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July 2009 PR's Friday Field Trip- Baby Signing (10/23)


Forum: Baby Signing

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  #1  
October 22nd, 2009, 09:39 PM
soImarriedAnerd's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Hello ladies! Effervescence gave me permission to do our first friday field trip here with you guys! So whats going to happen is I'm going to link this thread on my board (July PR) and that way my ladies can come over here and ask you guys questions and learn more about Baby Signing. So please answer away and check back frequently as it will be a continuous question/comment thread!
Thanks again for having us
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  #2  
October 22nd, 2009, 11:00 PM
soImarriedAnerd's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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How many/who of you have hearing impaired children?....or use this as an earlier form of communication?
If you have a hearing impaired child-did you know sign language before that occured?

Is there different "languages" of signing (french, english, german, etc)?
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  #3  
October 23rd, 2009, 06:52 AM
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hi ladies. I don't have any questions, since I know a decent amount about signing in general, though have never taught my child. weird I know. BUT I do think what you ladies do is great!!
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  #4  
October 23rd, 2009, 07:06 AM
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Hmmm I never thought about the language thing. Are there other languages in sign language or are they all the same?
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  #5  
October 23rd, 2009, 07:27 AM
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What a neat idea! Ask away!

Quote:
How many/who of you have hearing impaired children?....or use this as an earlier form of communication?
If you have a hearing impaired child-did you know sign language before that occured?

Is there different "languages" of signing (french, english, german, etc)?
Most countries have developed their own signing language and each has its own unique grammatical structure. There is LSF (langue des signes francaise), BSL (British Sign Language), GSL (German Sign Language), and many others. In the US and Canada, we mainly use American Sign Language (ASL). Within each country, there are also different dialects or "accents" that are constantly evolving, just as with spoken languages.

I sign with my daughter Caoimhe, who is 13 months old. We use about 90% ASL and the other 10% are simple versions of the words that are hard for little hands to sign. She is not hearing impaired; we started using signs to communicate when she was four months old. She began signing back at six months old, and it has been an amazing experience for us ever since.
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  #6  
October 23rd, 2009, 07:46 AM
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How long do parents usually continue signing with their children? Is it used until they become verbal, or do you continue it and develop the skill for long term use?
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  #7  
October 23rd, 2009, 08:01 AM
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When did most of you start sign to your LO's?
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  #8  
October 23rd, 2009, 08:47 AM
soImarriedAnerd's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Can you walk us through how to start introducing it with our babies?
So does being right or left handed make a difference or cause any issues with signing? Can both hands make the same sign and it be understood or does a word have to be a certain hand?
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  #9  
October 23rd, 2009, 09:09 AM
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Yay, so many questions! I will try to answer them all, and I am sure the other signing ladies will reply with a lot more info on each question as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Rae~ View Post
How long do parents usually continue signing with their children? Is it used until they become verbal, or do you continue it and develop the skill for long term use?
I had originally planned to stop signing when Caoimhe could communicate well with words. But the words she's learned to say first aren't the ones I expected. She still has to sign for Milk, for example. So our conversations still consist of a mixture of signs and words at this point. For example, she will say Water and sign Drink at the same time, so I'll know that even though she's in the bathtub she's not talking about the bath water, she's thirsty.

There are so many uses for signing (when they're at the park and out of hearing range, discreetly encouraging them to say thank you for a birthday gift, signing Help when choking, communicating with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, etc.), so we'll probably be using them long past the toddler years, especially since signing is just an ordinary part of our daily routine now.

Quote:
When did most of you start sign to your LO's?
We started at four months old. Some of the ladies here started when their babies were born, some started around 6-9 months, and others are starting at 15+ months. There are benefits of starting at all ages, and the results will vary because every child is uniquely different, so you can start at whatever age you feel is best for you.


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Last edited by A&C's_Mom; October 23rd, 2009 at 09:11 AM.
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  #10  
October 23rd, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soImarriedAnerd View Post
Can you walk us through how to start introducing it with our babies?
It's very easy to start signing. Your first step is to decide which words you'd like to start with. Just pick one or two at first so you can remember them and don't feel overwhelmed.

Next, you'll need to learn how to do the sign. Effervescence stickies a Sign of the Week on this board, or you can use an online signing dictionary (I like signingsavvy.com) to look up your own word. Practice the sign on your own a few times, then you're ready to start with your baby.

