CLASSES AND PROGRAMS
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Signing With Babies And Children: 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Physical deficits and lack of verbal stimulation were quickly ruled out. There were also no major traumatic events in her life at the time.
Of course what the other moms in the class thought was “OMG, what if the rumours are true and Signing DOES stop speech development? Does it make them lazy?”
Let me emphatically say ‘NO IT DOES NOT!’.
40 years of research has proven that Signing enhances verbal development. To my knowledge there has never been any evidence to suggest the contrary.
I have seen this a few times in my 5 year career as Baby Signing teacher. Around the age of 12-14 months, babies hit a major developmental milestone. Apart from the physical (starting to walk or pull themselves up), their understanding of the world also increases – and with it their vocabulary. Some babies go through a brief time where speech is put on the backburner while the information is processed – only to then burst out with a language explosion which surprises the parents! This is perfectly normal in the area of speech and language development and other areas of development as well.
My advice for those who are going through this experience is: Don’t stop Signing, carry on and make sure you always say the word. Be patient – and prepare to be amazed!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Just yesterday, my 9 1/2 year old son asked me to "turn off my voice" and speak to him only in sign. As I did, I watched his face go from understanding to confusion and back again. He then said "Cool Mom. But I only got part of that... I need you to teach me again." :)
Last week on the subway, my kids were sitting together and I was across from them. It was too loud to hear each other well from across the aisle, so my 7 1/2 year old son signed to me "When is our stop?" :)
While we do not sign together consistently anymore, sign language continues to be a part of our lives and our communication. It has been extremely helpful in clarifying their thoughts, expressing feelings that words just can't, and solidifying new (English) vocabulary. It is a means of communicating clearly when we are too far apart to hear each other, or in a place where we need to be discrete.
Incorporating sign language in your family with your young baby has wonderful benefits.... And remember that kids of all ages can continue to thrive with sign around them.
Both of my children began to sign when they were just over six months old! You can read about our journey at www.mybabyfingers.com on the Our Story page. Check out our products page for books that can help get you started, and consider joining a class in a neighborhood near you.
(Lora Heller, Founding Director, Baby Fingers LLC)
Sunday, December 14, 2008
What an amazing opportunity to teach your child the sign for LIGHT. Many kids confuse the concept of ON and OFF. ON and OFF have a similar sound and concept. Signing can be the perfect visual tool to teach the difference between the two for promote literacy.
In the matter of fact, any opposites can be taught by signing in such a easy way: HOT or COLD, ON or OFF, UP or DOWN, YES or NO and more. Play with the signs and have fun as a game. I am a true believer that what starts as a game can be easy taught to any child (especially when you want to say NO).
Have fun signing LIGHT this Holiday Season. It all starts with the present within, the light we create in our hearts.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Written by: Laura Berg, Founder of My Smart Hands http://www.mysmarthands.com
Monday, December 8, 2008
One evening after dinner, I was washing dishes - by hand! I turned the water off to begin drying the pots and pans... only to hear splashing water... from the dog dish... in the kitchen!!! The then 13 month old Paige was playing in the dog's water dish - again! I turned to look at her, past my husband, spoke in an "angry" mommy voice asking, "Paige, do you see this face?" pursing my lips and lowering my brow.
Paige turned towards me, pulled her right hand out of the dog dish and signed "GRUMPY"! My husband and I burst out laughing! We missed the discipline opportunity but gained the wonderful moment of self teaching that Paige had accomplished on her own - WOW! Conferring, my husband and I realized we had not shown Paige the sign for "GRUMPY", Paige learned it straight off the new Signing Time DVD we had simply played for background music.
Don't under estimate the learning ability of your little one - especially in play mode!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Following on from my last Blog contribution about Signing and Literacy, here are some basic tips how to start off teaching your child to recognise letters:
You can start this as soon as you begin signing to them, no matter how old they are.
STEP ONE: Learn the manual alphabet !
TEACHING PHONEMES (SOUNDS):
· Start showing your child the first letter of their name when you say their name (=namesign)
· Add more namesigns for other people who are important in your baby’s life
· When you think you and baby are ready, occasionally emphasize the first letter, ie ‘B-B-B Ben!’
