Over the weekend, the cap on my front tooth broke. I showed the tooth to Chad, who starred at it in disbelief. He has never seen his mom sick, or down, or in need of health services. I signed to him that I need to see the 'dentist'. When I got back the next day, sporting a temporary cap, he was all smiles and signed 'better'.
Using sign language can be very helpful when seeing a doctor or dentist. It helps prepare your child for things that will happen. One time Chad needed a chest X-ray. The technicians were unsure how to get him in front of the equipment, let alone have him stand still. With a simple "stand" and "picture", we got the job done to the amazement of the hospital staff.
Your child learns best from you. Use every opportunity to use sign language so that when you need it the most, you will have a language! Teach your baby a new sign today, your baby will love you for it.
Winter is a wonderful time to introduce your baby to some new words, like 'snow'. My son has been asking for snow since summer. Friday when he got off the bus, he raised his face to the sky and signed and said 'snow!' all the way to the house. Biggest smile on his face I've seen in a long time.....teach a winter sign to your baby. Try words like 'white', 'snow', 'snowman' and certainly 'fun'! Your baby will love you for it.
Recently I had a visit from my favorite family of girls – Evie (http://talkingwithbaby.com/pages/EvieusingTWB/), her mom and her new baby sister Meadow. Mom was anxious to show me the signs that Meadow was using, yet we couldn’t coax the sign for ‘more’ out of her. I grabbed a spinning toy that lights up to gain her attention and worked on getting her to sign ‘more’. She was excited about the toy. I made it spin and when it stopped I said and signed ‘more’? Then made it spin again followed by ‘more’? After about 3 or 4 tries she did the most beautiful sign for ‘more’ I’ve seen a 10 month old do! I came to the conclusion that maybe her daycare only used the signs at meal times.
Transitions are hard for most families – getting our children from here to there when they don’t want to go. My son can be very stubborn when it comes time to leaving the house, especially when he has no idea where he is going or what he will be doing. We were invited to a party by a family, who also has a son with special needs. They often give parties and we’ve never gone before. I thought we’d better go this time. I signed to Chad we were going to a party. To my surprise he very willingly got dressed and out the door we went. He did say something about ‘birthday’. What other kind of party could it be?
Watching the school teachers strike in Chicago drives home the need for parental involvement in education. I heard a man on the radio say a child with books in the home will outperform a child without books. We probably can’t always be in control of our education options outside the home, but we sure can get our baby off to a great start by starting early. Try a new sign for your baby today – get ready for the future!
Last week I watched a conversation about U.S.
competitiveness and investments in education today and concerns for the future. This was hosted on CSPAN-2 for Center for
American Progress. I found the
statistics alarming when comparing the United States to up and coming China and
India. In the next 10 years, this panel
predicts major changes if we do not improve our education system. They also stated that the people now retiring
are better educated than the young people entering the job market today.
The emphasis was on making an investment in education,
Summer camp is over – know how to get and keep the attention
of PK-K kids? It’s so easy and anyone
can do it. I finished two weeks at the
Hmong Culture and Language Camp where I had the opportunity to work with the
youngest of campers. Some were shy, some
not so shy, and some that didn’t speak English.
Olympics 2012! One of
the best parts of the Olympics is the opening ceremony. I knew
there was going to be a struggle to get this on TV because of the ‘routine’
with my child with autism, followed by a struggle with my child with Down
syndrome, all of which are in the same package. Chad learned the sign for ‘Olympics’ in
I have the
privilege of caring for Evie http://talkingwithbaby.com/pages/EvieusingTWB/
and her new sister Meadow while
they are in transition to a new daycare.
Evie is now 4 and Meadow is 5 months.
If you are a new parent, or one with experience, or someone involved
with a non-verbal little one, see if the following scene sounds familiar.
dropping Baby off at the daycare.
My son attends an after school program two days a week with St. David’s. Here he has a chance to
make friends and experience group activities so important for his adult life. When he came home yesterday, he
took off the hooded sweatshirt he was wearing and out of the pocket in the front fell some little colorful things.
I was shocked because typically nothing is in that front pocket. I looked at his face and I’ve never seen that
expression before. I immediately thought my son is stealing! I read the note from St. David’s to see how his day was and found out they had an egg hunt. I turned to Chad and signed “did you find eggs?” He immediately picked up the little erasers. I guess they were the prize in the eggs. Whew! Teach a new sign today – find out what your baby is up to!
The importance of reading and books couldn't be made more strongly than by a video posted by Reach Out and Read. Critical learning begins at age 0 and goes to age 5. Make the most of it - get a book and read! Talking with Baby suggests starting language at the same time by incorporating American Sign Language.
