Sunday, December 18, 2011


Well, in case you would like a change from all the Christmas posts on the blogs you read, I thought I'd write about us adding Sign Language to the many things we are learning.

Years and years ago, I took ASL (American Sign Language) classes with my sister.  We learned a fair bit, although we certainly never became fluent!

Then when Delta was born, I read about Baby Sign and the benefits found using Sign Language with hearing babies.  So I did some Baby Sign (ASL signs - note that some Baby Sign systems do NOT use ASL signs) with each of my children.  I will admit that we never had babies that could sign a hundred signs or anything like that.  But each child learned signs helpful to me... "More", "All Done", "Eat", "Milk", "Diaper", and then usually a couple of signs that interested the child.  When Foxtrot was a baby, we took a Baby Signing class, and Delta and Echo (and I ) took a Signing class for toddlers, where they learned more signs, like the colors, animals, and some foods.

And there I left it.

Now Golf has been learning baby sign language, and the older children have gotten interested.  So, I checked our library, and discovered it had the "Signing Time" videos (which we had occasionally watched on TV - but they are no longer on TV here.)  They also had some "Baby Signing Time" videos, so I took those out.

I have to say - WOW.  Golf is really starting to sign.  She will sign many of the words while we are watching the video.... and watching 2 videos just a couple of times - she is signing more in general.  She asked for a banana yesterday by signing.  Today she also asked..... to watch "Baby Signing Time".   She signed "More" "Baby" "Signing" "Time".   Hey - that is a whole sentence!

Here is a video of Golf signing Baby.  She usually signs "signing" as well, but didn't when I was filming her. (If you turn up the sound, you can hear the Baby Signing Time opening song in the background.)

I have had people ask me if teaching babies sign language slows down their speech.  Research has shown that if anything, it speeds up their speaking.  In fact, some speech therapists recommend using baby sign with children that are having problems speaking.  In our family, we have used baby sign with all our children.  One was late in speaking (that child had their speech evaluated and was at the very low side of normal - requiring no therapy.)  One was talking so fluently at a young age that people thought they were a year older than they were.  Another was also very fluent very young.  And of course, Golf is still learning.

I am still trying to decide how to approach adding ASL to our school.  We are watching the Signing Time videos for now.  I will probably work out something more with this free resource -

Also, the Sign Language Phrase Book (picture at top of blog) is very good for learning phrases and has a fantastic chapter on ASL grammar (which is NOT the same as English Grammar).

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