Signing. Need Advice! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 07-16-2003, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We've been signing with our year old son for a few months. Focusing on six or seven signs with a book for pictures and examples. They're all bedtime signs.

He's so great at it, and we're really happy about his progress. The only thing is when he gets excited or tired or anything really, he does them all at once. So the communication factor isn't all that high, you know?

I want to expand on his signing vocabulary but am afraid of overloading him. What's a good number idea for beginners. 10 - 20?

What is/was your signing experience?
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#2 of 10 Old 07-16-2003, 08:11 PM
 
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I'm no expert but I'll give you my 2 cents.

DS2 is also 1 and we're using 4 signs on a regular basis (more, all done, strawberry and cracker). I use other signs every now and then so much for him to learn them right now but more to familiarize him with them. Kind of like verbal communication, we use a lot words but expect them to start with 1 or 2 small ones.

10-20 signs for a 1 year old to actually learn and be proficient at all at once seems like a lot, but you're little one may be ready for the challenge. Maybe introduce 1 or 2 new ones and see how he does?

Good luck!
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#3 of 10 Old 07-16-2003, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am bad enough to bump my own thread!

Thanks pudgybunmama!
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#4 of 10 Old 07-17-2003, 12:46 AM
 
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We signed a lot with DD - had about 20 signs + at one year old. I would introduce one or two every week with her and just see which ones she picked up. I think they get better and better at differentiating the signs and then seem to have their favorite ones. DD, at 23 months, still uses some of her signs for words that are hard for her (star, elephant). And her favorite sign, pig, she uses with the verbal word. She just thinks the sign is hilarious and loves to use it!

I say keep going! Sign away!
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#5 of 10 Old 07-17-2003, 01:05 AM
 
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Hey, I don' t think you can overload them, they will learn what they want to... we signed with my son and at 12 months he had like 4 or 5 signs and then by 14 months he had 40+!!! signs, and then by 18 months only like 5 or 6 again because they all got replaced by the words. So they can learn a lot, super fast. Signing was fun though, and made our relationship great as he could communicate his needs and not get frustrated.

Oh yeah, and I was going to say it got to the point that we could use a sign once or twice and then he knew it. He also made up several of his own ("waiting" for one example)

Have fun!
Jenn

"MY best interest?...How can YOU say what MY best interest is?...When I went to YOUR schools, I went to YOUR churches, I went to YOUR institutional learning facilities."-ST
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#6 of 10 Old 07-17-2003, 01:10 AM
 
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DD is 15 months and we have been signing with her since about 9 months. RIght around a 13-14 months her signing skills took off and she now has about 15 signs and uses them all correctly. Even "read" which seems kind of abstract to me. SOme of the signs I did over and over again for months (like "cat") and it took her months to get it, but then "read", I only did it maybe twice and she could use it correctly.


I think what has worked for us, is just Dh and I using the signs in context and not trying to teach them to her directly. ALso, when she made an attempt at the sign we gave encouragement because her fine and gross motor skills are not what ours are so I did not expect her to be able to do them exactly (for example, horse and cow are, for her the same sign, as is book and open...but based on the context of the situation it is pretty easy to figure out what she wants).
ANd as her skills have developed her signs have become more correct.

ALso, we have introduced new ones as needed. It is also a learning process for us. We didn't do this before and we have to look us the sign and remember to use it, etc.


As far as doing the signs all at once, DD has done that in the middle of the night in her sleep...just processing the day I guess.
And also sometimes she will babble at us and her hands are always moving. I don't know if that is normal or just because she she has learned to communicate this way and thinks that is what all talking involves?

Praise and persistence is what has worked for us and it really is a lot of fun for all of us.

Enjoy!

Kirsten
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#7 of 10 Old 07-18-2003, 03:29 AM
 
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we didn't "introduce" signs perse, we just would sign them along with speaking in normal conversation. I figure bilingual kids (one parent deaf, one hearing) are "bombarded" daily with both and the parents don't worry about overloading them. It might be different if you are formally introducing each sign.
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#8 of 10 Old 07-18-2003, 03:14 PM
 
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I wouldn't worry about introducing too many signs- but I would try to make them consistent. Agree with your partner/other care providers what a sign will stand for and continue using it that way. I have to keep my DH is the know on any new signs that our 19 month old DD is learning that day. He told me one for snake the other day and I'm glad he did, because I know other families use that sign (or something very similar) as a sign for fish. I would have felt bad if I kept calling her a fish, when she was trying to be a snake.

My big brag for the day now...Addie said "nana" last night for the first time. She gave us a look like "you know....NANA!" To make it crystal clear, she kinda sighed and signed banana slowly for us as she said nana. The signs are great because I know what words she is trying to say. (Pappal for apple.)

Gretchen
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#9 of 10 Old 07-19-2003, 12:09 AM
 
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Well, if he's tired, it won't matter what he's trying to communicate. He's just pooped!

Don't worry about overloading him. He'll learn what he can and wants to learn. Eventually our daughter learned all the signs we knew and she started inventing her own and taught us, bcs we were too slow in teaching her new ones. She really took off at a year, so maybe your son will take off soon.
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#10 of 10 Old 07-19-2003, 01:04 AM
 
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Hi!

Resident deafie/ signer at your service.

Others have already given some really good advice. Main thing is to differentiate between exposure and "teaching". If you make a big point out of teaching several different signs, that might be confusing and frustrating as your kid wants to do the "right" thing, and if there is pressure to "learn" the sign, that might take the fun out of it. But that's not the impression I get from what you say.

Look at it this way -- do you worry about overloading him with spoken English words? You're saying 200, 300 different words a day!! Poor kid!

I signed with my dd since birth, and she was signing -- I think the number is 350, I've written about it here before and can look it up -- words by the time she was 18 months. She's bilingual now.

Good for you for signing with your child!
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