If you have been a friend of www.babysignlanguage.com you probably know that we are community-oriented and pretty frequently rely in the support of our social media fans and friends to encourage each other and try to understand the progress of our own babies in light of the experiences of other families. Knowing what other parents are doing gives us comfort and confidence but we need to always remember the uniqueness of our babies and allow each one to develop at their own pace.
There is a particular type of progress report we find especially charming because it goes beyond repetition or baby finding a way to meet specific needs. We are particularly fond of receiving reports of babies making connections, creating their own word associations and applying creativity in the way they use baby sign language. When we designed our baby sign language flash card collection we opted for images of real objects and people in an effort to help baby make a direct connection and many parents report the system does work. Our favorite type of report is when baby associates the image with a real-life object that may not necessarily be a replica of the image used during the learning process.
Perhaps your baby has done it. It comes in many forms. We love to hear stories of babies signing trees to get their share of broccoli florets, or when they sign blender to persuade you to make a smoothie!!
A few days ago we received the most adorable story from our friend Tatha, her experience with her daughter Persephone is both amazing and encouraging.
Here is what Tatha had to say:
“My two-year-old daughter Persephone is still talking very little. We’ve been using sign language since she was about six months old but with the exception of “milk” and “more” she has only used her signs in response to a prompt. “What’s the sign for…?” However, the other day Grammy was making her dinner and asked if she wanted some milk. Sephy shook her head “yes” and then started signing something. It took me a beat to figure out she was signing elephant and I was confused. I wondered, “What does that have to do with milk?” It took me another beat to figure out she was asking to have her milk in the elephant straw cup that Grammy has for her!”
And here is a video of Sephy using baby sign language and showing us her sippy cup:
The main goal of baby sign language is to equip baby with the right tool to help her communicate her needs during the pre-verbal stage. If baby has a preference or liking to an object that is not necessarily simple to sign consider exploring a substitution that makes sense for baby. My friend Isabelle has a little daughter who has become very attached to her cat pillow pal. Instead of Isabelle forcing baby to learn a sign for pillow she is comfortable with using the sign for cat instead. Since they don’t have a kitty at home everyone knows that Chelsea is looking for her pillow when she signs “cat“.