16 July 2012

Baby Signs

We do baby sign language. That is, we do our own version of baby sign language. Rumor has it that boy babies are not as quick to learn to speak as girl babies. I have also seen a few people who do signing with their kids, and I figured I would give it a shot. I know a little bit of sign language, but not much. I started signing with Ike when he was about eight months old. Mostly I focused on two signs - "more" and "all done." I did my own versions of these signs because I remembered them incorrectlly (as I later learned). I did these signs very diligently when feeding Ike because I wanted him to be able to communicate with me. On Christmas day, when Ike was just over one year old, he signed "more" for the first time. So, it took four months for him to independently give me a message via a sign.

This picture is of him signing "more" to my friend, Priscilla, who was feeding him yogurt covered pretzels.

I feel like doing a few signs has been a good communication tool for us. First of all, he says about a dozen words now, and several of those I would not recognize as words if it weren't for the fact that they are accompanied by signs. For example, his word for "drink" sounds a lot like "jurrr." I think he's trying to make the "dr" sound. Anyway, if it weren't for the accompanying sign, it would have taken me a long time to figure that one out. "Ka" is his word for "milk." Definitely needed the sign to know what he was talking about with that one. (He also says "ka" for "book.")

I have also worked very hard on "please" and "thank you." He knows these words very well, and he knows that I expect him to jump through the speaking and signing hoops to get what he wants. Other adults are not as diligent in making him use his manners words, but I mean business about those. Both of those signs are now accompanied by verbal words that are actually fairly understandable. On occasion he has told me "thank you" without being reminded. I have also given the queue "ask nicely" when encouraging him to sign "please." Consequently when he is in a grumpy mood and being a stinker, when I tell him to "be nice" he sometimes signs and says "please." I find it very amusing that he associates "please" with "nice."

Somebody asked me if I think that signing has delayed his speech. He's right on target for how many words he's supposed to be saying. I suppose it's possible that signing has made him more reliant on his hands than his mouth, but I'm just not that worried about it. If signing has delayed his speech, I think the delay is marginal.And besides, it's made my life so much easier to know what the heck he wants.We still do the signs he knows, but I am not teaching him any new signs. He talks enough that I am focusing more on getting him to say new words than on singing new words.


natalie tucker said...

I came across your blog. I wanted to say that you are doing great with your version of Baby Signs. As long as you are able to communicate with your son, then it is working! Also, research shows that combining signs with words will not delay speech, in fact it will speed first words, increase vocabulary, and increase IQ score. Baby Signs did research funded by the National Institute of Health (gov't). If you, or others are interested in the research and benefits, visit www.babysigns.com - - I am a mommy and Baby Signs instructor

Angela Noelle said...

I love seeing baby sign!