have three words, but I figure if just in case she is delayed in speech the signing would help then too.

Thoughts? Has anyone taught signing to a young toddler?

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Old 07-20-2009, 05:25 PM
 
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It is definitely not too late. My SIL and nephew took a signing class when he was 12 months and it went great. We signed very little in the first year and it has really taken off in the second (we watch the Signing Times videos now that DS is 2).
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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Not too late at all! I tried to start early with DS, but he didn't start signing til about 11 months, and even then, not much that was helpful. Now he's getting it more and more, and is speaking more words, too, but the signs help him distinguish what he really wants. (He says "more" whenever he wants something to eat or drink, but he can sign "milk" and "water" so he says "more" and signs which one he wants. It really helps, since "more" + no sign means "food"!)
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Old 07-20-2009, 07:43 PM
 
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No way! You should totally start! In fact, at this age he'll probably start to pick up signs really quickly.
We started at four months with DS, but at around one his baby-friends were learning signs from him with no prior experience. Just yesterday, a one-year-old I babysit for learned the "more" sign in an afternoon!
And a lot of people don't start at this age because they figure "oh, well they'll be talking soon enough anyway." But DS is 2 and has a ton to say, but you can only understand about half of it. The signs are still really useful. Plus, I can talk to him across a room or when someone else is sleeping and we need to be quiet.
I don't know if you do tv, but I highly recommend the Signing Time videos (baby signing time especially.) Also, the ASL browser is really useful in looking up individual signs that you son is particularly interested in. (cars or animals or in my son's case, fans and lights. )
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:42 PM
 
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I do not think there is ever a time limit with signing. I think with practice anyone can use it and learn it easily!

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Old 07-21-2009, 12:57 AM
 
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No way! I didn't start signing with DD1 on a regular basis until after she turned one -- she picked it up verrrry quickly!

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Old 07-21-2009, 04:41 AM
 
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Not at all! I started signing with Micah at 6 months, but he didn't really start picking it up until a little after he turned one. He is now a little over two and still uses the signs. It is definitely helpful in understanding what it wants, but it also helped him to learn colors and communicate his own ideas. He has so many signs I don't even know how many there are!

Rebekah , single working mom to Micah (04.12.2007)
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:02 AM
 
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I would absolutely positively go for it!!! Once your daughter understands that she is able to communicate with you through signs she will pick them up very quickly! I started teaching my daughter signs at 9months, but kind of stuck to the basics until 15months or so (maybe closer to 18months). Since then I have been teaching her new signs on a regular basis and it only takes her seeing the new sign one or two times and she's using it.

My daughter is about to celebrate her second birthday next Friday!!! A lot of people asked me about her 'delay in speech' (she wasn't talking much at 18months, people thought she should) but as soon as she hit about 20months she has been babbling non stop and is actually saying a lot. It also takes her only one or two times of hearing the word and she's using it!

I talk A LOT with my daughter...anything she has ever pointed at, looked at, shown any interest in whatsoever I expand on. I read to her, and now after waking up the first thing she requests is a book....not read by me, she enjoys sitting in her crib and reading on her own!

Research wise there is no proof that I have found that teaching sign delays speech. Because you are able to understand what it is the child wants, you are both less frustrated, and able to communicate back and forth. For the last year that my daughter has used signs and how many temper tantrums we have missed because she could tell me what she wanted, it was worth it!

Good luck on your journey! I've done a presentation on sign language so I know of some good online resources...PM me and I can email you the list if you're interested
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:56 AM
 
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I didn't really start with my DD until 1yr.....and it's amazing how many signs she knows now and how quickly she picked up them

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Old 07-21-2009, 11:03 AM
 
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Absolutely Not! We started early but really started getting into it lately @ 18 mo!
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That is so good to hear! The rational side of me understands that lots of people with hearing impairment learn to sign long after infancy, but I was still concerned that we didn't start earlier.

