Learn how to sign Old MacDonald. Watch this fun instructional video with song:
Top 5 Baby Signing Questions - Answered
Here is a small list of the most common baby signing questions I receive and the answers to them.
- crowd rank
Learn how to start signing with your baby. http://www.mysmarthands.com/babysigningbible
Parents wonder if it is too early to start signing with their baby. Is there a perfect time to start?
Many parents wondering if they've left it too late to start teaching their baby signing language. I always say it's never too late!
Should everyone sign with my baby in order to be successful. What if I'm the only person who signs with my baby?
Today's question comes from a mom who is frustrated that her 11 month old baby isn't signing back yet. She has been introducing a lot of signs randomly throughout the day. She hasn't been consistent with any one sign. In today's video I'll be answering her question
Do you want to start teaching your baby sign language but you aren't sure where to begin? Here is a top 8 list of great signs to start with!
- crowd rank
Milk is a great starter sign to teach your baby. It is a big part of a baby's day and night so will be plenty of opportunity to teach this sign!
You can use this sign before you offer your baby food.
Use this sign when you are asking your baby if he or she wants more of something.
When you are feeding your baby you can ask him or her if she wants 'more' or if she is 'finished'.
This is a fun sign to teach your baby.
I always loved the way my children signed daddy - this is a great sign to teach your baby!
This is a great sign to teach your baby. It allows them to express to you that they are hurting and where.
Your baby can tell you if they want water versus milk. My children loved signing water. They would pat their full 5 hand on their mouths.
Learn how to start signing with your baby. http://www.mysmarthands.com/babysigningbible
I’m excited to share our first animated video with Fireese in it teaching the ASL signs for the song The Itsy Bitsy Spider.
I hope your little one will enjoy the video. You can also purchase the video here along with the mp3 version of the song (without ads) for only $2.97!
Since I’ve been legally able to have a job, I’ve worked with kids. Summer camps, nannying, volunteer work at schools. Every age group, every season, indoor and outdoor. I’ve lost countless pairs of sneakers to “accidents,” had to clean puke out of my hair, and changed hundreds of diapers. And I’m pretty sure I still have glitter embedded in my scalp from a Rainbow Fish craft I did five years ago. But in the fall of 2011, I tackled a demographic fairly unfamiliar to me: children with physical and developmental disabilities. I was lucky enough to be given a job as a teacher’s aide at the Mary Cariola Children’s Center, a nationally renowned and recognized school tailored to children afflicted with all types of Autism, Angelman Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, and many other lesser known physical disorders. Their mantra is “Discovering every child’s potential” and it is a motto they take extremely seriously. I was placed in what’s referred to as a “walker” room, meaning all the students had independent mobility. My classroom was comprised of seven boys between ages of seven and 11. Of the seven, four were almost completely nonverbal, the physical afflictions they had making “true speech” almost impossible. A few words here and there, affirmative or negative runts to answer questions. But I never had an issue comprehending them. Why? Because they could sign. They signed fluently and beautifully. Three of them used Dynavoxes, feats of interactive technology that allow communication in nonverbal persons. Dynavoxes work similarly to an iPad or touchscreen phone: you touch buttons on the screen and the computer responds. But don’t expect any Angry Birds or Pinterest here. These boys were building sentences and learning vocabulary. Large font buttons of words and phrases, along with corresponding picture and sign gesture, are used to string together sentences, questions, and requests, even jokes. After building your sentence, the machine would your words in a kid-friendly robot’s voice.
Dynavoxes not only give audible cues by clearly speaking and pronouncing words, but visual cues as well. After only two weeks with the device, one of my boys increased his sign vocabulary by 13 words! Simple sign is at the core of the education program designed for these students, even those who are able to communicate verbally. One of my boys was low-functioning Autistic and had a penchant for constantly quoting lines from Shrek and Spongebob Squarepants. But his knack for memorization helped him pick up sign quickly, and I’m sure if you ever find yourself needing to know how to say “smelly ogre” in sign language, he will gladly teach you.
Sign language isn’t just critical in communication. ASL is also a great way to stimulate and hone both fine and gross motor skills in kids with motor related delays. The act of signing helps increase awareness of the hands and wrists, which is a huge struggle for many students at MCCC, especially those with Angelman Syndrome. Angelman is a genetic disorder also known as “Happy Puppet” Syndrome because it is characterized by loose, floppy limbs and exuberant, joyful outlooks. Disorders that target joints and ligaments make menial tasks, like holding a pencil or using a fork, very frustrating and difficult. But, combined with occupational and physical therapy, sign language has been shown to positively affect and increase the use and awareness of hands and fingers, which is immeasurably important in he long run when, when the kids grow up and are responsible for feeding, clothing, and supporting themselves.
The life skills I saw being taught and executed in my time with Mary Cariola are not so different from those I was encouraged to value myself; embrace education, cherish friends and family, be responsible with what you have, and above all else, live a life with self-respect and love for who you are, flaws and all. These kids are given a chance at a normal, happy life because of the incredible teachers, aides, therapists, and social workers that make up the MCCC family, and it was an honor to experience the growth and accomplishments of these amazing kids first hand. I learned that a high IQ isn’t as important as a good heart; you don’t need to be deaf to learn and enjoy American Sign Language, and most importantly, live life with joy and eagerness. Because as long as you are willing to learn, someone is willing to teach.
(My Smart Hands Intern)
I’ve had many requests this year for ASL Christmas signs so my children and I sat down and did a video with several Christmas themed signs.
