Signing Smart babies and toddlers tell us what they think! This week, I thought I’d share some snippets and stories about students who used their Signing Smart skills to explain, ask questions, and set their parents straight!
One of my 16-month old students, Lucy, looked at her mom questioningly and signed, “SOAP,” after Mom mentioned that they were having “soup” for dinner! She looked relieved when mom signed back, while speaking, “No, we’re not having SOAP for dinner, SILLY, we’re having SOUP!”
Although Mom had been using Elimination Communication with ten month old Oliver and had been showing him the sign for “POTTY”, she wasn’t convinced that he was getting it. Since she didn’t feel the training was sticking, when Oliver stuck a fist out of his stroller mid-shopping trip Mom replied, “Yes Oliver, I do see the LIGHTS!” Two minutes later, Oliver did what he’d been signing to his mother: went potty in his pants! After two more identical incidents, Oliver’s mother realized that her ten month old DID understand the sign for “POTTY”, and knew exactly when to use it!
Amaya was 15 months old when her mother noticed her signing, “APPLE,” in the rearview mirror as the two drove around town running errands. This went on for several weeks, and Mom offered Amaya snacks in the car, talked about apples, and tried to figure out why else her daughter would be signing as Amaya continued signing, “APPLE,”. One day she realized that Amaya only signed APPLE when the car was stopped at a traffic signal. Mom finally figured it out: those red, yellow, and green traffic lights don’t look anything like lights, but they do look like big, round apples!
Not all 11 month olds have 63 signs, but Rebecca did! And because her dad was an EMT, every time she heard a siren Rebecca signed, “WHERE DADDY WORK”!
Signing has proven SO helpful in deciphering what 20 month old Sarah is saying. Her words for “book”, “poop”, and “cook” all sound the same, but the signs for these words are decidedly different and help her parents understand what she needs and wants.
19 month old Jackson began signing, “FAN,” to many things that move in a similar fashion (a cd player, a lazy Susan), showing his parents how much he notices in his world. This insight about the kinds of connections Jackson was making provided his parents with the opportunity to explain concepts and build off his observations with language.
Mom read 17 month old Owen a book about a diver. Owen saw pictures of a boat, a scuba mask and tank, the diver’s bubbles underwater, and fish. Halfway through the book, Owen looked up at his mom and signed, “DRIVER?” Owen didn’t know what a “diver” was, and the illustrations in the book weren’t giving him a clear indication as to its meaning, so Owen chose the closest word to “diver” he knew in order to question his mother and ask for clarification!
Charlie was a mere ten and a half months old when he looked at his dad, who was being silly balancing a teddy bear on his head, and signed, “BEAR HAT!”
Signing offers us such a delightful, insightful window into our children’s minds and helps us understand how they perceive the world around them. What favorite or funny memories do you have of your child signing?