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Signing With Babies And Children: 2010

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Monday, December 27, 2010

NBC and SignShine

It was such a lovely surprise to see Etel and the Sign Shine babies in action. Their enthusiastic hands were priceless. I'm proud to be a part of the SignShine family! Now that the word is out, let's all move our hands to sing and communicate!! My Best to All...Andrea T.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

SignShine on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams

What if babies could communicate what they want, without speaking or even crying? The latest trend in parenting is teaching toddlers, who have normal hearing, to communicate by sign language. NBC’s Robert Bazell reports:

Click  here to watch:

Let the Sign Shine on 2011,


Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

Friday, December 24, 2010

SignShine on NBC News Chrismas Eve

What a great holiday present!
Now, tell us what is your Ahah moment.

Let the Sign Shine on 2011,


Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

Monday, December 13, 2010

MORE than words can say...

Alex, 10 months, and mom just graduated from our Baby Signing I class with etel. Mommy Karen is so generous to share with YOU this special moment; Alex's first sign.
I love Karen's laugh, you can feel the amazing bond between Alex and mommy.
Click on the picture, or here, and leave a comment.
We are SO proud of you Alex!! Mommy and Daddy, thank you for sharing this precious video with us.

"I just wanted to share the story of Alex's first sign. He just turned 10 months and he's been imitating things that I do and sounds that I make lately. (Clapping, kissing, coughing, yelling, short words, laughing, and yes, even burping.) I've been asking him if he wants more when I've been feeding him and doing the "more" sign. He started copying me on Tuesday and I made sure to quickly give him more of his food. He finally got it that whenever he did the sign, he would quickly get more food. I wasn't sure at first that that was what he was doing because he doesn't use his looks more like a clap but he does it very purposefully and just does it 2 or 3 times. (It kinda reminds me of somebody trying to use "The Clapper".....ha ha!) He may think that it means he "wants" something because he did it today when I asked him if he wanted his milk. I am very excited that he's wanting to communicate with me and he seems very excited too that I understand him! I'm so looking forward to his next signs....Thanks again to Etel for a great class!

Karen and Alexander ;)

Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

16 ways to spell Hanukkah

Click here  to enjoy and practice Hanukkah Signs (see below 16 different ways to sign!)

Hanukkah : 8,470,000 hits.

Chanukah : 3,390,000 hits.
Hanukah : 862,000 hits.
Hannukah : 677,000 hits.
Chanuka : 335,000 hits.
Chanukkah : 274,000 hits.
Hanuka : 192,000 hits.
Channukah : 128,000 hits.
Chanukka : 116,000 hits.*
Hanukka : 86,300 hits.
Hannuka : 51,400 hits.
Hannukkah : 37,300 hits.
Channuka : 33,600 hits.
Xanuka : 992 hits.
Hannukka : 686 hits.
Channukkah : 508 hits.
Channukka : 489 hits.*
Chanuqa : 25 hits.

Let the Sign Shine,


Etel Leit, M.S.

Founder & Owner


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ThanksGIVING Song - Sing with us and THANK your little one!

Click here or on the picture to view a HOW TO: Thanksgiving song and art project.
Let the Sign Shine with many forms of THANKS,

Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Impressive Expressive Signing

As seen here on the CBS news just this weekend, Signmark is the first rap artist. He was born deaf. And as he preforms in sign language, he is able to bridge the gap between both the music and deaf communities. He did just that in New York City during International Deaf Awareness Week.

Signmark began translating Christmas Carols into signs at a young age as he wanted to participate along with others. He became the first deaf rapper to land a record contract, and although he can't hear the music, he can feel the beat. His music and concerts are a shared experience for one and all. He strives to fight for equality between all cultures.

Signmark explains his journey towards becoming the first deaf rapper here. Take note: one of the songs does have a swear word in it. Subtitles are provided, so you can turn the volume off if impressionable ears are nearby.

For more news features such as from Hong Kong, check out his facebook page.

As Thanksgiving is approaching rapidly, and your children may be home from school, try having them choose a song and learn the signs to that song. I remember having lip sink concerts all the time on those snow days where school was canceled. How about a signing lip sink concert?

As my youngest is 7 months old and is starting to use motions to communicate, such as waving his hand, I am even more encouraged to continue to teach him sign language. Enjoy the gift of sign language and the gift of family time this holiday season.

take care, Shawna

Friday, November 12, 2010

GREAT TOOL: What to do when you in a middle of..... and your child keeps interrupting?

What to do when you are in a middle of.....  and your child has something soooo important to tell you or to show you?

