Pin It I first learned about Rachel Coleman and her signing videos when I was teaching First Grade in a suburb of Phoenix in 2006. A parent in my classroom showed me a Signing Time video her daughter was using and I loved the idea.
I was a language major in college and studied American Sign Language for a year. During the course of the year, my professors showed us research and videos that supported teaching sign language to infants. Children can sign MUCH sooner than they can talk. Did you know children can start signing as early as eight months old? Many people believe teaching sign language helps alleviate frustration and some of the issues associated with the "terrible two's" because children can express themselves with sign before they can talk.
When I saw the Signing Time videos, I filed the information away for a later date. After Maia was born, I ordered the first two videos of the Baby Signing Time series. Each day I am able to shower during the 25 minutes she's watching a Baby Signing Time video. (That, in itself, makes me thrilled!)
But she's also learning American Sign Language. We use the signs from the videos whenever possible in addition to saying the word to her. For example, when she wakes up we talk about what she's going to eat for breakfast as I sign the words of the foods she'll eat.
At about seven months old, Maia learned how to sign "dog." About two weeks later, she signed "Daddy." We were thrilled - and so was she!
And then the signs started coming faster! It's really incredible! At this point, she's 13 months old and can sign 15 different words! Of course the signs aren't perfect. Some I need to see in context to understand the first few times, but as her motor skills develop, her signs improve. Just as with speaking "Da-da" eventually becomes "Daddy."
She even jokes with her signs. One day we were in a hardware store and she was signing "banana" to me. I laughed and said, "Silly! There are no bananas here!" She cracked up!!
She's even used signs that she knows to indicate items she wants, but doesn't know the sign. I made pumpkin oatmeal cookies about a month or two ago and gave her a taste. She LOVED them! That was her very first taste of a dessert, so obviously I had never shown her a sign for it. Honestly, I still don't know the sign for cookie! But she wanted more and used the sign for "cereal" while staring at the plate of cookies.
Pretty neat, huh?
Want to see her in action? I made a video of her signing during breakfast to show you! (I used a video editor for the first time so be patient! It's definitely not going to win any awards, that's for sure!)
I can't tell you how much this has helped us communicate with each other. Romas and I marvel on a daily basis at how much she's able to tell us what she wants. It takes very little of our time to incorporate the signs in our day to day activities and it's alleviated a lot of stress that comes with not understanding her needs or wants.
She's so proud of herself too. She signs to us and when we say the word she's signing, she smiles so big!! Imagine having so much to say and finally having an opportunity to say it?? It must be such a relief! You can see she loves it and that is reason enough for us to teach her more.
When I tell people about her signing, most are really impressed. But I have had people say that they think it's an awful idea because she'll never learn to speak.
You know what? That's totally BOGUS!
Learning another language (American Sign Language, Spanish, French, whatever!) only improves a child's language skills and vocabulary. Their brains are wired to learn and are far more capable of learning than us as adults. It's really fascinating.
I intend to feed her languages (ASL, Spanish, and French for starters) on a daily basis. This is the only time in her life when it will come naturally and easily. I studied four languages through high school and college, and now I'm immersed in German. I know how hard it is to learn a language as a teenager or adult. She doesn't have to follow in my footsteps and study languages, but I want to give her a head start that I didn't have.
Have you used any of the Signing Time resources with your child?
What do you think of teaching ASL to infants and toddlers?