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Signing With Babies And Children: June 2010

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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: