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Baby sign language

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 10:04 AM   Ignore ]  
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Haven’t we all been frustrated by the inability to understand what our baby wants before they learn to speak? The endless “Is this what you want? No? This? This? This???”. And we are not the only ones frustrated! Our children look at us as if we must be silly to not understand their vague gestures and grunting!

I want to share my experience with baby sign language with you all, and the impact it has had on our family. We found out about baby sign language when our first son was nearly 2 and already speaking quite well. So, when our second son was born we were keen to try it out. From when he was about 7 months old we started to sign the words ‘food’ when he was fed, ‘milk’ when he was offered the breast, ‘drink’ when he was offered a cup, and ‘thank you’ when he was given something to hold. Slowly we introduced new signs such as ‘change’ (for a new nappy/diaper), ‘play’, ‘finished’, ‘sleep’ and ‘want’.

Around the time of his first birthday he started to sign back to us. His first sign was ‘food’ and we were very excited! Finally we could communicate with him without him breaking down in tears! (and he wasn’t the only one crying) He very quickly started to sign other words to us.

Now, at 16 months he has started to speak. He has learned to say ‘Dada’, ‘Mama’ (only when he’s upset), ‘Sasha’ (the dog’s name), and ‘fish’. He continues to sign to us, and his vocabulary is rapidly growing. Whenever I speak to someone about baby sign language I ask my son to tell them about ‘the helicopter’. He makes the sign straight away.

Baby sign language has made such a difference to our family. It is now easy to discover what our son needs. His brother thinks its heaps of fun, and loves learning new signs too!

If you have never heard of baby sign language, check out http://www.australianbabyhands.com for more information. This is based on Australian sign language for the deaf, and I am sure there would be a local equivalent wherever you are.

I’m also interested to hear of anyone else’s experience with baby sign language, and how it has affected your lives! Please share!

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Posted: 09 Feb 2012 11:01 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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What an amazing concept…. heard about it sometime back. Believe extraordinary results and your experience bears that Elli…. I would imagine it must aleviate a tremendous amount of frustration on the part of both parent and child and makes for good bonding. I heard that a child taught baby sign in infancy tend to develop superb language skills later on and also an increased ability to learn a second language. Wish this concept was around in my day lol.

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 04:18 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Not only that, but the reports I studied at uni (child health) showed that it actually helped the children’s brain’s to develop synapses and nerve connections just that bit quicker and of a higher quality (the synapses you build during baby and toddlerhood you cant replicate, you’re stuck that way for life) so it made it easier for the children to learn new things as they got older and their memory and concentration span was a lot better than the control group.

Plus it tends to build a stronger bond between a child and it’s parents because there is meaningful interaction between the two.

Posted: 09 Feb 2012 05:42 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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On a serious note I can see a lot in this and believe babies not only try to comunicate with adults but also manage it with other babies and pets, but on a less serious note the learn pretty quick how to tell us if not happy like this little chap.

 

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Posted: 09 Feb 2012 10:37 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Fortunately LadyCaz, displeasure is an emotion we can identify in our children almost instantly! cheese

That little man is certainly very expressive!

Posted: 11 Feb 2012 04:23 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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It is an amazing discovery to be able to use sign to communicate. When taking care of a child (three years old) who had a variety of handicaps which left him speechless, I referred to a book which the parents used as well to communicate with him. It was amazing how this little guy would make his gestures to me and me scrambling to the book. We communicated! That was amazing.

I also hear that apes use sign language in controlled environments of course. wink

Posted: 11 Feb 2012 11:41 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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I know scientists have had success teaching sign language to chimps and gorillas, in those studies into cognitive function. I think I read somewhere too about a study of apes in the wild who were using certain signals to communicate.

Just thought I’d share what happened to us last night at my mother-in-law’s. We stayed later than we usually do, which isnt a problem as they have a port-a-cot for our youngest to sleep in if he needs it. At about 9:00 he was playing nicely on the carpet and got up to cuddle his aunt. After a few minutes he scrambled off her lap, then waved to us all and walked off down the hallway making the sign for ‘sleep’. Its so nice have a baby who can tell you when he’s ready for bed without screaming the house down. grin

Posted: 12 Feb 2012 06:01 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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I was about to say that it has been recorded in the wild that monkeys/gorillas have their own sign language!  My dd’s friend has a down syndrome child and of course they had to learn sign language - its amazing seeing their younger daughter who is 2 years communicate with him in this manner….

 

 

 

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Posted: 12 Feb 2012 06:39 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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SocialGirl - 12 Feb 2012 06:01 AM

My dd’s friend has a down syndrome child and of course they had to learn sign language

I’ve never heard of using sign language to communicate with people with Downs Syndrome. I imagine sign language can be applied in many situations where a person’s speech is impaired. I wonder if stroke victims could do the same if their motor skills were not too badly affected?

Posted: 12 Feb 2012 06:49 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Well I suppose its the obvious route, don’t you think - thought it was the norm for DS kids - then again I don’t know many!

Ja, I think it would be advantageous for those who have had a stroke - no limitations really if you think about it.

 

 

 

 

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Posted: 13 Feb 2012 12:15 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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I honestly don’t know any, and I’ve only ever seen people speak out loud to people with Downs… But I think its a great idea!

Posted: 14 Feb 2012 04:41 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Yeah, I’ve heard of it, especially where for a while I was thinking of going into Sign Language Interpretation. I don’t have kids yet, but I definitely intend to us it. I mean, sign language is just a wonderful way to communicate. There are times where I’m in a very noisy, crowded place, trying to have a conversation with a friend and I start wishing that everyone knew sign language. Personally, I think everyone should learn fingerspelling at a minimum. I mean, kids have to learn their alphabet anyway, right? Why not give them another way to learn it? Something tactile. Fits another learning style at the same time too. Not to mention that at least you have the basics to communicate with the deaf community should you run into a deaf person. There’s just so many uses for this, even beyond childhood.

Posted: 14 Feb 2012 10:52 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Compulsory finger spelling. I love it! What a fantastic idea Amaya. grin

Posted: 15 Feb 2012 05:58 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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I like your train of thought there on all fronts Amay…. I think it certainly should be encouraged, ja. A school friend of my g/d has a mum who is deaf and this little girl when talking to the kids sometimes uses verbal and sign with them which I think is great….

Posted: 15 Feb 2012 06:45 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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I remember from school here they used to also get you to draw each letter on your hand as it was said, the teachers also did it with you blindfolded, I believe it was to make you more aware of letter shapes but I can now see this is some way to this as it wouldnt take much to instead sign each letter, another thing I was taught at school mainly due to haveing a girl in class at secondary school who was partially deaf was to always look directly at the person and make sure you move the lips not mumble and speak precisely, I later learned in psychology this also shows a position of dominance when conversing with others, this all goes to show the way we communicat is also the way we are percieved by many, speal slowly, directly and clearly facing a person and you are more likely to gain respect and get your point across.

Posted: 15 Feb 2012 07:42 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Quite right LC… we were taught that in speech and drama… I think body language is also key.

There is nothing more off-putting than a person with ‘shifty’ eyes…  for some reason can’t or will not look you in the eye - I’m inclined to be distrusting of the likes which I suppose is a little unfair because ‘shyness’ could be the reason!

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