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DH was getting Rebecca a snack today, and she kept saying what sounded like bed, but making some motion that kind of resembled how she signs key... so we figured out she was wanting bread, and decided maybe we should teach her the sign for it. SO, I went to look it up, and low and behold, she had it almost right. She keeps coming up with things that are so close to the real thing it's weird, and we don't know where she gets some of them! DH now claims she's a natural, because there have been 3-4 signs in the last few days that I have gone to look up to teach her the 'real' thing and discovered she already pretty much does them!
Can hearing toddlers pick up that much sign language just by watching people converse with no spoken words to cue them as to what a conversation is about at all? The only thing I can think is that at my ASL class there is a deaf young lady who will converse with her cousins in ASL while the class is happening, and sometimes Rebecca will sit and stare at them (eavesdropping?!) rather than do anything else... is it possible she's picking things up from those conversations?
I'm not sure if a toddler would be able to pick up signs from watching a conversation in ASL. It's pretty different than any other language input they're getting. That would be like listening to a couple from ethiopia speaking (in their native tongue) on the subway about going to buy bread, or eating bread, and suddenly knowing how to say bread in ethiopian. I'm not saying it's impossible, just highly unlikely
I wonder if there's any other place that she could be learning the associations from? Jonah learned the sign for "sit" and I had no clue where he got that from, but then I realized his therapist used it during snack time (usually the parents are not in the room for snack, we are having a little parent to parent discussion time)
Click the blinkies!
Thank You, Pattyandthemoos, for my beautiful siggy!
I've been trying to think of where else she might be picking up signs, and really, the only person introducing (purposely) signs to her is me. I even have to teach them all to DH (and his signing is improving by the week, lol!). We don't have any sort of play group that we go to aside from the public library reading time, and she's the only signing baby/toddler there. Her grandmother knows a fair amount of ASL, but they don't see us enough for her to be influencing the signing much at all, plus she's only shown Rebecca the signs for leaf, name (which I think is too abstract a concept to teach a 17m old, but anyway...), and spaghetti... and none of the signs she's shown her have been utilized as of yet. I'm going to have to ask my instructor about it, because it's really stumping me where she's getting the signs now!
Well, I just got back from my class, and my instructor told me that it's highly likely that Rebecca is learning ASL 'by immersion', basically the same way that any deaf baby would learn it. She's seen her sitting watching the young people signing with each other, and said it's very likely she's picking up and using signs from that... plus they sign in church, and Rebecca's fascinated with that as well. At DH's allergy clinic the nurse who just started working there (about 2 weeks ago) signs and speaks at the same time a lot, and then she gets her actual signing *instruction* at home from me. So between the immersion in conversations with deaf people, the few people around her who do sign, and the little daily lessons we do, she's probably picking it up mainly by immersion.
So... my instructor told me to really encourage her to talk and sign at the same time, since she's picking so much ASL up, and when I told her that she already is with a number of signs (juice, ball, book, shoes...), she said that was exactly how to teach her to be bilingual English-ASL, hehe.