I just really, really need to make the screaming stop. I am hoping that giving her a method of communication will help before my head splits in two. I talk to her all day long as well but she just isn't ready to start mimicing speach quite yet.

Thanks!

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Old 07-21-2009, 12:24 PM
 
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Definitely start now. Friends of ours took their 21 mo old to EI for an eval for not talking and they recommended that they start signing because it would help him communicate (obviously) and eliminate the frustration that might further delay his speaking. FTR this child's dad had also not started talking until 3. The child was speaking fine long before 3. Once he started he caught up really quickly.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have our first sign! And it is, of course, "more".

I have been doing a number of different ones with her, but she has picked up "more" before anything else. Yay!

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Old 07-21-2009, 09:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just_lily View Post
We have our first sign! And it is, of course, "more".

I have been doing a number of different ones with her, but she has picked up "more" before anything else. Yay!
Yay!! : Just keep giving her more and more signs. The worst thing I ever did was give Micah too few, and it took a little more time for him to connect the hand motions with the words. They are like little sponges, the more, the merrier.

Rebekah , single working mom to Micah (04.12.2007)
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:19 PM
 
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Yay! Great news. I agree not to do too few... they say not to do too many at once, to just focus on a few main ones, and that makes sense, but at the same time they learn spoken language all at once, they just naturally pick out their most important words first on their own.

However, it probably is faster to focus on just a few at a time, just be sure to keep adding them as soon as they pick them up.

We also signed with DD as an infant, she didn't show signs of understanding until around 12mo and didn't sign back until at least 13mo, and that was just one word (the ubiquitous 'more' lol...)

By 18mo she had over 70 signs! And was just starting to talk.

I always recommend the "My Baby Can Talk" videos. They're not overloaded with needlessly-complicated songs and active images like Signing Times -- they're very simple. A word, the sign, various scenes showing that word (eg, for 'dog' there are scenes of real dogs running in a field, stuffed toy dogs, moving toy dogs, etc). Intercut with the dogs are repeats of the sign being demonstrated with a simple explanation "tap your leg as though calling a dog", both by an adult and by a toddler. This is VERY helpful to the parent, as it shows how your baby might do a sign "half-right" but it's still the sign.

DD is 2.5 and still LOVES to watch her signing videos!

Anyway, the main reason I wanted to post was this:

Quote:
My DF didn't speak until he was three (at which point he starting speaking in full sentences) so he is worried that she is going to be delayed with language.
Why would that make him worried? Does he consider himself "delayed"? Unless he's still years behind his peers in speech, unless he had obvious struggles throughout his school years... what does it matter if he started at 18mo or 3yo?

For the record, my brother did the same thing. Never said a word, age 3 started complete sentences. We interpreted it as him just being a very analytical perfectionist. It had nothing to do with any lack of development or "delay" or intelligence or whatever. He just wanted to have this talking-thing COMPLETELY figured out before he did it himself, none of this messing-around with silly mispronounciations and imprecise grammar nonsense lol...

And that IS his personality. He's an accountant, an analyst of sports stats (ie, he writes articles for journals on the pros and cons of various analytical systems...), a creator of RPG variants -- anything with LOADS of details and meticulous complex systems, he's a pro.

Heather, mom to Caileigh 12/06 and aspie ADHD prodigy David 05/98 :intact lact
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Old 07-22-2009, 02:32 AM
 
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I'd say if adults can learn sign language at their stage of late development, babies certainly can

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Old 07-22-2009, 03:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ShyDaisi View Post
Yay!! : Just keep giving her more and more signs. The worst thing I ever did was give Micah too few, and it took a little more time for him to connect the hand motions with the words. They are like little sponges, the more, the merrier.
I totally agree! I had planed to only teach DS a few signs at first so he didn't get overwhelmed. my sister asked me "you wouldn't SPEAK just a few WORDS to him until he understood them, would you?" So we went whole hog and DS knew 120 signs at 18 months! (and that's because I didn't know any more words to teach)
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Why would that make him worried? Does he consider himself "delayed"? Unless he's still years behind his peers in speech, unless he had obvious struggles throughout his school years... what does it matter if he started at 18mo or 3yo?

