My Photo
Blog powered by Typepad

« Casualties of Renovation | Main | Love, Pass it On »

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Such a beauty! I'm referring to the baby, of course, and not the booger. Funny story.

Spit and image of B!

And she's even giving the peace sign in the picture! How cute! I think the signing thing is a totally individual decision. We have friends who have and haven't used it with varying results. My only other comment is that if you do choose to use signs and then have others watch your child on occasion, great frustration ensues if said temporary and occasional child care providers have no idea what the freaking signs are!

I am a researcher on gesture and sign language and had a look into baby signing and I am a father of three litle ones as well. And I wholeheartedly

I am a researcher on gesture and sign language and had a look into baby signing and I am a father of three litle ones as well. And I wholeheartedly agree with your honest and thorough analysis of why you should or should not use it. My experience was almost exactly the same and I decided to give the signing up in favour of other developmental activities like playing, swimming, singing, etc. It is basically a cost-benefit analysis :-)

I agree w/ your analysis too. I haven't taught signs (except for letting them watch Signing Time DVDs from the library recently) to my 2 girls, ages 2 and 4. It was always too cumbersome for me to remember to teach them. My first was a very early talker, who now has a very developed vocabulary for her age. My 2nd daughter we can hardly understand and spoke much later. Still I hope that reinforcing the words and correct pronunciation will help her verbal skills more than signing would.

Um, I'd actually be interested in borrowing the DVD. We signed with Amelia and it was a big help -- of course her situation was a little different. But she still loves to learn signs and has taken the lead in making us teach Lila. Heh.

We started doing the sign for milk when H was a tiny little thing every time she would nurse. When she was six months old, she started doing it. She quickly learned other signs and instead of crying is able to tell us if she's hungry, sleepy, all done. It's been so nice!
I've even been able to tell her when she starts to cry - use your words - and she stops crying and signs, so amazing!
It didn't take much effort - after she got the first sign, she seemed to understand that there's a sign (and a word) for everything.
At 17 months (today!) she has over 30 words and my mom was blown away by how verbal she is. I assume she would have been an early talker anyway, but since we didn't put much effort into the signing and she was able to communicate with us before she could speak, it's only been a good thing.

De-lurking here; I missed the first post on this subject.

My mother-in-law is a speech pathologist and like your aunt is very critical of teaching a hearing child to sign. I think, though, that she's using her own experience as the barometer which is not really relevant; a speech therapist works with kids who have established speech problems and /of course/ they don't teach those kids to sign because they need to learn how to overcome their speech issues, not get around them.

The IQ thing - meh. I've read those studies, and I'm betting it has more to do with genetics - most of the kids learning sign are kids of well-educated, intelligent, and involved parents and are going to have higher IQ's for that reason.

Anyway. I think you're right in weighing the pros and cons, and it does sound like Milla will do just fine without.

I did not use any signs with our first daughter and then did with our second. I much preferred using them, as she was able to communicate exactly what it was she wanted without frustration. We only used about 5 signs consistently (more, all done, please, milk, and something else or two - I just can't come up with them, so they must not have been as used as the others). We did it just by doing the signs ourselves as we were talking to her - from about 5 months on. It wasn't so much an issue after a couple weeks, and it really did help, as she was signing before she was 12 months and filled in some gaps before she was really talking by 17 months.

Just giving a perspective that while it may seem like something extra to have to do, we enjoyed being able to understand her wants and she enjoyed being able to tell us - before she had the mouth skills to speak the words.

I have hearing children and I do not think it is wrong for them to learn to sign. It will help them to communicate with those who sign. ASL can be classified as another language making them bilingual. Two of my sons have serious speech issues related to being preemies and their birth defects. They talk and talk quite a bit, but sometimes they have problems and then use their sign language to communicate what it is. I don't want them frustrated, but to be happy and successful.
Talk and use sign language is fine done together. My boys get that in speech therapy.

My daughter is two, no hearing impairments, and we taught her how to sign a few things when she was little. I don't remember the exact ages but we started using a few signs and in a few months she started using them too. It helped us a great deal because it cut down on her level of frustration from not being able to communicate. That is the only reason we taught her and it worked out perfectly. Her speech was not delayed at all. In fact she started talking earlier than expected, has a much larger vocab. than expected, and it very easy to understand. Once she started talking she also stopped signing.

We only used a few signs every day. More, all done, eat, drink, milk, and night-night. She actually knew at least three dozen more (from books) but didn't really use them. We choose the signs we wanted to teach her that we thought would help her the most.

I just wanted to tell my story, in case it's different than what you've heard already. I also think my daughter's temperment and personality are similar to Camilla's. She was a very needy baby, etc. It's just helped us sooo much, so if Camilla gets a little older and you think maybe signing might help, give it a try. It won't be too late.

Everything's better when you can put it into a series of tidy little equations, isn't it?
My general rule is that if doing something takes you really far from your natural impulses, you might be better off looking for an alternative that's a better fit.
I talk with my hands all the time, so turning the gestures into consistent signs was no big deal. If I were the sort who normally left my hands demurely in my lap, I wouldn't have done the baby signs thing either.

If a man comes to your front door and says he is conducting a survey And asks you to show him your bum, do not show him your bum. This is a scam. He only wants to see your bum. I wish I had got this yesterday. I feel so stupid and cheap. -The Bum

That's great! The baby, not the booger. I have also found such glumps of goo pasted to my neck after snuggle-time.
I think you're right-on with the sign-language thing. My husband and I chose only to teach her "please" and "more," since we found it useful for us.
But in no way did it accelerate language-acquisition. She could actually say a few words before she figured out the signs!

Just wanted to add--first we had the knives, then the gun situation, but this is the worst: side sleeping? Someone call the authorities quick. This is the parenting police: PULL OVER.


I guess the only thing I'd suggest you think about is that (and you know this, of course) Camilla is not you. What I mean by that, is that your experience as a very early talker may not be her experience. I was a nice, compliant, very verbal, relatively sedentary, extremely early reader. Both my girls could not be more different from me-the eldest talked normally, very little interest in reading, dramatic, oppositional. The baby is insanely active, never sits still, and only says about 4 words at almost 16 months. We didn't sign with the first but do with the second, and it's worked well for her. I attribute it to the fact that she's such a physical child-her brain is really occupied with motor skills right now rather than speech (which is perfectly OK-she isn't delayed by any stretch of the imagination) so I think communicating physically makes more sense for her. And I'll always choose having a less-frustrated child over "forcing" a skill development, if that makes sense.

I guess what I'm trying to say, badly, is that either choice is obviously fine, but it's one of those things I never thought I'd do til I had a child for whom it made sense. And it really is almost no work at all-you just learn a few signs and sign when you say the word normally, that's it for us.

But man, I have to warn you. We have never done any TV w/her, until DH got his hands on the Signing Time DVD. That thing is like crack for babies. She's invented her own sign for it and asks for it multiple times a day. It's crazy.

The comments to this entry are closed.