Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I'm a HUGE advocate of teaching babies and toddlers sign language as a means of communication.  Whether speech delayed or not, it is such a useful tool, as babies are able to sign before they are able to speak.  Some parents worry that if their child uses signs they won't then try to speak, but research has indicated that this is not the case, and in fact, using sign language can accelerate their verbal skills.  Plus, if you teach your child ASL (American Sign Language), you're introducing your child to a second language, a huge bonus. :)

Before we even realized my son was speech delayed, we taught him several signs, including more, all done, drink, eat, play, bed, help, and please.  Personally, bed was my favorite sign, as he actually would sign it when he got tired and knew he was ready for bed. :)

My husband and I had known a few signs beforehand.  Any other signs we wanted to learn, we would simply look up online.  I found the following video incredibly helpful for learning signs and for inspiration to keep persisting with teaching sign language:

Baby Babble - Speech-Enhancing DVD for Babies and ToddlersAlso, once we realized my son was a little speech delayed, I bought the DVD Baby Babble: Speech Enhancing DVD for Babies and Toddlers.  This video, though not of the greatest quality production wise, was created by pediatric speech language pathologists, who definitely know what they are doing.  It is an excellent tool for teaching basic sounds and phrases a child uses as they learn to speak.  It's also phenomenal for teaching signs.  My son learned to imitate the signs in this DVD before he started imitating the sounds.  As he grew older we bought the second and third DVD and learned even more signs from them.
Vol. 1: My First Signs - DVDSince my son is still non-verbal, signing is the main way he communicates with us, and so we are teaching him new signs.  To do this, we have been watching the Signing Time DVDs.  This is a series created by Rachel Coleman, whose adorable little daughter is deaf and helps teach the signs in the DVDs.  There are several volumes, each teaching about 20-30 new signs.  I watch the DVD with him the first time or two to learn the signs, and then let him watch it a few more times.  You can buy the DVDs here, but honestly, what we do is we rent each DVD on Amazon Instant Watch for $1.99.  Each DVD can be rented for a week, which is honestly all the time we need to watch it a few times and learn the signs we want to incorporate into our communication.

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