Signing Stories: Clara

In this week’s signing story, we have Clara and her mother Rena.

Video: Clara Signing at 16 Months

quotation markI 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!

4 Responses to “Signing Stories: Clara”

  1. Kris

    Awesome story! I have kind of a silly question: My daughter is 10 months old and I’ve been trying to teach her sime things like “eat” and “bye bye” and a few others but nothing has caught on so far. She does a gesture that looks like the sign for “milk” but I think this is coincidental because she basically does it anytime she wants to have something. How can I get her to actually associate it with milk? She nurses at home and is bottle-fed at daycare. Do I just sign “milk” whenever she is about to nurse?

    Hi Kris,
    The secret is to work on contextual repetition until she makes the association. Also consider showing her printed images of a milk bottle.

  2. sheree

    I love seeing other families teaching their children to sign! It’s never to young to teach them to sign.. it’s like teaching them to talk, we don’t wait until they’re old enough to talk, we just jabber away and they absorb it all! It’s so fun to watch little kids ‘jabber’ with their hands when they realize that they are ‘talking’! Best of luck in your signing!
    – Author of: THE PIGS GOT OUT —‘read a story with sign language’

  3. Alexis

    I really loved how you decided to start her off at an early age. I was suprised to read how fast she picked up on it.

  4. Luanne

    Good job on the teaching. I have a seven month old to whom I am trying to teach. I’m glad that she is starting to pick some signing already. With your video, I can see where the baby sign language is not perfect but very understandable. Again, congrats!

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