Lisa is a teacher who teaches and shares sign language with other families. She added Baby ASL Sign Language to communicate with her son. Let us learn and be inspired by her wonderful story and get to know her better below.
It’s All About Communication
As parents, we are so excited about the first smiles and coos. We respond to our babies cries. Sometimes we just want to know what they are thinking.
For my son and I adding ASL sign language to our communication repertoire made such a huge difference. He was able to tell me what he was seeing and noticing around us, what he wanted to eat, and I was able to understand even when so many words sounded exactly the same because I had both the sign and the speech to help me figure it out.
I have been teaching and sharing sign language with other families for over a year now because it can make such a difference. Besides enhancing our communication it reduced both his and my frustration which led to a lot fewer tantrums and a lot more fun moments and better communication too.
Starting to learn ASL sign language can at first feel a little daunting. Yes, you are learning a new language too.
I suggest starting with a couple signs and slowly adding new signs. Make it part of your routine.
Many families focus on signs like Mom, Dad, More, Milk, and All Done. Those are great but aren’t really taking full advantage of all that signing can bring to your relationship. To receive a Free Handout of these most commonly requested Signs email ToddlerSigns@gmail.com
My son’s first sign was Bird at the swimming pool. He was telling me about all the birds lined up along the fence. Wow! He could tell me what he was noticing and what he was excited about. That’s communication.
Another time I recall us grocery shopping and he noticed the watermelons. He starts excitedly signing watermelon. Watermelon is still a favorite food.
On our first zoo trip, we were walking past the monkey enclosure and he signed Monkey. I had no idea he knew that sign. He was about 13 months old.
For a while I was keeping track of all his signs – when we hit 50 at 18 months I stopped keeping track.
He kept signing and speaking – we kept communicating – and I feel it made such a difference in our relationship especially between 18 and 36 months. When he knew what he wanted, what he wanted to tell me but it would still have been a greater challenge to understand him if I didn’t have the signs to help me understand.
So when do I recommend you start signing?
I recommend as early as 4-6 months to start introducing signs. Most children start to sign back between 6-12 months.
How do I teach my baby?
It is not so much teaching as signing with your child – much as they pick up spoken language by hearing it – they will pick up signing by seeing it.
What signs should I start with?
I like to focus on babies favorite foods, toys, and activities.
So if your child loves apples, balls, the family dog, going to the park to slide or swing. Those are all great first signs.
Why ASL Sign Language?
It’s a language. As such there may be some regional variances in signs like there are in spoken languages. Babies will approximate the sign and as you continue to model the ASL sign they will continue to evolve their signing skills just as they do their speaking skills. Other moms and caretakers and babies can communicate with each other too.
Signs can be a bridge when babies are learning multiple spoken languages too.
One of my students recently shared her daughter is signing with her baby brother.
Where can I learn to sign?
There are some wonderful online resources, possibly classes in your local community, and books and videos.
Check out my Facebook page for more resources. I am also available for online coaching. To learn more about my new program 5 Days to Signing with Baby email me.
Come join the Signing Fun!
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