We started with Milk, which is done by squeezing your hand open and shut like you're milking a cow. Each time I said the word Milk to my baby, I would do the sign too. It's important to do both, so don't forget to say the word. It will go something like this:

"Here is your bottle of Milk! (do the sign)"
"Is your Milk (do the sign) yummy?"
"Yay, you drank all of your milk! (sign milk)"

It's really that easy. Signing the word will become a normal part of your routine, and soon you won't even have to think about it, it will just come naturally. From here, a few steps will occur. First, your baby will realize that something new is going on, and they'll start to pay attention to your hands a lot more to try to figure it out. Next, they'll start to mimic you and do it too. Each time you see them randomly do the sign, give them a sip of milk. Then, they'll realize that each time they do it, something happens: they get milk! At that point, they'll begin signing on their own whenever they want milk.

It can take a while to understand the signing concept, so give them a few months to figure it out, especially if you start when your baby is very young. Consistency is very important during this time. Often, babies who start learning a sign at 6 months old will begin to sign it back by 8-9 months old, but each child learns at their own pace. Once they understand how signing works, they'll begin learning the signs at a faster rate.
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  #11  
October 23rd, 2009, 10:45 AM
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I'm trying to keep all our info on this one thread so we can put it in our information 101 subforum so I just wanted to add your guys resource link- http://www.justmommies.com/forums/f4...resources.html (Baby Signing Resources)

The word of the week...do you guys collect them in one place somewhere so you/other can reference them?

What 2-3 words did you guys start with?
I'm thinking tired, hungry, potty (we EC).


How about for feelings? How do you teach--pain/love/etc?
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  #12  
October 23rd, 2009, 12:25 PM
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Hi signing mommas...........

What was your reaction and how did it make you feel when you first realized your baby was signing back?
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  #13  
October 23rd, 2009, 12:57 PM
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So how often do you add new words at first? Do you just stick with the first 2-3 until they sign them back?

Also, can you say more about what makes sign language in different languages different (that is so interesting)?
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  #14  
October 23rd, 2009, 01:42 PM
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This is a great thread! I have been signing with Lily since she was born...although I don't remember to do it all of the time.

Any tips to remember to sign words?
Did you use any signing books, videos, or other resources when you started signing to your baby?
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  #15  
October 23rd, 2009, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
So does being right or left handed make a difference or cause any issues with signing? Can both hands make the same sign and it be understood or does a word have to be a certain hand?
That's a great question, one that I hadn't thought of before. I just naturally use my right hand most since I'm right handed, it seems to feel more natural that way. Here's a link I found that goes into further detail on the subject: American Sign Language (ASL)

I'm not sure if my DD is right or left handed yet, but she seems to have no preference when it comes to signing, she will use whichever hand doesn't have a toy in it lol.

Quote:
What 2-3 words did you guys start with?
I'm thinking tired, hungry, potty (we EC).
We just started potty training, so Potty has come in very handy this week. I think that would be a great one to start with. Our first words were Milk, More, Diaper Change, and All Done. She learned Milk and All Done pretty quickly, and took longer to learn the others. Some other good words to start with could be Eat, Sleep, Mommy, Daddy, Drink, and Bath.

Quote:
How about for feelings? How do you teach--pain/love/etc?
Those words are more abstract, so they take a little longer to teach. I taught Caoimhe the word Hurt by signing it whenever she fell down or bumped her head on something. She just learned the sign for Love last week but I am not totally sure she understands what it means yet. When asked, she says she loves her baby doll, her brother, and crackers, lol. But she doesn't use it spontaneously yet, so I think she's still trying to figure it out. I had been signing it to her a lot, but now I'm just using it at certain times like when we snuggle, or when I give her a hug or kiss. so that she'll connect the sign with the feeling of being close to Mommy.

Quote:
What was your reaction and how did it make you feel when you first realized your baby was signing back?
My first reaction was a mixture of a doubt and excitement, because even though I'd been signing to her for months I had a hard time believing she'd ever sign back. I was so proud of her, and I think it made me look at her in a new light; even though she was this tiny little helpless baby, she had the ability to understand and communicate with the world around her. It gave me a whole new respect for her as a person.

Quote:
So how often do you add new words at first? Do you just stick with the first 2-3 until they sign them back?
You can start with as many words as you are comfortable with. Just as you don't have to teach them English one word at a time, you don't have to teach them to sign just one word at a time either. It just helps to start with the first 2-3 so that you don't overwhelm yourself and forget which words you're signing, or forget how to do the signs. Once you feel comfortable enough to add more, you can add as many new ones as you want.

