In this week’s signing story, we have Clara and her mother Rena.
I was always interested in using baby sign language since my brother used it when he had his son. I noticed he rarely had any crying spells or fits and was impressed to say the least. When I was pregnant I started looking into right away.
When Clara was about 6 months old we started with the basics: milk, more, eat. She picked up on them by about 9 months old. My intention was to teach her maybe a dozen or so signs just to keep frustration down. As she got older she started grabbing my hands to show her new signs for the things she was interested in. The key for us was to always have a visual handy so she could put the sign and the object together and it worked quickly.
By the time she was 13 months old she knew over 80 signs! She loved signing about anything outside, her toys, certain foods, and especially animals. She is now 25 months old and has dropped most of the signs unless she is excited and uses them, along with her words, for emphasis. She has a huge verbal vocabulary for a 2 year old, which would really disappoint the uninformed popular belief that signing slows verbal skills. That is definitely not the case.
I can honestly say she has also rarely had a meltdown due to her ability to be able to easily communicate with us. We knew exactly when she was hungry and even exactly what she wanted to eat from a very young age. We were also able to hand her the toy she wanted and the best part was being able to be excited with her when she pointed to objects in the sky or animals at the zoo and she knew that we understood her!
I will always recommend baby sign language to any progressive thinkers or anyone that wants to have a strong connection with their child way before they are able to communicate verbally!