Signing Stories: Grandfather learns signs to communicate with granddaughter!

We love hearing Signing Stories, and recently had one of our instructors, Melody from Calgary, share this with us. Heartwarming!

I have a little story to share that is just so amazing!! A few years back
when I started teaching for MSH, I had a man contact me who was interested
in learning ASL. He had a granddaughter (in Toronto!!) who was having some
developmental delays. His son and daughter-in-law had begun signing with
her and when he went to visit, he wanted to be prepared to communicate
with his new granddaughter. Amazing, right? He wasn’t even living in the
same city!! What a great Granddad! Well I often wondered what happened
after he finished both my Level 1 and Level 2 classes…I just got an
email and with his permission I would like to share:

Hi Melody,

I moved to Toronto last December near my son’s house.  I hope your signing
classes are still running and going well.  My older granddaughter is five
now but still has very little fine motor control so a lot of her signs
look much the same. But her parents and the teachers at her school are
using picture cards a lot now – she has good understanding and will
usually point clearly at one card if there are not more than three
choices, sometimes four.

This is supplemented with yes-no questions which she answers by pointing
to “yes” and “no” cards since she can’t sign yes or no or even nod or
shake her head clearly. This gets like the old parlour game of “Twenty
Questions” but her Mom especially is getting good at zeroing in on what’s
wrong or what she wants to do. But she does still use signing and has
correctly notified her Mom the last three times she had a bladder
infection, by signing “hurt” and pointing.  We keep signing to her to help
her with understanding her classmates – deaf or non-verbal – who are
signing to her.

My younger granddaughter is a “typical” child and has taken to signing
like a duck to water – starting when she was six months old. She’s 15
months old now and we find ourselves having little conversations with her
– e.g. playing with Granddad in the backyard; Mom comes out on the deck:
She signs “eat”.  Granddad: no, it’s not time for lunch yet. She signs
“banana” Mom: no, you had a banana for breakfast.  Etc.

Both the girls also sign to each other and seem to interpret better than
the adults.  One will make a sign then they will both hoot and laugh but
the adult didn’t get the joke. Also both at one time or another have
alerted her parents that her sister has a problem they hadn’t noticed.

Thanks for my great start to baby-signing and I can verify with my
grand-kids it is bringing all the advantages My Smart Hands claims for it
and it’s made my older granddaughter’s hard wee life a whole lot easier
for her and us.

WOW!! I literally had tears while reading this!

Thank you so much for sharing Melody! What an amazing story, and Grandfather!