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Signing With Babies And Children: January 2011

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sign Language Can Be The Foundation for Good Communication Skills

The foundation of good communication:

Eye contact is a subtle, but very critical aspect of communication. If a person has good eye contact, the chances of him developing communication skills is much improved. When you give your baby good eye contact, you are not only connecting with him in a beautiful way, but you then are a role model for him as well. We want our babies to understand the notion that one can communicate a lot through one’s eyes and through one’s facial expressions.

By encouraging your baby to give good eye contact, you are establishing the foundation for sign language as well as effective auditory communication. It is very difficult to learn sign language without eye contact. This is one of the primary beauties of this particular mode of communication. With an auditory language such as our spoken English, many people now try and communicate while looking at their phones, or their ipads, or televisions. When you do not make eye contact, and keep your eyes looking at the task at hand, you allow your face to remain expressionless. Then when you do look up and try to communicate with the same expressionless face, you lose the ability to connect with the other person. Effective communicators are good at giving eye contact, good at using their bodies, hands and facial expressions, and are good at receiving information from others through the eyes, hands, faces and bodies of others. You develop speech without the use of your eyes, but it is much more difficult to develop sign language without the use of your eyes. Sign language naturally helps babies become effective communicators.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What are your thoughts on baby sign? Have you used it? If so, how do you feel about it

I am so honored to be mentioned in a blog about Baby Sign Language: 

"Etel Leit, M.S., offers the following longer-term benefits of continuing (or I would think in cases of older infant adoption, beginning) sign language, even though speech is developing:

•Cognitive Stimulation: larger vocabulary, better spelling, better information retention, improved reading skills, enhanced fine motor coordination for writing

•Emotional Stimulation: able to more productively express emotions, better peer interaction, cultural sensitivity, gained confidence and self esteem, able to use manners well

Very interesting, and it all makes sense to me. Had I read this earlier, may have decided to teach my daughter sign even though her verbal skills were off the charts. Now that she’s two, I can see her enjoying it. I guess it’s never too late…"

The author then asks you a few questions, which I encourage all of you to respond to, you can help OTHER families that are still contemplating, , start signing TODAY:
What are your thoughts on baby sign? Have you used it? If so, how do you feel about it?

click here and share YOUR thoughts.

Let the Sign Shine,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Karate Boy says I Love You

One very important tool of signing is being able to communicate where others can't. Recently, while watching my son in his karate class, separated by glass, I watched him learning and doing his moves. I just wanted to cheer, but I knew he couldn't hear me.

But then, our eyes connected, and Dylan signed "I Love You".

I swelled with pride!

I signed back "I Love You" and "I am so Proud of You"! We shared a moment of connectivity that not even windows could separate!

What a magical way to express your feelings of pride in quiet rooms without interrupting anyone. How better to communicate during classes, across playgrounds, through windows, or when school buses carry them off! That's what makes signing so unique and so wonderful!

Start investing in the most precious thing you can share with your child; communication is truly the best gift you can give YOURSELF and YOUR CHILD today!

That was such a special moment!!! How lucky that I will always have the picture to be reminded.

*In the picture:
Dylan is signing I LOVE YOU (picture was taken behind the glass window)

Let's Sign and Shine,

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Baby Signing Video - Scarlette

We have been teaching baby sign language to our baby Scarlette since she was 4 months old. Her first sign was for 'milk' at the age of 10 months. She was so excited with herself and has embraced this wonderful communication tool with literally 'both hands'!

She is now 'almost' talking, and still uses her signs on a daily basis to emphasize the important keywords as she is talking to us. Here is a short video we took last year of some of her signing vocabulary. Click here to watch if you can't see below.

One of the things I love is that when she doesn't know the word, she makes up a sign to show us what she is trying to communicate. We were swimming in the pool on our vacation and one of the other children in the pool had some swimming goggles on. She put her fingers up to her face and made the shape of glasses to show us what she had seen.

My favourite sign has always been 'Thank-you'. This one always makes me smile and I have to admit (although I am her mommy so I am allowed to be biased) I have never met a 2 year old that has such beautiful manners. When we ask her something she always replies "yes please mommy" and then when she receives something she always says 'Thank you".

I would like to take this opportunity to say "Thank you Scarlette" for the joy you bring and these lasting memories we are lucky enough to have captured on video.


Friday, January 7, 2011

I'll Try that Again...

"I want to watch wahm."
"Mom, I want to watch wahm."

a pause in the request
"Mom, I want to watch snake."

My two and a half year old does great with speaking her needs and wants. As she is still learning the enunciation of various words, she likes to sign too.

But some times I am not watching or insisting on her to sign to help me understand.

This afternoon, my daughter was requesting for a particular children's show. She has watched it numerous times, but again, as I was not watching her, all I could hear was "wahm." As I did not know what that was, I persisted to ask "what, what do you want to watch?"

As the word turned to "snake," I was thinking, Wait a minute, is she now changing her request to a different show.

No, she was not changing the show. Instead, she was changing the way she communicated with me what show she wanted to watch.

She knew I understood her when she said "snake," so with that understanding, the word "wahm" for WORM was changed to "snake."

I turned to her and smiled as I signed "worm" and she followed with her little finger running up her arm. I then quickly went and found the show with "worm" in it.

Signing not only helps our children communicate their needs, it teaches them that communication comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Instead of requesting "wahm, wahm, wahm" and getting frustrated more and more as her mother kept asking "what, what, what," my daughter related with what her mom would understand and changed the word on her own.

Give your child the power of communication within their own hands, fingertips, and minds!

By Shawna Tran