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Okay, so in my motherly instincts, I'm kind of ignoring what I know to be true about children developing properly. I know that Jonah is *probably* okay, but I'm still concerned.
He is fourteen months old, and the only word we can get him to consistently say is "yum." He says it when he's eating ice cream LOL. He says Dadad, but sometimes it is just babbling. He has stopped calling me Momom, and I haven't even heard it in babble for a long time. I heard him say milk ("mok") once at the store, but never again. He will say "ssss" when he is peeing, the same as I do.
He also signs very little: All done, milk, potty, change, and more. He has tried to sign apple but doesn't really do it consistently, and I don't really think he gets what an apple is yet. He will also "babble" his signs, and just run through them over and over on the floor, but not really mean what he is signing (like he'll keep signing all done and more, over and over at playtime, or he'll sign potty even when he isn't going)
I am SO GLAD that we sign with Jonah. I don't think that it has kept him from speaking, at all. I do think that because he is not speaking yet, that we have given him a great tool for communicating, since the few words that he does sign are for his every day needs. I know for a fact that there would be so many more tantrums in this house, and it would be so frustrating, because when Jonah wants something he throws a fit! But now he is able to sign "milk" when he is thirsty, or "potty" when he has to go, when he otherwise wouldn't be able to tell us.
I started signing with Jonah because I thought it would give him a headstart on language skills. But now that I know he just isn't ready for speech yet, I am so glad that we have given him this ability to communicate with us.
BTW, the reason that I say I know it isn't the sign language that caused any delays he may have, is because we were kind of expecting this. He had growth delays when he was a young baby, and was hospitalized for failure to thrive. He wasn't getting the nutrition he needed to grow, for some reason. We've been praying that his development hasn't been impaired because of it, but now whenever I watch him, and I see his problem solving, and his gross motor as well as fine motor skills, and just the way he plays in general, he seems more like a nine month old, not a one year old.
Anyway, I didn't mean to unload; I just was thinking about it while watching him sleep just now, and wanted to share my gratitude for what we're sharing with our children through signing.
Click the blinkies!
Thank You, Pattyandthemoos, for my beautiful siggy!
I understand your concern, but I wouldn't be worried at this point. Even if it turns out he was delayed as a young baby, I am sure he will catch up soon. It's recommended that preemies be given two years to catch up to their peers, and because of his early health issues Jonah may need a similar amount of time as well. But babies don't really talk much at this age anyway; many of the babies in Caoimhe's PR can only say one to three words; most just point at what they want. Jonah already knows five signs and uses them to communicate with you, which to me says that he is developing just fine. He's babbling in sign, which means that his mind is actively working on his vocabulary skills even when he's not talking to you. That is great!
Like you mentioned, I don't think signing is slowing down his speech; I think that signing with him is probably going to help alleviate any delays he might possibly have and help him learn to speak faster than he would have otherwise. I think it's great that you're giving him the opportunity to communicate with you through signs; what a wonderful gift signing is, to both parent and child!