· Progress to other things around you ‘T-T-T tree’
TEACHING GRAPHEAMES (written letters)
· When your child can sign some of the letters herself, start showing them the printed letter for their name
· Add a letter a week
· Encourage her to sign the letter when she sais its sound
· Invent fun games to play, ie: spot the letter ‘H’ on the cereal packet or in the shops. Make up memory cards and play this
Always make it fun and make it into a game. As soon as it becomes difficult, stop – and carry on another day.
The aim of the game is to explore your child’s potential without forcing her to exceed the limitations she has – remember every child is different!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
A familiar scenario: It is 4 am and you wake up to your child’s cry. You go to their room, try to figure out what the problem is, and then try to make things better. It is late (actually, extremely early), and you are very tired. The guessing game begins - wet diaper? Hungry? Fever? You try everything, but your baby continues to cry. “I wish he could tell me what the problem is,” you think to yourself, “I feel helpless!”
Now imagine this: It is 4 am and you wake up to your child’s cry. You go to their bed and s/he signs “scared” and then “elephants.” You are puzzled for a second, but quickly realize that there is a loud noise coming from a car on the street. “Oh sweetie, it is just a car outside!” You close the living room window, the noise is reduced, your child stops crying, and everyone goes back to sleep. You may think this sounds far-fetched, but it is based on a true story.
Read Monta Briant’s testimonial:
“I have been signing with my daughter from about 6 ½ months old. She is now 13 months, and she does about 40 signs. She will learn a sign after being shown only once, now, and I am in a race to try to come up with more signs. She wants to know the sign for everything! She can tell me just about anything. The other night, as I was putting her to bed, she asked me to close her windows, because there are elephants outside (she thinks) and they might get in (For some reason, she thinks car alarms are elephants, so she hears them out there!). In the past I could only imagine her fears, and we just dismissed her cries of terror as a protest about going to bed?! Thank you so much for this. I try to convince any mother who will listen, to please do it with their baby.” – Monta Briant, CA
Let the Sign Shine!
Friday, November 28, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
We all share the goal of raising children who are well-mannered, kind, and perhaps can even share their toys without too much protest! Teaching gratitude starts from a very early age, but it can be a difficult endeavor. For example, many parents struggle between the desire to give their children everything and the knowledge that kids won’t get far in life with a sense of entitlement unaccompanied by good manners. Teaching gratitude happens most effectively in the simple moments, when we are thankful for the intangible (see examples below).
Emphasizing manners through sign language with babies and children teaches etiquette from a young age and it becomes a natural part of the way they interact with people. It gives visual support, to remind our little ones to be kind, and also makes it fun. Manners are an abstract concept, but kids will catch on when they watch you end every request by signing PLEASE. When your child hands you his or her toy, respond by signing and saying THANK YOU. It will become a habit and will make a difference in the long run.
My daughter, Zoë, learned to sign PLEASE at 13 months. When she began to speak, she still signed and said PLEASE when she really wanted something. Somehow, she understood that signing AND speaking had more of an impact. I’m sure that you, too, can teach your child these important signs that will serve as a great foundation for good manners.
Here are a few basic signs to start with to teach children manners:
Meet and greet others: Hello & Good Bye
Behave in public places: Share, My Turn, Your Turn, Excuse Me.
Improve table manners: May I Be Excused, Thank You, Please.
Develop social skills: Share, Take Turns, Please, Sorry, Friend.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Playing in his crib at 10 months old as his mother folded laundry, Ezekiel calmly got her attention and signed "more music." Realizing only then that the mobile had stopped, his mom wound it up again and Ezekiel continued playing happily. A hearing child in a hearing family, he has been exposed to sign language since birth to aid in overall language development, early communication, and later acquisition of speech. Not only was this baby able to express his needs clearly without tears of frustration, but he also used a two "word" phrase at 10 months old. This level of language is rarely present until 18 months, or more typically two years of age.
How can Deaf children participate in and enjoy music?
What is music mediated sign language instruction?
Among the MANY benefits of music mediated sign language instruction: more rhythmic speech; growth in balance, spatial reasoning and motor skills.