Quote:
Also, can you say more about what makes sign language in different languages different (that is so interesting)?
Sign languages are different because they each evolved in their own region and are influenced by separate cultures. Just as the French language has grammar rules that are different from English, there are different sign language rules as well. This page talks about some of the ASL grammar rules and is very interesting: American Sign Language (ASL). But all that gets kind of complicated, and luckily you don't need to learn it just to sign with your baby.
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  #16  
October 23rd, 2009, 07:45 PM
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Wow! This got quite a lot of response! I feel badly because I invited you ladies over and then disappeared for the day. I had a long day at work, and when I came home all of our furniture was (and most of it still is) piled up in strange places because we had the carpets cleaned today. I'll try to answer all the questions, I have a lot of catching up to do! A&C'sMom answered pretty thoroughly though!
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  #17  
October 23rd, 2009, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Any tips to remember to sign words?
Did you use any signing books, videos, or other resources when you started signing to your baby?
I forgot to sign a lot at first, too. I even considered putting Post-it notes all around the house to help me remember. But if you start with just a few signs and make a determined effort to sign consistently, it doesn't take long for you to just fall into the groove of it. Then you won't have to think much about signing anymore, you'll just do it out of habit.

When I started signing with Caoimhe, I was hoping to find a signing class in our area, but I couldn't find anything near here. I ended up taking a Baby Signs instructor training course so that I could learn as much as I could about baby signing, and I was able to use my teaching materials with Caoimhe. She loves the signing videos. You can find them and other signing resources at www.babysigns.com (their concept cards, which are sturdy signing flashcards, are nice to have too). She watches and signs along with the characters, and since we have a six DVD set, she's learned about 40 signs from them. I had doubts about her learning anything from a video, but we watch them and sign to them together which is fun, and she's also picked up words from them that I never signed to her before, so they do actually work. Baby Einstein has a signing video that follows the same format, and she enjoyed that one too. We haven't tried the Signing Time videos but I hear rave reviews about them as well. There are a lot of signing programs out there, but it doesn't matter which one you use; the important thing is that you spend time with your baby and strengthen your bond with them through better communication.
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  #18  
October 23rd, 2009, 08:37 PM
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It's okay Ef., it sounds like you had a hectic day, and I had fun answering them all. Baby signing is something I could talk about all day long, lol. And the ladies from the July 09 PR asked so many great questions, didn't they? I hope some of them will decide to join us here.
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  #19  
October 23rd, 2009, 08:41 PM
Effervescence's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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I put all of the questions onto one post, I hope that is okay and doesn't make it too confusing! I answered even the ones that have been answered, because I think we all kind of do it differently and have something to share on everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soImarriedAnerd View Post
How many/who of you have hearing impaired children?....or use this as an earlier form of communication?

Is there different "languages" of signing (french, english, german, etc)?
Jonah has no hearing impairments. I know of one member of the board who has a hearing impaired child, and a couple of the ladies that I see stop by here are hearing impaired themselves or their husband/partner is impaired. We began signing with Jonah because I had been researching it for years and signing with other children in nursery schools, and I saw how great the benefits of signing early are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvr.4.gtn View Post
hi ladies. I don't have any questions, since I know a decent amount about signing in general, though have never taught my child. weird I know. BUT I do think what you ladies do is great!!
Thanks! We'd love it if you want to stop by every once in a while to discuss your experience with signing, even if it isn't to your child

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Rae~ View Post
How long do parents usually continue signing with their children? Is it used until they become verbal, or do you continue it and develop the skill for long term use?
From what I've seen, most parents stop signing when their children becomes verbal. For the most part, when a child begins to verbally say a word, they tend to "drop" the sign. That means they phase it out, and just stop using it eventually, even if the parent continues to use it. This is one aspect that I am really interested in, learning why children drop signs. I am not sure when I'll stop signing with Jonah. I think as long as I have preverbal infants, I will be signing. I even sign to DH and don't realize it, so I don't think I'll be stopping any time soon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnicka View Post
When did most of you start sign to your LO's?
I started at birth. If I hadn't been researching it for years and years before Jonah, I probably would have started at a few months old. Books say to begin at 6-8 months, because that is when certain cognitive milestones come around that suggest infants are ready to receive and produce signs at this age. For me, signing is like regular speech. I didn't wait to start speaking to my baby until he reached certain cognitive milestones, so it didn't make sense to me not to sign to him until then!