We have all been there more than once or twice. You are in a middle of a conversation with another adult, you are on the phone, or just finishing writing something down... your child has something SO important to say, or to show you! Now! Right Now! How will you respect his/her need to tell you this verrry important thing, and still feel your needs are met?
Click here or on the picture to watch the best tool that will save your day.

The joys of Baby Sign Language! 

Visit for more information!

Let the Sign Shine,

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Few More Sweet Signs

I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween.

Always find a way to be creative with your children. For instance, on the way home from school, we had a few errands to run. I had five children in the car, so to help them interact and keep their attention off the fact we were not home yet, I said "let's count how many houses have Halloween decorations."

Within a two mile distance, we counted 54 houses with decorations right to the front door of the friend we were dropping off at home.

I realize that with signing, there are MANY games to create too. Wouldn't it have been fun to add these Halloween signs, and say, "if you see a ghost decoration, sign ghost" and so forth.

Please feel free to share with us those fun games you have created at home or on the road and continue to enjoy the details of signing with your children!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Funny, Scary & Happy Signs

Halloween is peeking around the corner! What a great opportunity to review a few signs before the big day! Personally, I find that holidays are perfect for introducing novel signs to your child.

For example, “SCARED” or “CANDY” or “HAPPY”! Helping them to better express themselves around holidays will make the changes less threatening, more exciting, and best of all, MORE FUN!

Take a few minutes today and review a few of our suggested Halloween signs and have a WONDERFUL Trick or Treat Day!

Click here and for advanced signs here or on the picture to view MORE Halloween Signs!

Let the Sign Shine,

Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

Saturday, October 16, 2010

dancing with your hands...

so often, i've heard (and said) that signing is so much more than saying words with your hands.  it's not just about using your hands to label something, whether it be an object, an emotion, or an action.  it's obvious, when you see people signing, that it's not just their hands moving, but their faces, and their bodies.  so much is said beyond the hands. 

for babies, signing is a key to unlocking a world of communication that might not otherwise be opened until many months later.  babies learn the importance of non-verbal communication by cuing into facial expression, body language, and even the feelings that come along with communicating. 

i recently was told an amazing comment after teaching a baby signing class.  this mother explained that learning and using sign language is more than what she expected... that she can actually feel what she is saying... essentially, that signing is emotional.  she compared it to dancing.  she is a dance teacher, and related the movements of dancing to communicating with signs.  it's not just about the movements... it's so much more than that.

(and thank you to that wonderful mommy... you know who you are :)  )

Friday, October 15, 2010

Zoë signs over 200 signs in 5 minutes

Look what we found in our old home videos!

If you ever wondered about whether YOUR family can still sign, this is a MUST-SEE! It's a video of our little girl Zoe signing more than 200 signs at only 3 years old! But not only that, she's signing on command, in both Hebrew and English!

After watching this video,  How many signs have YOU counted?
Post your count on Facebook or YouTube.

Let the Sign Shine,

Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

Respond here or on YouTube....

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

an Experience that will Leave you Speechless

Baby Sign Language is not only about a few signs that you can learn and then teach your child. That is what I learned on my recent trip
, to my homeland, Israel. During my visit, I visited a fascinating children museum exhibit! The walls were monochromatic. The rooms were bare and sparsely furnished. Our museum guide was completely silent.
Sign Language and a museum?! What do they have to do with each other?!
Sign Language is easy to learn. Well, would you believe it was one of the most integrative and amazing museum visits I and my kids have ever experienced? The exhibit is called 'Dialogue in Silence.' Can you guess what was the theme? As you guessed, the tour explores the world of a deaf or hearing-impaired person. This tour's goal is to give the visitor the real experience of how it feels to be deaf or hearing impaired. It is a true hands-on
exhibit. So, how can you really empathize with a deaf person? The answer is --- experience what he or she feels… The SILENCE.

Let the Sign Shine,

Etel Leit, M.S.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Engaging and Repeating... Even with Diaper Changes

How many times would one think you could hear "change diaper" during one mere diaper change. Well, apparently many many times.

I honestly can see educationally speaking how repeating a word helps children to remember it, but this can also help calm a child down as you engage with them. Signing to my children has given me the opportunity of forming a habit where I am able to not only sign what we are doing but to repeat the words being signed. This is particularly useful when signing expectations or daily routines.

As seen on the video below, my son finds a connection with what is going on. And although he is not seen upset here, I recall just three months ago when he was two months old, I laid him down on the bed to change his diaper. He began to cry. I began to sign.

Within seconds his eyes were fixated on what my hands were doing as I found myself repeating the words change diaper in a very enthusiastic manner. I was engaging with him.