For more articles about the benefits of baby sign language, music, and more, visit www.mybabyfingers.com.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
“Multisensory Learning” is the buzzword in schools and Nurseries. Research has proven beyond doubt that if we want an efficient Learning environment for our children we HAVE TO involve auditory, visual and kinaesthetic stimuli.
I have conducted a pilot study with 12 children aged 2 years to 3.5 years to see how they respond to being taught phonics through BSL fingerspelling. It was a 6 week course, each session was 1/2 hour.
Focussing on just 7 letters, the course used games, songs and activities to reinforced the graphic, the sound and the fingerspelling (AVK)
The results have amazed the mums and myself!
After the course, out of 9 assessments I received back, the toddlers
- knew all the 7 letters
- could fingerspell most of them.
- 5 children knew more than 10 letters
- They all developed an enormous interest in the letters and their sounds around them
- 4 children started to blend the sounds together and were able to read simple 3 letter words.
None of the currently used Phonics methods can claim to be AVK, AND a systematic spelling system AND inclusive of children who are already using BSL to communicate.
To find out more see http://www.sign2learn.co.uk/
and watch http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=LprS2Ps4hSQ
Friday, November 14, 2008
- teaching your child numbers 1-10 in sign language
- counting by 2's, explaining to your child that each time you sign the next number, go up by two
- ask an adding multiples question such as "2+2+2" and count by multiples using signs
- begin exploring the ideas of counting money "counting by 5, 10, and 25"
- use the concept of counting money to teach the concept of multiplying and dividing: "two 10s equal 20 because 10 + 10 is 20" and asking "how many tens are twenty" as your hand is holding up the number sign two
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
For more FAQs, articles, links, and helpful hints visit www.mybabyfingers.com.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Communication is an inherent need of all humans. It’s part of our DNA. Unlike reading a book or riding a bike – we are born communicating. Facial expressions, body movement, vocalizing and even grunting and crying are all forms of communication. An individual that is anti-social is still communicating through their resistance to human interaction.
For those of us that have been involved in a “serious” relationship at some point in our lives, we’ve more than likely experienced the communication technique referred to as “the grunt”. Though it is primitive and not overly effective in its usefulness, we seem to accept it as a form of communication as demonstrated in the following scenario: Male arrives to the dwelling place prior to female’s arrival. Upon entry, female asks, “How was your day, Honey?” of the male strategically positioned in front of the television in the den, remote in hand clicking feverishly. Male responds with “uughh”. Female accepts this guttural noise as “Fine and yours?” then proceeds to explain the significant happenings of that days’ journey in her life.
Typically developing Infants and Toddlers have an amazing capacity for learning. We know from scientific research studies that we develop our motor skills months before we have the ability to speak words, especially words in their proper context. Furthermore, infants are visual learners to begin with. Then the sense of touch takes over and lastly the auditory portion of learning will kick in. It’s strange that our educational system is largely built on “lecture”, when we are from birth, naturally visual/kinesthetic people.
Understanding some simple mechanics of the brain with regard to the language areas will help to paint a more complete picture of language acquisition. Our brains hold and store language information mainly on the left side, also called the “left hemisphere”. At different positions within the left hemisphere are significant areas or buckets (as I like to think of them visually), where the physical support (tongue and lip movement), auditory support (comprehension and understanding) and production support (actual speech producing area) are held. Each spoken language that is acquired has its own bucket. These buckets again are stored on the left side of our brains. Language acquisition begins as early as 5 to 6 months of age in typically developing infants. The brain categorizes sounds and noises in its most basic process of acquiring language. This is called “phonology”. Creativity, memory and movement are held on the right side or hemisphere of our brains.
Teaching an infant or child American Sign Language creates buckets in both hemispheres as American Sign Language is a language with syntax and linear processing. However because of its gestures (signs) it is a “movement language” - right side of the brain stuff!
Additionally, “Midline: crossing is key in language development.” The reason is because when you cross your arms over the “midline” of your body (the Adams apple to the belly button) the right and left lobes of your brain beef up their communication with each other and form super highways known as the synapses.
