September 10, 2009
I began signing with S when he was about 6 months old and am a huge advocate of it. It is so nice to have S tell me that he "hurts" or even better sign "potty" as he grunts.
I am doing this post because I have realized that I rarely sign with him anymore now that he is so verbal. I want to continue though because I think it's important for S to understand that there are different ways to communicate and that there are different ways of representing something (this is an important math concept). Below are a few thoughts I wanted to share with you after experimenting and learning from my mistakes.
1. Keep Signing. When you first start, you may not see progress for a looong time. When S was about 9 months, I backed off of the sign because it seemed to not be working, until I saw Baby Fireese and she inspired me to keep at it. Now S can sign over 50 different signs and has begun to make up his own.
2. You don't need to buy baby sign board books. Your baby most likely will not understand how to interpret the illustration or picture of the sign. I used regular board books (i.e animals) and showed him the sign when showing him the picture.
3. Look up signs. Use a good ASL resource (I like this online video dictionary) to look up what is applicable to your household. If you just made carrots for dinner, look up the sign for carrot.
4. Be forgiving. Your baby will not be "correct" at first (or ever it seems) with the sign. Just like they may say "ba" for ball when learning to talk, the sign will not be precise in the beginning.
5. Videos. This is where I began to break the "no television before two" rule (more on that later). I bought some videos for S that I got for a really great bargain, otherwise I would have only used the Signing Time videos at my library (which I used as well). I do not recommend using signing videos if you haven't been signing. I used them after a few months of signing to reinforce signing with him. If you are going to stick to no television, good for you. Ignore #5.
6. Sign. The hardest part for me is to remember to sign. The more you do it, the more it comes naturally.