If I would not have been signing, I don't believe I would have chosen to speak in a consistent manner where my voice, although possibly annoying to the outside world^_^, was able to bring calmness. And my hands became a distraction from what was seemingly upsetting at the time.
As stated in my previous post, I feel encouraged to sign by choosing three signs for a particular routine and then having the choice to add to those signs.

The three words I sign when changing a diaper are change, diaper, and wet or dirty.

I then add all done and all clean at the end.

Enjoy the journey of engaging with your children through the power of signing... even if it is in those moments of diaper changes. You never know what may be remembered as precious memories when looking back.^_^

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Transparency and Babies' Understanding of How Language Works

In sign language, nearly all the signs for body parts are made by pointing to the specific body part. For example, 'nose', 'eyes', 'mouth', 'arm', 'hair', 'ear', are all signed by pointing to the specific body part. These body parts represent the meaning of transparent. You will often see a baby point to his various body parts when you ask him/her, ‘Where is your nose? Where is your mouth?” This is an example of the beauty of a language that has signs that are transparent and/or iconic. When the sign actually looks like the meaning of the word, or in this case is the body part, it is easier for a baby to process and comprehend the way language works. So when a baby points to objects or body parts, s/he is actually saying ‘this is my nose’. This is visual transparency.

When a baby learns the sounds that animals make, this is auditory transparency. He actually hears the cat say 'meow' or the dog say 'woof woof', so s/he often assigns those corresponding sounds to those respective animals. Sign language takes these animals and assigns a visual sign that is closely linked to the meaning of the animal, again reinforcing the benefits of learning sign language which may initially consist of many visually transparent or iconic signs.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Scarlette's Growing Up

Thank you to everyone who posted well wishes for Scarlette's little hands, she is healed perfectly now and thank goodness, she managed to get away without any permanent damage or scarring.

In Australia, Baby Sign Language is not as prevalent as it is in America, Canada and Europe. Toddler Interpreter are doing their bit to raise awareness and momentum is growing, however I wish that it wasn't such a mystery here.

Next week we are sending Scarlette to day care for two days a week to give her some variety.
I know that she will be the first toddler that they have had in their care that knows and uses Baby Sign Language.

She has such a big personality, and for her age, her language skills and comprehension are unbelievable so I am confident that it will take no time at all for her to teach them. As a back up of course we have provided them with a copy of our Baby Sign Language Book and Chart and we will be doing some classes with them as well.

Scarlette is 22 months old and this is the most fabulous age for baby sign language. She uses it daily along with the words, it has been a blessing. Sometimes I just wouldn't be able to understand that her little word that sounds more like 'phfsstd' is actually 'finished' if it weren't for the little hands signing 'finished' that help me work it out.

The most adorable signs are those when we are out and about. Yesterday we were at a friends place who currently has a new litter of kittens and Scarlette knows as soon as we get there and furiously signs for 'pussy cat' while 'meowing' all the way to the front door. I wish I could capture all of these precious moments on film so I could treasure this age for ever.

By far the most useful and most used baby sign is 'more'. Scarlette uses this for everything. We might be playing a game with her and she asks for more, this one she knows both the word and the sign and uses them together. She will often ask for more juice, more milk or more apple too, putting both signs together with the words as best as she can. When we are out playing on the swings, she signs more to ask for us to push her higher...she is a bit of a dare devil.

Come on Australia, join in the baby sign language movement and enjoy these precious times with your little ones, just as we are!

Monday, August 2, 2010

3 Steps to Signing Expectations

Here are three steps that help me sign with my children or children that are in my care^_^. When I am able to sign what is to come next, the child and I are both able to feel more secure in striving for the expectation at hand.

1. List daily routines
2. Choose Three Signs for each routine
3. Don't be afraid to add signs to those routines

While thinking of the routines that occur daily with your child, also think of "what is to be expected." This will help you recognize routines. Then go from there in choosing three signs that correlate with the routine. If another sign comes to mind, welcome it, and keep signing away.

For example, as I watched my 1 year old niece yesterday, I was not sure which signs she has learned over the past six months. I was given the direction to lay her down with a sippy cup to have her drink milk before laying her down to sleep.

I decided to sign three different signs to help her focus on the goal- which was to drink most of her milk before retiring to nap time.

The three signs were "drink, milk, sleep" as I would say, "Drink your milk, then we'll go to sleep." I said this a number of times, and then all of the sudden, she let go of one of the sides of the sipper cup (with the handles) and began signing milk as she observed her own hand opening and closing.