Quote:
Originally Posted by soImarriedAnerd View Post
Can you walk us through how to start introducing it with our babies?
It's much simpler than most people think. Choose a word that you use with your infant often. Something like "milk" or"drink" are really good to start with, because it addresses one of your child's most basic needs, and they have the chance to use it often and see it often. Look up the sign for the word you want to use, I usually use an online dictionary or just do a google search such as "ASL Milk." Once you learn the sign, begin signing it every time you say the word. Say the word often, and emphasize it, so your child really has the chance to connect the word "milk" to the sign. That's it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by soImarriedAnerd View Post
So does being right or left handed make a difference or cause any issues with signing? Can both hands make the same sign and it be understood or does a word have to be a certain hand?
This is a good question. In baby signs, you can do the sign with whichever hand, because the main purpose of baby signs is that your child can communicate to you. If your child makes a sign with a certain hand, or one hand or both hands, you will be able to recognize what your child is saying to you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by soImarriedAnerd View Post

The word of the week...do you guys collect them in one place somewhere so you/other can reference them?

What 2-3 words did you guys start with?
I'm thinking tired, hungry, potty (we EC).


How about for feelings? How do you teach--pain/love/etc?
The sign of the week: We were making lists of them that would go for two months. I found that not many people were using it with that format, so to make it more practical I decided to have one sign in each thread, and incorporating that sign into different conversations on the board. That way people can know just by looking at the sticky what the sign is. Sometimes I will leave a sign up for one week and sometimes two.

I started with "milk" (used for nursing) "change" (used for diapering) and "all done" for the most part. I signed a lot more, just because I'm so used to it, but I really focused on and emphasized those three.

For feelings, I don't really start teaching those until the baby is older. In language, children learn words that are concrete first, then they learn emotional words and words with no concrete tangible meaning. An infant will easily pick up a sign for "book" or "cup" or "ball" because she can see those items and make the connection between the word and the object. Cognitively speaking, they don't really learn words of emotion like "happy" or "sad" An example of this would be that Jonah has started to say the word "yum." He says it every time my husband sneaks him a spoonful of icecream. I thought he was saying he likes icecream, but then when he saw DH sit down the other day with a bowl, he went over to him saying "YUM!!! YUM!!!!" Then I realized, he thinks that icecream is called "yum" He heard us saying this word that has a vague meaning, and gave it a concrete meaning. That doesn't really answer your question though LOL I guess if you want to teach your child that word, it would be the same as any other sign. When you talk about feelings, add the sign whenever you say the word.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monilove View Post
Hi signing mommas...........

What was your reaction and how did it make you feel when you first realized your baby was signing back?
Amazed. I didn't think he would sign back as early as he did. It was already a very emotional time for us, because he was in the hospital. I was nursing him for what I knew would be the last time before introducing a bottle. and he started to sign "milk" the sign we used for nursing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roon View Post
So how often do you add new words at first? Do you just stick with the first 2-3 until they sign them back?

Also, can you say more about what makes sign language in different languages different (that is so interesting)?
I just added words as I noticed the need for them. I added "potty" after I realized that I needed to give him a sign for when he has to go potty (we also use EC) and when we introduced a bottle to him, I added the sign for "drink" so that we could use that for his bottles and still use "milk" for nursing. It's really up to the parent how often they add new signs. Some like to add signs only after their child learns the signs they've already been shown. I never know which word Jonah will pick up next, so I look at my method as a way of giving him more opportunities to pick up a new sign.

As for what makes signing in different languages different from eachother, think of signing the same as you would spoken languages. Everything that makes English different than Italian is also what would make sign languages different. They have different grammar, different signs for words, even different "phonemes" (in spoken language, this is the sounds that we make to say our words, in sign language it is hand shapes) There are different dialects in different regions the same as there are different dialects of English. We speak differently here in Ohio than they do in Texas or Alabama. We can still understand eachother of course, but there are differences. It is possible to sign with "accents" even!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty011783 View Post
This is a great thread! I have been signing with Lily since she was born...although I don't remember to do it all of the time.

Any tips to remember to sign words?
Did you use any signing books, videos, or other resources when you started signing to your baby?
I like Baby Signing for Dummies. I made copies of the pictures and had them laminated as cards; I posted the cards all over the house, like "change" by the changing table, so that I would remember to do it as well as so that other caregivers could sign it to him.
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Last edited by Effervescence; October 23rd, 2009 at 08:48 PM.
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  #20  
October 23rd, 2009, 10:41 PM
soImarriedAnerd's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Now I know when baby's first learn to wave they wave with their palm facing them because then what they see and what they see themselves doing matches (even though the palm is backwards). Do they do that with signing?
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