May 29th, 2009 by

Adding a sign

Tonight at dinner, I decided to offer Jonah a biter biscuit. We call them cookies, and use the sign for cookie which is a C shape placed to the palm of the other hand, and twisted as if making circles for a cookie on a plate.We have been emphasizing the sign for apple at mealtime, because Jonah showed an interest in this sign while eating freeze-dried apple dices. I’ve been giving him the apples after his purees, and emphasizing the sign for apple as I talk to him about what he is eating. To do the sign for apple, I make an A shape with my hand and place the knuckle of that index finger to my cheek, then twist my hand back and forth. In this picture, an X shape is used, but it is the same basic signBecause he’s been eating an awful lot of apples during this, I decided to offer him a cookie tonight instead. I said “Do you want your ‘cookie?’” and did the sign. I showed him his cookie and said “Here is your ‘cookie.’ Yum, a ‘cookie!’” I did the sign every time I said the word “cookie.” Jonah looked at me and did the sign for apple. I was a little taken aback, because up until now he has only managed to poorly mimic the sign. I said “No, it’s a cookie!” and did the sign again. He would not touch the cookie, and signed “apple” again. I said “No dear, that’s a cookie!” and he signed apple, and threw the cookie on the floor.

I got him his apples.

I am not sure if he was doing the sign for apple because it is what we have been doing so much of after his purees, or if he really was telling me that he wanted apples over a biter biscuit.

I am very pleased that he has finally added another sign to his repertoire. Up until now, he has only done “all done” and “milk.” I was beginning to get frustrated, because he signed “milk” for the first time between five and six months. Then he finally added “all done” around seven months. He is just now beginning to refine these signs enough that people besides me can tell that he’s doing them. It has seemed like forever waiting for him to add more signs to these two. He has also started to wave bye-bye in some situations. Like his “all done” he doesn’t wave his hand much. It is sort of just showing his palm. But, it’s recognizable, and that’s what counts to me. He’s making the effort to communicate; who cares if it’s exactly right. We wouldn’t say that a toddler can’t speak because he mispronounces words or uses forms that are easier for him to say. Daryl thinks that the sign doesn’t count until he can do it “the right way” but I think as long as he is making the effort to do the movements, it counts.

Of course, all three of the cameras were loaded with dead batteries during the apple incident tonight, so I was unable to catch this sign on film. I’m hoping to be able to snap a picture or video of it tomorrow, but with my luck he will want a cookie rather than apples.

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