A way that another sign could have been involved is after she drank her milk, I could have encouraged the goal by signing and saying, "You drank your milk, now we're going to go to sleep" and adding "let's go get your blanket," signing blanket.

And if by chance the expectation at hand isn't met, well, you know that at least you met your own expectation of signing with your child.^_^

Written by Shawna Tran

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Signing MORE

Signing for babies is very rewarding and
, but every parent wants to know which signs are the best
The most common sign that parents, who are not taking classes, choose to start signing
is MORE. Be aware-vague signs like MORE might be confusing and ineffective for
babies, as they are seen in a variety of contexts, and can produce different
results in each different context. For example, signing MORE might get them
more milk, more cookies, more toys, etc. But signing is more salient when
it produces specific results, and thus gets positive reinforcement.
Signing MORE can easily be just a nonspecific cry, since it can mean so many
different things. With signing, we would like to enhance speech and enlarge
, and I suspect that signing MORE as the first sign can do just
the opposite.

 So what are the hallmarks of a great first baby sign?
Read it in our next blog...

Let the SignShine,

Etel Leit, M.S. Founder & Owner 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sign Language Helps Children to be Effective Communicators

In this day and age when so many of our children are overexposed to television, video games, computers and cell phones, children run the risk of never developing the ability to be effective communicators. Sign language encourages children to make eye contact, to be aware of subtle facial expressions, and bodily gestures and to be better listeners - all important elements to effective and successful communication. By teaching your children sign language, you are giving them the gift of effective communication while at the same time having tons of fun.

The benefits of signing are endless. Sign language can enhance the bond between parent and child, and promote early communication. By teaching your baby sign language you are empowering your child with a means with which to communicate his thoughts. A baby’s brain is ready for language much earlier than the vocal chords are ready to speak. In other words, a baby understands and can communicate his needs and desires if you provide him with a mode of communication that is not reliant on vocal chords. Sign language empowers babies to express their feelings and needs, therefore reducing frustration and promoting comprehension, which leads to a much happier and respectful relationship between parent and child.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

SignShine Fun Party! Pictures and Videos

The SignShine  party at the Hollywood Pump Station was a huge success! Veteran mommy and daddy
signers and fresh faces alike gathered together for fun and learning with their
babies. Everyone shared
their signing stories
over cookies and refreshments. We were all very
excited to learn that some of the babies that had been in the classes previously
were already starting
to sign
! The class got started with signing
, and Etel showed everyone how to incorporate signing into
parenting techniques. She answered questions and talked about the benefits
of signing
. After some interactive games, we had the raffle! A few of
the lucky parents were very excited to win baby books, discounts, and videos!
It was a fun and exciting day for both old and new members of the
SignShine family!
Thank you for being an important part of SignShine Family!

Let the Sign Shine,
etel Etel Leit, M.S. Founder &Owner  Publisher

Scarlette's Little Hands

It has been a little while since I have contributed to our wonderful Baby Sign Language Glog but the past months have been rather traumatic.
In an attempt to get away for a long weekend in the mountains, we stayed at a log cabin up at the Bunyas. The lovely hosts had already started the wood fired heater in the cabin so the atmosphere was perfect when we arrived.

Unfortunately, wood fired heaters and small children do not make for a relaxing weekend away...

After 7 hours of trying to keep little hands well away from the heat, the thing we feared the worst happened. Innocently, Scarlette tripped over her own feet and landed with both hands on the heater. I didn't see it happen but Ian did and he raced her straight to the tap and we spent the next 3 hours with her hands under icy cold water. There is no worse moment for a parent than when you can't take away the pain of your little one.

The nearest hosptial was 40 minutes drive away so we wanted to make sure she was more comfortable before we made the trip. A rather large dose of paracetamol and she finally fell asleep in the car.

The hospital staff were amazing, Scarlette slept through the bandaging and woke 4 hours later amused at her new little paddles - they had put casts on her hands.
Children are so resilient. The trauma took us days to recover from while she was off discovering how to use these new appendages to explore the world around her. She didn't once get frustrated with the casts...she could bang louder on the window, still play with her toys and bless her, she still used her little casts to sign to us.

So, 6 weeks on now and she is perfectly healed. Many trips to the burns clinic and the first aide that we were able to administer to her prevented permanent damage or the need for skin grafts.

Here is a photo of our little angel baby signing 'I love you' - even with her little casts on....We love you too Scarlette.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Merely Observing

Upon walking into the room upon where new baby brother is sleeping, sister of the age of two merely signs “sleep.”

No other words are spoken, but it is apparent that she is aware of her baby brother and she is taking into account that she should be quiet because he’s sleeping.

Learning to observe the world around us and express ourselves is a gift.