For the record, my brother did the same thing. Never said a word, age 3 started complete sentences. We interpreted it as him just being a very analytical perfectionist. It had nothing to do with any lack of development or "delay" or intelligence or whatever. He just wanted to have this talking-thing COMPLETELY figured out before he did it himself, none of this messing-around with silly mispronounciations and imprecise grammar nonsense lol...

And that IS his personality. He's an accountant, an analyst of sports stats (ie, he writes articles for journals on the pros and cons of various analytical systems...), a creator of RPG variants -- anything with LOADS of details and meticulous complex systems, he's a pro.
The short answer is that he is a first time dad, and he worries. No matter what I tell him he still worries.

He is an intelligent man, but has a form of mild dyslexia that resulted in him struggling a lot in school. Who knows for sure if that is related to his speech delay, but in his head it is. So for him, in his head, speech delay = learning disability = awful time in school.

The trigger for him to start speaking was when his younger brother was born. The first thing he ever said was "Oh mummy, is this your new baby?" when his dad took him for a visit in the hospital.

But, we learned a new sign this morning. "All done!" Signing is awesome!

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

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Old 07-22-2009, 12:49 PM
 
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We do most of our signing while at the table eating; More, all done, full, etc...
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Old 07-22-2009, 05:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hannybanany View Post
No way! I didn't start signing with DD1 on a regular basis until after she turned one -- she picked it up verrrry quickly!
same here. we started signing at 14 months, and by the time she was 18-19 months, she had about 75 signs.

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Old 07-22-2009, 07:17 PM
 
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Our ds is 17 mos and we continue to add signs to his "vocabulary". It's important to start not when to start.

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Old 07-22-2009, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, now this really floored me tonight. The kid was in her highchair having some dinner when the screaming started. So I asked her "Do you want more [with sign] or all done [with sign]?" And she signed AND SAID "All done!" She has never said that before! So apparently I am teaching my kid sign and speech all at once. Who knew?

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

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Old 07-23-2009, 02:50 AM
 
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I found that to happen a lot as Micah was learning. Most of his signs have had either the word or a sound accompanying them. I am glad she is doing so well!

Rebekah , single working mom to Micah (04.12.2007)
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Old 07-23-2009, 06:47 AM
 
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Hi, I'm new here =) Just signed up.

I was wondering where do ya'll get info on signing, I mean how do you learn the signs, in books, videos? I'd LOVE to teach my 18 month old who isn't into talking just yet... but I see something new from him every day! Hopefully soon! I don't have a clue what sings would mean what LOL

Any recommendations will be helpful!
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Old 07-23-2009, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just googled.

But this site has just about every sign you would ever want, and even has videos so you can see the sign "in action".

http://www.handspeak.com/

The important thing to remember is that your child probably won't do the exact sign back to you, so you have to work with what they are doing. The goal is communication, not perfect technique.

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

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Old 07-23-2009, 01:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Natalichka View Post
Hi, I'm new here =) Just signed up.

I was wondering where do ya'll get info on signing, I mean how do you learn the signs, in books, videos? I'd LOVE to teach my 18 month old who isn't into talking just yet... but I see something new from him every day! Hopefully soon! I don't have a clue what sings would mean what LOL

Any recommendations will be helpful!
First off, and

Glad you've come to MDC!

Anyways, Google works great, and check amazon for basic sign books that don't costs a fortune. The board book I linked to is our personal favorite because it's chunky but has a lot of good info. My DH is deaf, so it's a little different for our family, but I'm a huge baby sign fanatic as it's just so awesome! I love having a brand new 1yo that can tell me EXACTLY what she wants for snack, or what animal she wants to see at the zoo, or that she's tired and wants daddy, or whatever.

HTH!

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