Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a sign

I am a big fan of teaching infants sign language. What a wonderful tool for communicating before baby learns to talk! It saves baby from so much frustration; and isn't it nicer to see a sign than to witness whining, banging, and pointing? Everyone needs tools to communicate - and those tools must be taught. I bought a signing book to use with Drew when he was about 7 months old. Unfortunately I didn't learn (or teach) as many signs as I would've liked, but he did learn "milk" "more" "please" "airplane" and "all done." There is a show on PBS, Signing Time, that others might also use as a teaching tool. As minimal as our signing experience has been, I found it valuable. I plan to do it again with baby # 2 and maybe even take a class!

Drew began signing before his first birthday. I can't remember exactly when it happened, but I remember encouraging him to sign "milk" before he got a bottle. It worked. And he quickly learned to express that he wanted more (or not) when eating solids. Later on I felt some manners were important and taught him to sign "please" which he quickly learned would get him what he wanted :)

Now Drew is 19 months and has an incredible vocabulary. He can say, or repeat, nearly anything. It's amazing! The irony is that he will not say the words: more, milk, or please. If I ask him to "Say Milk" he simply signs it. He continues to sign those three words constantly. I've heard the theory that children that sign often speak later, and I wondered if it was true. I think if you have a means to communicate you might be less inspired to learn to speak. I'm not sure. I do think it's interesting that Drew still refuses to speak those three words. It doesn't matter much to me how he communicates as that he can communicate.


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