CLASSES AND PROGRAMS
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Signing With Babies And Children: November 2008
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.