Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Baby Signs

For a while now I have been wanting to teach Nathan a few signs to help us communicate better. I want him to be able to express himself and to minimize frustration as his language skills continue (begin) to develop. I don't want to go overboard. I don't want sign language to take the place of vocalization. But some words are just hard to figure out so I want to give him another option. I've chosen a few basic words to teach him and I have decided to do this by focusing on one word a week. I will repeat the sign every time I say that word. We only started this week. Right now he just laughs at me every time I make the sign for "hungry" (we talk about food a lot). I'm hoping that, eventually, Nathan is able to communicate his feelings to us through both signs and words.

Have any of you tried this with your kids? What have your experiences been? Any good books out there? Let me know!

11 comments:

Fox and Amy said...

How fun! We always do "more" and "eat"--that's about it, because I started my babies a bit late. Signing Times is an awesome DVD that I wish I'd known about sooner. Here is a good site, too--http://babystrology.com/baby-learning/baby-sign-language/ Have fun!

The Hojnackes said...

I taught Alona signs for "food" and "drink." I just made up a sign to go with the words. It worked really well. Please and Thank You would be good ones to teach as well. My aunt taught her son a lot of baby sign language and he didn't start talking til he was quite a bit older. She was worried that there was something wrong with him. She had him evaluated and they said he was fine but he just used the signing because it was easier! Only some children have this problem. I think it is important to have them try to say the word along with the sign so they can develop speech as well. I loved being able to know exactly what Alona wanted!

The Hojnackes said...

I taught Alona signs for "food" and "drink." I just made up a sign to go with the words. It worked really well. Please and Thank You would be good ones to teach as well. My aunt taught her son a lot of baby sign language and he didn't start talking til he was quite a bit older. She was worried that there was something wrong with him. She had him evaluated and they said he was fine but he just used the signing because it was easier! Only some children have this problem. I think it is important to have them try to say the word along with the sign so they can develop speech as well. I loved being able to know exactly what Alona wanted!

Matt and Christy said...

We began teaching Elijah a handful of signs when he was about 2 years old. He was extremely delayed, although he understood everything that we said. We figured out that his pronunciation was so horrible that we didn't understand him, and he got very frustrated. We had many months of severe temper tantrums before we began signing. He responded very well, and learned about 15 signs- enough to get his basic needs met. After that, his language picked up because he was more confident. I wish that we would have started earlier and stuck with it, though. Good for you to start him young!

Kristin said...

we did baby signs with Brielle and Maeghan. Maeghan still signs when she says some things. It really cuts down on both our frustration. Brielle and Maeghan both know more, eat, change, sorry, all done, sit down, play, please, thank you and we made up a sign for blankie.

I love baby signing!

AlixSteele said...

Hannah started doing her first sign a couple months after she turned 1. I wasn't very consistent trying to teach her before that. A few months ago I was worried she was a little behind with her vocabulary, but it seems like the more signs she learns to do and the more words she learns to read the faster she learns to talk. It seems to me that any exercises with language can only help develop speech faster. Especally if you teach him the actual ASL words, if he leans heavily on them all he's doing is speaking a second lanugage, and there's nothing wrong with that. You and Ryan are going to be the only ones who can understand him for the first couple years anyway. I never got any books or anything. I'll just occasionally look up a word online that corresponds with something we're doing or eating. That seems to make the connection faster. I'd also suggest focusing on a few signs at a time so he can make the connection that different signs mean different things and have different results. I know everyone has an opinion...that's my LONG one.

Pink Panda said...

Signing Times DVD is awesome! Elizabeth taught herself at age 12 months by just watching it. She mostly just used "more", "drink" and "cookie" It's soo cute to see though!

kristie said...

Hmmm...honestly after reading your comments I'm tempted to teach my kids sign language so they'll be quiet..hahaha! I know that sounds awful but my kids start talking really early and they don't stop; they also learn to talk back really early hence the need for quiet.

pbidaho said...

A friend at work signs and teaches signing - she has for years. She recommends you get onto the ASL web site and start with one sign at a time - like "drink", "hungry", etc. Sounds like a great idea! Let me know what you are working on so I can learn too!

Larissa said...

Yes we did with Shayla too! Her first Sign was dog - and then she used more, eat, drink, book, bath, hat, etc probably knew about 20 signs around the time she was 1. We used repetition, the books My First Baby Signs and the flashcards were probably the BEST teaching tool - the set called The "Sign, Sing, and Play" Kit (Baby Sign Language Basics) - any big book store or online should have it! She would pick up the cards and sign the sign...so fun! once she started talking I stopped using them but probably could have kept using them too...

Beck said...

We're trying with Leo right now.. He knows "no" (shaking head) and "yes" (nodding) really well. Haha, but we're trying to teach him hungry, food, more, please, thank you, mommy, and daddy. 1-year-olds have a short attention span though, and I should probably do them one at a time. :)