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July 22, 2004



When I was in 6th grade, we had the option to take "Mini courses." One of the mini-courses they offered was sign language, and I took it. Let me tell you, I cussed my parents out NUMEROUS times with my hands. I always spelled it out, of course, seeing as how they would probably recognize anything else. Plus, it could be done behind my back. ;o)

I still know my alphabet. It came in handy several years ago while I was working at KMart. A deaf couple came in to shop, and they were having a difficult time asking for help with something. I was able to communicate on a basic level with them to get them what they needed. They both let me know how appreciative they were, and I remember that to this day.

As for the kids? Well...I did teach the 9yo his alphabet at one point, but honestly, I doubt he remembers any of it. I'm glad you brought the topic up, though. I bet sign language might help my 5yo learn more about HIS alphabet and learning how to read and write. (He has an auditory processing disorder.) I'll have to try that and see if it helps!


Wow! I suppose I should be ashamed of myself - I'm a linguistics major in college, yet never even thought about the fact that a child might pick up sign language before verbal language! (Although, recalling things I've learned for class, it does make sense... for example, babies are born able to distinguish ALL phonemes, but those sounds which are not used in the native language gradually vanish from perception. For example, Polish has a 'dark L' sound, which to adult native English speakers sounds exactly the same as a 'normal' L. But to Polish natives, the two sounds are totally different!) Vision, however, is 'up to full speed' long before verbal language capabilities are. WOW!!! Light bulb!

I have been planning for years that when I finally have kids, that I will raise them bilingual if not trilingual (I'm trilingual - English, Dutch, and Spanish), but I never even considered sign language! I wouldn't use the 'full' language (assuming my child was not deaf, of course), but the idea of using it as a way to get basic ideas across really appeals to me. I know the alphabet and some basic signs already because my aunt is an ASL interpreter, but I'm sure she'd love to show me some more. And come to think of it, there's a little girl here at camp right now, Amanda, who's ten or eleven and fluent in sign language because both her parents are deaf; I bet she'd teach me some, too!

Again, wow! Definitely something to think about!


I was all gung-ho about signing to my son when he was 6 mo. old. It took him many months before he signed back some simple things like "more". Once he started talking, I stopped actively teaching him signs. I have yet to convince some people that signing doesn't delay verbal speech especially because my son didn't talk much until 21 mo. His delayed case, however, is probably due to having three different languages spoken in the home.


Ok, I just finished reading the whole entry. If that were my situation, I would be very happy that Tony did it in sign, and not verbally. His "Nana" and "Papa" would have given me a lesson in child raising, that I would NOT have needed right at the moment. The sign language was a private thing between me and my child, and no one else need know what was taking place.


I haven't even read the other comments; but I want you to know that I HAVE taught Tony sign language. Like you, it's between Tony and me. It's pidgon ASL, I guess is what you would call it. I am so glad I did, because Tony and I can communicate quietly with each other, I can sign and say when I need him to really pay attention, and he does the same with me.

If I had a chance to do it again, I most certainly would, and even more.


Our daycare provides weekly classes to all 3 year-olds and up. I love it, cause every Friday Kathryn gets to teach me a few new things.


You know,this was one of those things I wanted to teach my kids.With each one I swore I would.Life got busy and it got put to the back burner.Over and over again.


We taught all three of our kids "our" version of sign language. They probably know 200 or so signs, mostly nouns. Fruits, vegetables, animals, people, etc. (I know, isn't that redundant?) It did a great job of getting us through the second year with at least some minimal communication and very few tantrums.

However, our 11-month old learned the sign for "all done" (clapping in our household) and now the moment you put him on the diaper table or in his car seat, he's giving you the "all done" sign. Don't we wish.

I'm not convinced teaching signs was something every family must do. We certainly couldn't communicate exclusively with our kids at 18-months. But it was good for a few laughs, and concepts such as "more" or "all done" do help get past that horrible pre-2 non-verbal communication stage.


We have absolutely no reason to use it, but I am fun and intrigued at what a small infant can learn. She only knows what I learn at my slow pace from reading. We are, by no means, fluent. But at least she can communicate. She is never fussy when she wants something. She just signs it and I LOVE that I understand her!!


Sign language is heaven sent when dealing with little ones who can't verbalize very well yet! We didn't use it much with our older daughter, now almost 4 - only a few words - please, thank you, done, cup/thirsty. Actually, most of the words were related to food and eating now that I think about it- made mealtimes much less screamy. Anyway, our younger daughter, now almost 2, has a larger vocabulary in part because her daycare uses sign language reinforcement to help facilitate communication. It's awesome! It can be frustrating though when Grandparents and other grown-ups don't understand what the baby is trying to say/sign.

We also happen to live in a community with a signicant deaf population. Sign is part of everyday life for us. My girls and I can actually sign most of the RC mass and it makes for a very fulfilling experience. One of my funniest/favorite memories is walking in the bathroom to check on older daughter and seeing her sitting on the toilet signing the mass responses and lip syncing the words. And she was so proud!


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