So for a child to grasp language and expand vocabulary, American Sign Language creates more resources in the brain for the brain to find things—like letters and their sounds. This develops what the Education World calls “Reading Readiness”. It actually does this at a faster rate than typically developing children with no American Sign Language background.
Using American Sign Language with infants and toddlers is proven to be an extremely effective form of two-way communication. It helps to reduce frustration for both the baby AND the parent. This, in itself, is a wonderful gift—having calm parents and a clam baby. It’s useful in continuing the bond with mother to baby, and is helpful to create father to baby and baby to parent bonding.
Shortened version here. For full length visit http://valleyhealthmag.com/archives/June08low.pdf
Written by: Kelly Barnhart, Learning Style & Communication Specialist and Children's book author (www.hands4learning.com & www.sign2connect.com)
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
She joined my Baby Signing classes a week after she arrived in the UK. There was very little body language between Chloe and her 'new mum' never mind any eye contact or signs of bonding. Both mum and daughter looked very unhappy.
The subject that day was ‘Food’. I had brought different types of food in to show the children and to teach the signs. Obviously, ‘Food’, ‘More’, and ‘Drink’ was also taught. When we finished, Chloe was sitting very close to me, pointing, and even smiling! When it was time for free play, she turned to her mum and asked her for food…biscuit…more…
The following week the difference was amazing! Chloe sat on her mums lap, held lovingly, there was eye contact, some smiles and even a kiss!
Several weeks later I had a letter from Emma. “Thank you for giving us the gift of Signing with Chloe. To be honest, before I came, I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life. The situation brought our family to breaking point. Now that we can communicate with her, everything has changed. Signing has saved my marriage and given me a bond with my beautiful daughter!” This was 1 year ago. Chloe has since integrated well into her Nursery and is communicating fluently -mostly in English but still using some signs occasionally.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
- Inform your co-op that you teach sign language to your child
- Let them know that you are willing to teach sign language to other children
- Use opening and closing exercises (routines) to introduce signs
- Even if it's simply teaching the alphabet signs, be willing to do your part in teaching (the children and other members alike)
- Keep intergrading signs within your own home if other members of the co-op do not seem interested
websites: www.mybabydetails.com & www.vietnammylife.com
Monday, October 13, 2008
All you need is your hands for props. And for all ages there are different games to play with your young ones when it comes to using your hands and sign language. These games can turn into valuable learning tools.
Take for instance a simple learning activity such as sounding out your words with your four year old. You would usually need a pencil and some paper for your props or lots of talking involved to tell your child which letters to sound out. Instead start with three signed letters... keep signing each letter with its sound: s-a-t. Change the first letter of each word until you are ready to switch to another set of words: c-a-t. Sign the letters slowly, and let your child sound out each letter at a time until he can run the sounds together and make a word (speeding up the signing along with the sounding out until the sounds are recognized as a word).
Monday, October 6, 2008
HEARING STUDENTS, SIGN LANGUAGE, AND MUSIC: A VALUABLE COMBINATION
By Steve Kokette 1995 (shortened below)
For many years now it has been widely recognized that students benefit from being encouraged to move to music. In this brief essay I wish to propose that the use of American Sign Language (ASL) with hearing children may be a beneficial form of such movement. My reasons for making this suggestion stem from the proven value of using bodily movement in teaching music, especially applications of the "Dalcroze Method," and the proven effectiveness of signing in teaching language arts to children who have no hearing impairments. As early as the 1800's, some educators working with children who had hearing impairments advocated that Sign language be taught to children without such an impairment, because they noticed that the hearing siblings of deaf children often developed better skills in reading, spelling, and writing if they were exposed to Sign language at home. Teachers who knew Sign language and used it while teaching in the classroom observed that children paid greater attention to the lesson. Music teachers noticed that children paid greater attention and learned lyrics better, if the teacher were signing while singing the text. They further observed that children seemed able to recall lyrics more readily, even weeks or months later, if the music educator used Sign while teaching.
Dalcrose theorized that lessons in rhythmic gymnastics helped children in their other lessons, for they seemed to develop keener powers of observation and analysis, greater understanding and more acute memory. Teachers of subjects other than music, according to Dalcroze, often found that rhythmic training to music made students more responsive, more elastic, not only in movement but in personality. Learning signs with words and music enhances the beauty of the song's performance. Sign can improve the motor skills of young people, and indeed it is good exercise for people of all ages.
