Monday, September 9, 2013

Signing with Baby W



The time has come to start formally introducing baby-signing to Baby W! He is 6 months old and very observant. Since he was born, we have been doing simple signs like "diaper" and "milk" and we know that it is early to expect signs back, but now we get to start introducing more and more signs :)

The picture above was the first time we started a signing movie with him - so that is his very first reaction. Precious! This is the same reaction I've gotten from multiple children when they first see these signing videos. The program that we will use is called Baby Signing Time by Two Little Hands Productions. I am currently not affiliated with them but I have thought about becoming a Baby Signing Time instructor...one day, maybe. For right now, I am just a very satisfied mom and speech therapist who uses this program almost everyday.

We used Baby Signing Time (and later Signing Time) with Big Sister when she was young. I remember the first time she used a sign to communicate with us. My husband and I were cleaning out the garage and she was in a playpen with us. She started fussing and I finally asked "what's wrong" (probably more frustrated than actually interested in the answer...and totally not expecting her to answer me back). She looked up at me and with her little 8 month old hand lifted high in the air, she signed "milk." It was then I realized that we were more than an hour past when she was supposed to eat. It was a major breakthrough for all of us. I realized that she knew what she wanted and she realized that she could tell me what she wanted.

The one question that I get the most when I talk with parents about signing with infants, toddlers or preschoolers is: "will this make their speech (more) delayed?" The answer to that is overwhelmingly "NO!"  There has been a lot of research on the topic of signing with kiddos. Signing with young children is beneficial in so many ways. It allows children to communicate earlier than with spoken words. It helps build vocabulary. It encourages language development. It's fun and visual (and we know that many kiddos learn best when things are hands-on and visual!). It can reduce melt-downs and temper tantrums since they can tell you what is bothering them.

I could go on and on about the benefits we've enjoyed as part of Big Sister knowing signs. Recently, I couldn't determine from her speech (she said "pway") if she wanted to "play" or "pray." So I asked her and signed as I asked. She was able to answer my question - in sign - which cleared up the confusion.

I can't wait to share our baby-signing journey with you. Join us. Let me know how it's going for you and any questions you may have. I'll give you my best answer or whatever solution we came up with when we encountered a similar situation at our home :) Happy signing!










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