Through the power of signing with our children, we’re giving them another means of expressing themselves in their own creative ways.

Just as much as two year old sister is observing the world around her, two month old brother is too.

This is a great opportunity to begin signing with my littlest one (when he's starting to react to the world around him). I enjoy beginning my signing journey with each child by choosing three signs to sign at a time.

Please look out for my next entry where I will explain how I go about choosing these three signs at a time.

written by Shawna Tran

Monday, June 28, 2010

Effective Communication: Subtle Cues in Context

One of the moms in my Baby Sign class shared with me that her little one had been signing ‘milk’ for days before they realized that she was signing ‘milk’. Her baby just turned one year old, and signs the words ‘nice’, ‘more’, ‘eat’, ‘bubbles’, ‘water’, ‘mommy’ and is rapidly acquiring many more words. During her meal time, she would reach her arms out as if to ask to be taken out of her highchair. When her mommy realized that she was not happy with being taken out of the highchair, she suddenly realized that her child was actually trying to let her know that she wanted ‘milk’.

When a baby is consistently using the same gestures in the same context or situation, chances are, they are using an approximation for a sign and are trying their best to communicate. It may not look exactly like the sign you have learned, but it is in fact your child trying his/her best to communicate! Watch for eye contact and facial expression, and we will all be better at effective communication.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Saffron signing CAT at 8 weeks

Laurie and James started signing with SignShine 3 years ago with their daughter Violet.
here is Violet signing SignShine:

Today, I recived a touching email from Laurie:

"Hi Etel-
James and I had our 3rd child 10 weeks ago.
James does a few signs with her.
I sign 'cat' every time the cat jumps on the couch.
Not sure if it is a coincidence but thought you would enjoy the picture.

What do YOU think?? Was little Saffron girl signing?
Let the Sign Shine on the longest day of the year,


Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

Sunday, June 13, 2010

a routine...

signing has been invaluable in my family.  my little boy has learned many signs, and at 21 months, continues to use them daily.

as a teacher of sign language for babies, i know how wonderful it is when you see your baby sign for the first time...and how helpful a tool signing is to have for all involved.

that said, as a special education teacher, there is really a place in my heart for teaching children with special needs.  academics, social skills...and now, sign language.  when signing is used as a tool for language that otherwise may not yet be possible, the importance of it, and value of it...skyrockets.

for my next few posts, i've decided to give some tips on teaching signing to children with special needs.  now, granted, many of these strategies can be helpful for any child, so feel free to follow along!

for my first topic, i'd like to touch on the importance of routine...

many children benefit from some type of routine.  we all do...even if it's simply the general routine of having three meals a day, and going to bed at night.  so, when teaching signing to children with special needs, i often use a schedule of some sort.  i have pictures of each activity we're going to do, and as each one finishes, we take it down, and place it in a "finished" envelope.  the child can see from the pictures what is happening next, and even what is expected from him or her throughout the session. by having this simple tool, it not only puts the child at ease, but it also allows both the parent and me to know what we'll be doing for the length of the session.

in addition to this tool, i try to keep some of the session similar each time.  we might start and end with the same activity each time...a song, bubbles...things like that.  this gives the child several types of indications (visual, aural, tactile) that our session is starting or coming to an end.

each child may not need the same amount of consistency...and that's where individualization is important!  each child has his or her own unique needs and preferences...just like each of us :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Baby Sign Language in KOREAN

Such a beautiful video, capturing the real sweet moments. I love the visual of Baby Signing. Enjoy. Click here to view (it might take a few moments to load, it worth it).

Let the Sign Shine!

Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Increased Awareness and Sign Language

When asked what she liked learning from sign language class, one of the moms responded that she now has a greater appreciation for ‘observing’ . She felt that had she not learned sign language, there are a lot of subtle cues that she would would have missed in her baby’s efforts to communicate. Now she is hyper aware of how much information gets expressed from her baby’s eyes - whether they are big and round, or small and closed, whether the eye brows are raised or wrinkled - these are parts of signs that would typically be missed in a baby’s early efforts to communicate meaning. Likewise, a baby who learns to sign will also be more in tune with the subtle cues the parents are including in their nonverbal communication. For example, you will often see a baby who is learning to sign, raise his eyebrows and shoulders, and tilt his head in an effort to express "I don't know". This awareness on the part of both baby and parent contributes to increased bonding and understanding in a special relationship.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Silently Disciplining

It was about that time of the season... to go get my two boys' haircut. We made it a family affair, so as I was inside with the my second oldest son (four years old) getting his haircut, my oldest (six years old) was outside with his daddy.

