Does anyone else sign with their kids?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 47 Old 05-17-2002, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!!!
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#2 of 47 Old 05-17-2002, 01:45 AM
 
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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.
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#3 of 47 Old 05-17-2002, 08:12 AM
 
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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?
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#4 of 47 Old 05-17-2002, 08:24 AM
 
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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 !
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#5 of 47 Old 05-17-2002, 02:39 PM
 
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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.
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#6 of 47 Old 05-17-2002, 11:18 PM
 
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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.
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#7 of 47 Old 05-18-2002, 11:31 PM
 
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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.
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#8 of 47 Old 05-20-2002, 12:46 AM
 
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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!
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#9 of 47 Old 05-20-2002, 02:38 AM
 
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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.
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#10 of 47 Old 05-23-2002, 02:00 PM
 
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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

OM
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#11 of 47 Old 05-26-2002, 06:14 PM
 
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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!
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#12 of 47 Old 05-26-2002, 10:36 PM
 
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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!
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#13 of 47 Old 05-27-2002, 09:32 AM
 
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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

Jenn, perpetually tired mom to DS(9): DD(4.5): DD(2) :
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#14 of 47 Old 05-27-2002, 12:14 PM
 
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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 !!!


OM
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#15 of 47 Old 05-27-2002, 12:36 PM
 
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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!
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#16 of 47 Old 05-27-2002, 02:13 PM
 
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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!
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#17 of 47 Old 05-28-2002, 01:07 PM
 
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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.
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#18 of 47 Old 05-29-2002, 04:03 PM
 
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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:

http://dww.deafworldweb.org/asl/

Along the left-hand column, under the signs category, there is a baby sign link.
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#19 of 47 Old 05-30-2002, 01:51 AM
 
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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.

Starlyn
Hannah 4, Rebekah 2, Elizabeth 4 months
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#20 of 47 Old 05-30-2002, 04:59 PM
 
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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)

OM
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#21 of 47 Old 05-31-2002, 11:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is smarter than we are!!!
For a week DD has been signing 'all done' then 'more'. we were very confused!!! Yesterday, she ended by signing 'eat'. Then I got it, she was saying that her food was all gone, and that she wanted more to eat!!!!
DD (15 months) seemed very pleased that we figured it out!!!!!!
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#22 of 47 Old 06-01-2002, 01:28 PM
 
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WOW thats pretty complex thinking !!

You never really know whats going on in their cute little heads...I can practically see her brain grow sometimes !

so smart !
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#23 of 47 Old 10-09-2002, 01:56 AM
 
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BensMom... my ds is 15 mo and just now really gets some good signing. We have been signing to him since he was about 9 mo and he is just now really signing.

We use the ASL for Milk, all gone, what..., please (use this one for help please too, much easier than "help" for him) and I'm trying to do more...

What should we try next? What are your children signing now?
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#24 of 47 Old 10-09-2002, 02:43 AM
 
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We use BSL with our girls too.It really has been very helpful to us.Like OM said,it has helped keep frustrated tantrums down alot.When I cant understand what they are telling my by voice,they sign it and we are all happy.opps baby up.
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#25 of 47 Old 10-09-2002, 12:33 PM
 
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I'm so glad to see all your stories! I've been signing with my 2 year old for over a year and I can't imagine life without it. He knows so many signs and uses them interchangably with talking.

As you all mentioned, tantrums are very rare and communicating with their little learning brains is incredible. We had another surprising benefit to signing. He recently developed a benign tumor and had to see a pediatric specialist. At our doctor appointment, he solomnly signed to the doctor where it hurted and shook his head no when the doctor signed if it hurted while pointing to other areas. It was amazing and the doctor was blown away. It is so comforting when faced with a scary situation that our little guy can tell us how he's feeling.

Glad there are more people doing this!
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#26 of 47 Old 10-09-2002, 02:22 PM
 
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sorry about that Tripkehughes,I wanted to reply to you too but one of my babies woke up lastnight,and I did not get a chance to come back down.(I fell asleep)

Other signs we used with our girls are,all done,pain/hurt,all the animals(and sounds too) that they first learn about like horse pig,elephant,giraffe.ect.....

light,happy,sad,yes,hat,coat,shoes ,socks,diaper change.

There is more,but the general idea we used is,the words they first learn to say si generally the words we would start BSL at around 15 months.HTH
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#27 of 47 Old 10-09-2002, 04:37 PM
 
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We too sign.
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#28 of 47 Old 10-09-2002, 04:54 PM
 
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Babysigns have made a big difference with my easily-frustrated ds (13mo.). He does more, milk, eat, all done, dog, diaper (as in change it NOW!), sleep, up and occasionally book. The more sign alone has averted many a crisis!

Just wanted to tell anyone who lives in the Portland, OR area that there are free Babysign classes at the Beaverton Library (where I work!). The one last week was so crowded that they basically couldn't fit anyone else in the room! The next classes are 10/14 and 10/21 at 11am.
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#29 of 47 Old 10-09-2002, 05:27 PM
 
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We also sign with our 10 month DS. He has seemed to understand some of them (bird, milk, eat) for a while, but hadn't signed to us until last week, when he signed water. DH & I were so excited. And DS seems so tickled that we know what he wants when he makes the sign.

Here's a website that I've found really helpful. They list a lot of signs, and show how to sign them in little video snippets. http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/aslweb/browser.htm

I can't wait to see what DS signs next!!
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#30 of 47 Old 10-09-2002, 09:06 PM
 
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We sign with dd too! She's 15 &1/2 months now, and we've been doing it since approx 8 months. She's only been signing back to us since about 11 months (memory not great, though). She rarely uses the signs without prompting, and though she knows the sign for "milk," she absolutely refuses to use it to ask to nurse. I just should know that already!

But she does enjoy learning knew signs. She knows: more, milk, dog (which she does every time she hears a dog bark), baby (which she often does when she's getting tired or frustrated), eat (ok, that one she also initiates, she just doesn't want to do more un-prompted. She'd rather point and fuss.), and potty (She's only done this one twice.)

But she does recognize signs that she hasn't done herself yet, like shoes and bird.

I think it's great, and I think she will use them more as she gets older.
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