I found some research awhile ago that encouraged teaching and using sign language until age 3. That may sound excessive, especially if your baby has started talking. But I was reminded recently why this is important.
When a baby has learned to sign, that is their introduction to words and word meaning. Your baby has learned that producing a sign not only causes a reaction, but helps them learn more about the world. When your baby starts to talk, the muscles that produce speech are still developing, that is why words don’t come out right and we have a good chuckle over it.
“I’m too busy to teach my baby sign language”. I hear this statement often when I ask new parents if they are using sign language. It’s a phrase that, quite frankly, baffles me. As I considered this statement over and over, I came to realize that we don’t actually ‘teach’ our baby sign language, we learn a sign and start using it. Learn and use.
Recently I was at a local mall and spent a lot of time in front of the infant/toddler play area. I love watching interaction with parents and their little ones. I think we forget (in our busy days) that our babies are constantly learning
At the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition in Boston this October, a policy statement regarding media and young children was released. Studies dating from 1999 consistently show nothing beats the one-on-one learning experience a baby has and from experience, baby learns best from parents. Link below.
Pick up a book, cuddle with your baby and have the most wonderful experience there is!
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Can summer be over? What an experience for Potts this summer. The local St. David’s Summer Adventure program has always been a staple for Chad. Remember that’s how Pete and Rachel met and how it changed their career paths? (The Story of Potts) I decided he needed to have fun this year and we skipped the usual summer school. The camp is a distance from home, so we tried some new transportation. Oh how does a mother raising a child with special needs ever let go???
I had the privilege of attending the two week Hmong Cultural and Language camp held at Concordia University in St. Paul, MN. The last day of August 5 ended with a performance for parents, grandparents and friends. My purpose was to introduce some sign language, they learned nearly 40 signs. It was amazing how children who did not speak English were suddenly part of the group when they could use the signs they learned. One little boy would always sign ‘friend’ whenever he saw me. Before we began our part of the performance, a clan leader asked me if I could get one of her students to sit down because she couldn’t. I used the sign ‘sit’ and lowered my hands towards the floor. Magically he followed and sat down. How amazing! I was so proud when these 4, 5 and 6 year olds were able to tell the Hmong story of coming to America using sign language only to be followed by signing and singing a favorite song, Big Heart. Teach a non-verbal, or non-English speaking child some sign today and see how proud you both can be!
How fun is signing! Chad (19 years old) is obsessed with a few things, one of those is the moon, which we can't see much of these days. I happened to see it last night at 10 pm, so through the window, showed Chad. This was not good enough. We had to get some chairs outside to watch the moon. Talk about a happy boy. Then to my amazement, he broke out in sign and song "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" (a song he learned over 10 years ago)! Thank goodness we finally got our 'moon fix'. Minnesota mosquitoes, stars and the moon - it doesn't get much better. I am so grateful he has a language. Help non-verbal children communicate - teach them ASL.
I wanted to share with you some points that were made at the Center for Inclusive Child Care on June 25. I had the privilege of hearing Bev Herr, Early Childhood Educator/Trainer speak. The key points of her message were: children experience many types of stressors, they are impacted by both negative and positive interactions, it is important to emotionally support children, children need a warm and nurturing atmosphere, and to create the best place for children to learn we need to provide a healthy environment.
What I thought was a very interesting point is learning what the expectations are for getting our children ready for kindergarten.
Recently I attended two events for families with children. A few parents stopped to talk about signing with their baby and were not getting any results. Though I do not know what happens in everyone's home, what I can suggest is that consistency is the key. Pick 3 to 5 signs (eat, more, finish, bath, milk) you want to use and everytime that action or activity is going to happen say and sign the word slowly a couple of times. For instance, if your baby is getting ready to eat, say and sign "eat
Recently I received a newsletter regarding proposed budget cuts. My state is not unique to any other state; everyone is looking at budgets these days! Below is taken from Prepare My Child for School, Early Childhood Education with website information is below.
1. Early Childhood Initiative
The years before a child reaches kindergarten are among the most critical in his or her life to influence learning.
When should my baby learn sign language?
The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families Winter 2007 publication begins by discussing brain development and early learning. “Children are born ready to learn”. New research has discovered that the first months of life are the foundation baby will build on for the rest of life. Two of the points made are that the quality of a baby’s relationships have a definite impact on baby’s adulthood and early interactions directly affect how the brain will function. “The human brain develops more rapidly between birth and age five than during any other subsequent period”.1
That being said,
In a short word, yes! In addition to the many reasons you may already be familiar with, consider these additional two.
Babies learn by cause and effect.1 Babies get hungry, they cry, they get fed. Simple. If parents want to start the language process, this is the perfect time.
Don't forget to check out our book: Come Sign with Us: The Adventures of Potts and Friends.