There was plenty to do outside the salon windows (where I had a view from looking inside out) including a huge pond of orange fish to check out, but he chose to come put his face right close to the window pane to make silly faces at his younger brother instead.

It was adorable at first until I saw that tongue start to make it's way to the glass. I immediately resorted to signing "dirty" when my brain realized that that was the only way I could quietly and discretely do my best to shout out to my son that "hey, this is a public place, and that is not what I particularly want other's watching my son do"... without literally alarming the whole room of ladies whom were getting their hair done.

He looked at me with temptation still in his eyes, so I went on to sign "play" and "fish." He turned away and went towards the pond with a smile.

I'm grateful for the ability to communicate with my children especially when it can be done silently and still be effective (effective for every one including those getting their hair done).

Written by Shawna Tran:

Monday, May 31, 2010

Babies Who Sign Feel Respected

Empowering your baby with sign language allows him to grow up feeling respected. When children feel understood they feel respected, and when they feel respected, they in turn are more aware of those around them and the impact they have on them. They feel more confident and happy because they can be understood. So if your baby is not yet able to express himself using his vocal chords to form spoken words, by empowering him with signs, he knows to use language to communicate - to get his/her ideas across, to express feelings using words, to use words to express needs and wants. Instead of crying, s/he now has the knowledge to use words, whether they be signs or vocalizations, or even pointing to refer to objects or people. Surprisingly, his confidence spreads across languages. One might think that a baby who is signing might get frustrated with someone who doesn’t know sign language. On the contrary, babies know to switch languages depending with whom they are trying to communicate. Often, one will observe a baby say ‘water’ to her mommy or daddy, but ‘agua’ to her nanny. Interestingly the baby will use the sign for ‘water’ with mommy, daddy and her nanny, demonstrating her understanding that the sign language is a bridge between the two languages. One of my moms reported that her little one knows to get her jacket and shoes when her nanny says ‘vamanos’ (let’s go), but when mommy or daddy try to say ‘vamanos’ her baby laughs.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Audrey signs: birth to 2 years old

Audrey's parents took SignShine classes when mommy Tammy was pregnant with Audrey. Daddy and Mommy started signing with her at birth. Today I am sharing with you this beautiful journey.
Click here to view Audrey's signing moments: birth to 2 years old.

Let the Sign Shine!

Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What is the perfect age to start Baby Sign Language / Baby Signing?

"What age should I start signing with my baby?" this is the most common question parents ask me.

"What age should I start Baby Signing with my baby?" “When should I start baby sign language?”  these are the most common question parents ask me.

For babies and for us as parents, new beginnings are not reserved for one time or hour. We are fortunate enough to experience these every day, as our little ones reach new milestones, change in subtle and obvious ways, and learn more about the world.  The first smile, a little something to make them giggle, an independent step, or an exciting discovery -- there isn’t anything more beautiful than to see our children grow, explore, and flourish. 

A quick browse on the Net will result in various answers, no surprise, and the truth is that I do not like to give an exact time frame to any parent.  Children are unique in their development, and sign language is no different than rolling over, sitting up, smiling, crawling, and walking. Your baby will sign according to his/her own time frame.

Babies are often ready to sign back when they sit by themselves and can point. Does that mean we should only start signing at that time?  Definitely not.  We start talking to them well before this point and the same applies to sign language. In fact, babies who are born to families with deaf parents or siblings are exposed to signing
at birth
. I do not believe in ‘too young’ or ‘too old’ – you are the expert on your child and your instincts will lead the way.  Keep in mind, however, that babies are fast learners and may understand what you are signing well before they are able to sign back.

I began the signing process with my daughter when she was 8 months old. whe she was– 16 months– signing remains part of her daily life and routine. Her vocabulary is
so rich and she is constantly asking to learn more signs and words.  (We just learned the signs for ‘imagination’ and ‘pretend’ as she is playing with dolls).

Recently I received an e-mail from Magda, a mom who uses sign language after participating in our class.  Her message read:
“I took Etel's class when my son was 5 months. By 6 months, he started signing ’milk’, wow. My son was fascinated by the class, looking at everybody signing at the same time”.

Etel Leit, M.S.

Founder & Owner

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Signing with Babies - Part 3

Here is Part 3 of our Baby Sign Language journey with baby Scarlette. If you missed it you can read Part 1 and Part 2 first.

In Part 1 we discovered how useful baby sign language was - before she could sign with us and in Part 2 we managed to capture her very first sign on video which was an amazing milestone. Here in Part 3 we discover how all of her signing starts to develop into two way communication for the first time.

