Thursday, October 9, 2008
Our family learns ASL
I had heard about a relatively new trend to teach babies and small children to sign. The theory being that you would get fewer tantrums and frustration as a child was learning to talk. I am sort of embarrassed to admit that I thought it was just for super high touch, woo-woo parents. I was skeptical and unsure how to even start learning myself let alone teach it to Shea.
Thankfully we were introduced to a truly brilliant series of DVDs call Signing Time.
We borrowed a couple just to check them out and we were hooked. Simple and very creatively put together; they are very engaging shows, 1/2 hour long with absolutely wonderful songs. The sister team that put them together did such a terrific job that the popularity has literally gone through the roof. They manage to demystify signing and make it very accessible to anyone.
For a holiday gift that year, my mom bought us the the first 6 DVDs and they became a staple that first year or so. My daughter (5 years older than Shea) loved them too. So, with that level of enthusiasm we launched into the world of signing.
It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going be and it was true, it did help with Shea's frustration level. It helped us all think in terms of sign and gesturing so that we could lay a foundation for Shea to be able to converse. And, the signs started coming right away.
He had been mainly pointing to show us what he wanted. But, with Signing Time it gave us access to the basic signs of living; more, food, drink, etc. Shea's vocabulary was building fast; milk, cheese, cookie, cat, dog, etc.
Shea's big sister took it upon herself to really encourage and reinforce the signs. This gave her a special teaching role and a very healthy way to interact with her little brother.
We invested in the next 6 DVDs and continue to rotate through them. We definitely have our favorites. All in all, I can't say enough about how positive the Signing Time series has been for us and would highly recommend them to any family.
Although Shea has now gone beyond just signing and is using words more and more, I am glad we have this foundation. We still sign letters often and it has really helped with Shea learning the alphabet and identifying letter sounds.