Music classes are a part of general education for life, and they have always concentrated on the joy of hearing. It is possible that music combined with Sign may make a contribution beyond the joy of hearing and keep communication skills alive, even when hearing is no longer possible.
Short version of an article Copyright 1995 Steve Kokette.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
So what makes a close-knit, happy family? The answer is certainly not a simple one, but ultimately, happy families are built by healthy relationships and healthy communication. And such connections start at the very beginning, as soon as you become a parent.
Hillary was at the market with her 10-month-old son, Ryan. As she pushed her cart through the aisles, Ryan sat facing her. Hillary told me: “Ryan started brushing his hair with his hand. He was trying to tell me something. I recognized the sign, LION.” Hillary was puzzled. Where would he have seen a picture of a lion – perhaps on a box or package? She looked, but didn’t see anything. “Ryan kept signing LION over and over, but I couldn’t find it,” she said. Finally, Hillary saw a stuffed animal lion on top of the freezers. “I acknowledged it by signing LION to Ryan and his eyes lit up. He was so happy to be understood! The rest of the shopping day we talked and signed about lions. When daddy came home we told him about the lion we saw.”
So what does this simple story have to do with the upcoming elections? It’s all about connecting – with voters, yes, but more importantly it’s about connecting with your most important constituents of all time, your children. It’s never too early to build the foundation of the sacred parent-child relationship, just keep your eyes out for lions.
Signing with your child is one of the first steps in developing a close relationship. Signing goes beyond the basics of daily vocabulary, it is about feeling understood. It is about empowering your little one to tell you what he or she want, needs, and thinks. By using sign language within the larger context of a communicative style of parenting, we believe in the miraculous effects of signing upon the entire parent-child relationship.
Let the Sign Shine!
read article: http://www.signshine.com/NewsletterOctober08.html
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Several studies have shown that including sign language in play and activities with teachers' instruction in preschools helps young children retain information and provides a richer language base in their later life (Crawford, 2001; Daniels, 1994a, 1994b, 1996; Reynolds, 1995). For example, Daniels (1994a) found that integrating sign language into a preschool curriculum can help children gain receptive English vocabulary.
Crawford (2001) indicated that "preschoolers build vocabularies much faster when taught to identify words by sight, sound, and sign" (p. 30). Sign language enables young children to learn through movement and they respond with enthusiasm and enjoyment (Reynolds, 1995). Reynolds (1995) posits that "the greatest learning occurs when the tactile and kinesthetic channels are engaged or paired with the auditory and visual modalities" (p. 5). Thus, dynamic interactions between teachers and children can offer multiple ways for strengthening young children's language development through interaction and play, including sign language in preschools.
Chizuko Konishi. Childhood Education. Olney: 2007. Vol. 83, Iss. 5; pg. 267, 6 pgs
to read full text: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1295272511&sid=21&Fmt=3&clientId=58194&RQT=309&VName=PQD
Sunday, August 31, 2008
SignShine featured on *KidsLAMagazine; Fall 2008.
The article explores the benefits of signing with older kids. Read how signing helps kids with academics, is an excellent second language facilitator, creates special bond between parents and children and more.
*Get your copy at Barnes and Noble, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Borders and Amazon.com.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
You've maybe never considered it, but deaf people enjoy music as much as anyone else. Typically it is the vibration of the music they love to feel. Closed captioning on music channels gives another way to enjoy music through the lyrics. Now, an organization has taken it one step further and put together interpretive signing videos to popular songs. I enjoyed watching this one particularly, I probably watched it 10 times when I first learned of it. My daughter wanted to watch it again, and I wouldn't be surprised if the video interests the youngest of viewers because of the young signing toddler shown twice. Babies love watching other babies! Tell me what you think.
See the video
* by Sign4Baby
Saturday, August 2, 2008
If You’re Happy and You Know It
Itsy Bitsy Spider
I Love You
You are My SignShine
Click here to watch the videos (may take a few seconds to upload)
Email us your feedback: info@BabySignShine.com