After Scarlette signed to us the very first time it took another couple of months for us to see some more progress but it certainly did come together just after that. First was the sign for 'more', then came the signs for 'eat' and 'shower'. Soon after this came the sign for 'toilet' which she does now before dragging one of us off by the hand to the bathroom!

In between she has learnt some words to complete her animated little personality. These baby signs complete her vocabulary for words she is yet to pronounce however at this early age, she is communicating to us with such great comprehension. In fact, there is rarely a time when we don't know what she wants or needs.

There have definately been some key elements to her fantastic communication development. We get really excited with her progress and offer her loads of praise. We are also constantly talking with her. Stay tuned for Part 4 where I will go into further detail on why I think that Scarlette has has such an amazing journey with baby sign language and some of the key things we did to make it much easier for her to communicate with us.

Baby Signing: How to sign and sign? - You are my Sunshine

Here is a short tutorial how to singn and sign "You are my SignShine' (Sunshine) is one of my favorite songs to sing and sign. Follow up step by step, sign and sing it with you child.More about Teach your Baby to Sign Songs:

Let the Sign Shine!etel

Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Be Aware of Gestures and Eye Contact

One of the moms in my Baby SignShine class shared with me that her little one had been signing ‘milk’ for days before they realized that she was signing ‘milk’. Her baby just turned one year old, and is rapidly acquiring many more words. During her meal time, she would reach her arms out as if to ask to be taken out of her highchair. When her mommy realized that she was not happy with being taken out of the highchair, she suddenly realized that her child was actually trying to let her know that she wanted ‘milk’. Every time she wanted ‘milk’ she would reach out her arms and wave her fingers.

Another mom reported her baby placing his hand on his head whenever he would hear his daddy’s car parking in the garage. Then she noticed he would do that same hand on his head gesture when the phone would ring, and it would be daddy calling to say ‘hi’. Mom realized that he was anticipating daddy either coming into the room, or hearing his voice because the baby would clearly make eye contact while touching his head. Although it didn’t look exactly like the sign for ‘daddy’, it was definitely an approximation. It would have been easy for this mom to miss the sign and think that the baby was rubbing his head randomly.

When a baby is consistently using the same gestures in the same context or situation, chances are, they are using an approximation for a sign and are trying their best to communicate. It may not look exactly like the sign you have learned, but it is in fact your child trying his/her best to communicate!....Blink, and you may just miss your baby signing! Look for gestures that your baby is using over and over again in the same context, observe his/her eyes as s/he tries his/her best to make eye contact, take note if s/he seems frustrated if you are not understanding his/her efforts to approximate the sign. You may find it helpful to write down what you think is his/her approximation and be sure to share this with your spouse or nanny so that s/he can keep an eye out for such approximations. The sooner you can identify what sign s/he is attempting to use to communicate, the more empowered your child will feel, and the happier you both will be! See how Frisee and her mom are understanding one another:

Use these same tips for your baby’s approximations of spoken words, and you will see how rapidly s/he will be able to communicate using speech in addition to her sign. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Connect with SignShine and win: $120 Apple, $80 Amazon and more!

view this message online:

SignShine would like to celebrate Father's Day with you! on June 3rd we will give you super prizes (see below). All you have to do is Cick, Connect and WIN! It is easy on: facebook / twitter / Blog.

Every time you sign up to be a Facebook fan or a friend, follower on twitter, or subscribe on our blog your name will be put in our drawing, 4 times it is!
Every time your friend mention your name in his/her drawing, you get an extra entry in the drawing! So now, email it to all of your freinds and ask them to mention your name.
You don’t have to be a parent or a signer, ANYONE can join!

There is no purchase necessary and a purchase will not increase your odds.

First Prize: $120 Apple Gift Card
Second Prize: $80 Amazon Gift Card
Third Prize: free SignShine Sing and Sign on line
Forth Prize: 2 movie tickets with popcorn

Following is how you enter, each step is one drawing entry:

1. Become a Friend of SignShine on Facebook and Fan of SignShine on Facebook
2. Follow us on Twitter
3. Subscribe to our Blog

Now (you must complete the entry and follow this last step!), come back to this page and leave a comment with the following information:

- Your Name
- The name of the person who suggested you become a fane.g.
“Hi, Jane Doe here, I was referred by John Smith. Hope to win!”

Remember the more friends you invite to become a fan, the more times your name will be entered by your friends, so the odds start to look better for you.

All entries will be entered into a random drawing. The four winners will be picked from one valid entry, where both names appear. Odds depend on number of entries.Winners will be drawn at random on June 3, 2010. Winners names will be posted on the website, Facebook and Twitter pages and will be contacted directly via message Facebook.

