What’s Your Sign?

April 16, 2008 at 4:24 pm 12 comments

American Sign Language is the third most used language in the world according to my research.  Research necessitated by my need to keep up with this little bundle of a grandgirl.  Her parents are both teachers and they weren’t satisfied with taking care of her needs the old fashioned way.  You remember: the baby is crying so you change her diaper. Still crying, rock and jiggle.  Still crying, try a bottle.  Still crying, fetch the favorite blanket, doll, or pacifier.  This inability to communicate was as frustrating for the kids as it was for us parents.  Pap and I saw some legendary melt downs by our kids when they wanted the blue teddy bear not the purple frog and we just could not understand them.

Some of today’s parents, like my daughter, are getting past this communication block by teaching their babies ASL.  When I first heard about this, I thought she was nuts.  But now that I’ve seen it in action, all I can say is:  how totally cool.  Better, how pleasant to spend time with your kid without all the fussing, sobbing and tantrums (not to mention whatever the kids chosen melt down action is).

I can’t help thinking that this second language will serve these children well throughout their lives.  I can think of dozens of situations in which one of my kids needed something and speaking out loud just wasn’t an option.


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12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. colleen  |  April 16, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    I hope she’ll be bilingual, that signing won’t deter him from talking when it’s time. I saw a show on Oprah about a woman who can read baby cries.

  • 2. katcampbell  |  April 16, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Colleen – Since you say the word with the sign, there is no danger of delayed speech. From the research I’ve done, children who are taught to sign speak earlier than children that aren’t. It is my daughter’s intention to keep up the sign language even after the baby starts talking because ASL is a whole second language.

  • 3. Mr. Fabulous  |  April 16, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    My brother and his wife have done this with all their kids. They swear by it.

  • 4. J.  |  April 16, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    One of my gf’s is doing this also and her 1 yr old signs all of the time. I think it’s totally cool!

  • 5. Hayden  |  April 16, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    very cool. I’ve heard of it but never directly from someone who has used it. great to hear that it works!

  • […] Minister Gordon Brown’s grilling by senior MPs on the Commons liaison committee. (79 clicks) What’s Your Sign?American Sign Language is the third most used language in the world according to … What’s Your Sign?American Sign Language is the third most used language in the world […]

  • 7. guyana gyal  |  April 17, 2008 at 12:56 am

    I saw this show on Oprah where a woman studied the cries of babies from various cultures, countries, she discovered that all babies make particular sounds when they’re hungry, wet, uncomfortable. If the mother / carer knows what each sound means, she’ll be able to understand what the baby is ‘saying.’

  • 8. Dr. John  |  April 17, 2008 at 3:26 am

    I wonder if ASL would help with communication with some autistic children.

  • 9. rel  |  April 17, 2008 at 3:51 am

    Mon ta dieu, that is so cool, and it works. That’s the main thing.
    Thanks Kat, I’ve learned something new today!!!!!

  • 10. justinigger  |  April 17, 2008 at 8:51 am

    My little neice is being taught sign language. It has helped tremendouly with her communication skills.

  • 11. katcampbell  |  April 17, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Mr. Fab – You have nieces and nephews? And you don’t talk about them on your blog? We need to have a conversation mister.
    Jan – I can’t believe I’d never heard of this until now!
    Hayden – These young parents can be so smart.
    GG – I saw the same show when Ayla was just newborn. My daughter and I tried it but that mother must have had supersonic hearing.
    Dr. John – What an interesting thought! I bet it would.
    Rel – You’re welcome.
    Justin – Thanks for coming by!

  • 12. katherine.  |  April 30, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    when each of my daughters first read helen keller’s story they wanted to learn to sign….and I learned a few phrases I would use in public…cause I hate parents who yell across the room at their kids.

    I would sign:

    “Right now” which meant you better stop what you are doing immediately. It was my equivilent of counting to three.

    “Time to Go” usually that was a two minute warning that we were getting ready to leave where we were…I still use that one.

    Personally…whenever any newage california type asks me my sign…I respond…”Slippery When Wet”

    that pretty much shuts them up


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