[Your email is never published or shared]

Sunday, May 9, 2010

So many ways to express my love- MOMMY!

I wish you a special day, celebrating the most important, joyous, complex, rewarding, challenging and miraculous “job” in the world -- being a MOM!

Let's start by signing MOMMY:

 Spell: M O M
Baby: "MOMMY"    -     Mom: "I LOVE YOU"

Let the Sign Shine!

Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner  
Become a fan

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How to sign FaceBook in Sign Language?

Let's Learn, Click and Connect:


Become a fan:

Be a friend:

Let the Sign Shine!

Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sign Language for Babies - Part 2

Here is Part 2 of our journey of teaching our baby Scarlette how to use baby sign language to communicate. If you missed it you can read Part 1 first.

In Part 1 we discovered how useful baby signing was before she could sign back to us, and here I will discuss what happened next.

The next milestone came the day she signed back to us. She had just finished her milk, the empty bottle was on our bedside table. She looked over at the bottle and signed 'milk' to us. We were so excited! I was lucky enough to get this special moment on video - she was only 9 months old.

Stay tuned for Part 3 where we discovered how all this fit together with her language development...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Don't Delay with a Speech Delay!

I've recently had the opportunity to instruct a number of different parents along with their children and have experienced the discovery of delayed speech in children 24 to 27 months old! As I carefully attempted to inquire with the parents regarding any acknowledgment or proactive stance on the matter - I found parents to be uneasy, but their pediatrician "assured them it was normal".

Well, clearly I have had to bite my tongue and curb my reaction to those claims. These same parents couldn't understand why the child has now started to lash out at a younger sibling, break and destroy things in their home, and/or "completely flip out in public" (a direct quote from a dad).
Do you think the child is ticked... because they are unable to effectively communicate? Maybe!?!?

Just so you know, there are a multitude of reasons children experience a delay in speech. The main one, no one seems to be addressing as early on as they should and can for that matter... Dyslexia! This causes speech delays in 20% of the WORLD's population. Not just the USA - the world. Most often, Dyslexia is not addressed until the child completely fails in reading and then that spills into other subjects, right about grade 3. The US school system then attempts their "college try" of slower-n-louder. These kids aren't Deaf - they're Dyslexic.
To learn more visit: Bright Solutions for Dyslexia

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sign Language Can Help Children Learn to Read

Teaching your baby sign language will actually improve his/her ability to learn to read.
Reading is a complex process that requires the reader’s brain to develop a multitude of neural pathways. The more developed those pathways, the greater the chances the reader will be able to automatize the act of reading. As the many pathways become fully developed, the reader becomes a fluent reader, and comprehension is possible.
A reader has to transfer the visual information of print into phonological information that is familiar to him from the auditory language that he hears daily in order to make meaning out of the print that he is processing. But a reader who has learned sign language, which is spatially visual, has the advantage of having developed neural pathways that connect the visual with language, or meaning. In other words, the baby who has learned sign language has a jumpstart on his ability to transfer visual information into meaningful linguistic information, relevant and critical to reading. He already understands that language or visual symbols convey meaning.
A child whose only exposure to language is auditory begins his development of the neural pathways at a much later age. The child who only knows auditory language must learn to take visual information (print) and make those visual symbols meaningful.

Friday, April 9, 2010

yet another benefit...

we all know there are so many benefits to signing, right?   countless, countless, benefits!  from reducing frustration, to higher vocabulary, to better social skills...the list is endless.

well, just recently, i discovered yet another benefit.  i'm not quite sure how to put it in words, yet, but i will do my best.

i was showing my son a picture of a police car, and i said to him, "look, it's a police car".  he looked at me, and signed "please" and said "please car".  huh.

a couple days later, we were squeezing limes into our water.  and i said, "do you want some lime water".  he looked at me and signed "lion".  alrighty.

what just happened for me, was i got a glimpse into my little guy's head.  i got a chance to understand what he's hearing.  how he understands what i'm saying to him.  sure, the words aren't quite right, but it shows me how what i'm saying gets processed through his little mind.  all these new words.  he takes it in, but has to filter it through what he already has in that little mind of his.  and sometimes it sticks, sometimes it's connected to something else.  whatever happens, had he not had signs, i could easily assume that a) it's going in one ear and out the other  or b) he understands exactly what i'm saying.

however, with his signs, i now realize that it's not just a) or b).  what is sometimes going on is that he does hear what i'm teaching him, but he also is working things out.  so, for right now, in his mind "please cars" drive around, and we drink "lion water."  and as he works it all out in his mind, i'm ok with that :)