We hope you enjoy!!
What are some of the advantages of teaching my child baby sign language?
The main advantage that appeals to everyone is the lack of frustration your baby will experience if they are able to communicate his/her needs to you. This, obviously, leads to less frustration on the parents’ part as well, not having to play a guessing game with their baby. One story I always share with people is when my daughter was ten months old she was eating Cheerios and signing ‘more’. I’d give her more and she would throw them on the floor and sign ‘more’ again. I said to her, “Then you don’t want MORE… what do you want?” She looked at me and signed ‘more cheese’. I was amazed for two reasons: 1. She put together a two word sentence at ten months. 2. There was no cheese in sight. I hadn’t offered her cheese during that snack time yet she was able to clearly communicate to me what she wanted. I could imagine how frustrated she would have been if she hadn’t been able to tell me what she wanted.
There are other benefits to signing with babies. Generally, the first words babies tend to speak are the words they already know the signs for. This is partly because we repeat those words more than other words as we are reinforcing the sign. We tend so spend more time with our babies when we are reading stories and playing games simply because, again, we are repeating words more to reinforce the sign, therefore taking longer to get through an activity. For example, when you read a book you may say a word once or maybe twice if you ask the child to point to the picture of the word. However, when you are signing with the child you may repeat the word 5 or 6 times. You may say something like, “bear, do you see the bear? Do you know the sign for bear? This is the sign bear. Can you make the sign for ‘bear’? Let me help you make the sign ‘bear’.” In this example you’ve said the word ‘bear’ six times while you are trying to teach the sign
Another advantage is that signing babies tend to have high self-esteems as a result of being secure in their environments. If a child can easily communicate their needs to you then they are going to feel a sense of security. They want something, they can tell you what they want, and you can quickly and easily fulfill his/her needs. If a baby has no way to communicate their wants to you then it will take you longer to figure out what he/she wants which may make everyone a little frustrated in the meantime.
There are also the educational advantages that signing brings to a child as they get a little older. Signing babies tend to have larger vocabularies once they start talking because they’ve been able to use more advanced language and are often asked more elaborate questions because their comprehension is clear to the parent.
Here are six common myths surrounding baby sign language — the information provided should alleviate any personal concerns, and could be used to respond to the misgivings of family members or friends.
Myth 1: Sign language will delay speech
This myth stems from the misconception that sign language replaces verbal communication. This is not the case since speech always accompanies signing. While teaching signs, parents consistently repeat words to help babies make the association between the sign and the word. Sign language actually exposes babies to more speech. Research has shown sign language to accelerate the development of babies’ oral communication.
Myth 2: Baby sign language is a fad
The history of baby sign language reaches back almost 100 years. It has gained popularity as of late (Robert DeNiro’s shenanigans with his signing grandson in Meet the Fockers may have had something to do with this), but baby signing is no passing fad. Speech therapists have been using sign language for years, and children of deaf parents have had generations of first hand use and success.
Myth 3: Baby sign language is not endorsed by educators
Early child development organizations are increasingly incorporating sign language into their curriculum. Many educators with a background in language acquisition consider sign language essential when it comes to early childhood education and development. They cite many cognitive and developmental benefits. Language abilities are also improved as sign language can serve as a bridge between two languages.
Myth 4: Teaching will take too much time and effort
Teaching baby sign language does not require taking time away from daily routines and scheduled activities. Parents need not set aside ‘baby sign language lesson time’ or devote special days or times to focusing on signs. Baby sign language is easily incorporated into daily routines and existing schedules. Parents sign while reading bedtime stories, during mealtime or bath time. Babies are little sponges. If used consistently within daily activities, baby sign language will require little additional effort and show quick results.
Myth 5: Teaching babies sign language is pushing too hard
Critics might argue that teaching babies sign language pushes them to learn an unnatural skill. They might liken baby sign language to trying to teach a baby how to do long division! However, babies have a natural inclination to gesture as a way to express needs. Babies will raise their arms when they want to be picked up and point to an object they want to hold or eat. Using sign language taps into this natural ability. Babies often surprise parents with how much they are capable of learning and comprehending.
Myth 6: Baby sign language will confuse baby
One might think babies will not understand what parents are signing. This is partially true: early on, they will not understand what parents are signing or what they are saying. However, as parents continue to talk and sign, comprehension and association will set in. They learn to sign just like they learn to talk; only they have the motor skills to sign much earlier. As we discussed earlier, they’ll soon develop the oral skills and talk nonstop! These questions will come up repeatedly.
Each myth will be explored in greater depth in future articles.
Meanwhile, please feel free to share this with friends and family.
Certified My Smart Hands Instructor
Learn the ASL signs for ‘last’ ‘day’
We have wrapped up our trip in Rochester NY. We normally go to see the Rochester Redwings play as we have a dear friend that works for them but this visit there was no home game. We were sad not to go to the ball park. If any of you have ever gone to see a AAA baseball game in the US then you know how fun it is. The crowed is family friendly, the fans are normally very energetic and the food is amazing. The hot dogs are they type you can get from a street vendor and not ones that have been boiled and are sitting in hot water waiting to be bought. If hot dogs are not your thing there are tons of other choices from specialty deli sandwiches to Philly cheese steaks and more. We often go to a game where there are fireworks after. It’s just a great fun family activity! Our next favorite thing to do in Rochester (and really, may even be tied for first) is going to Dinosaur BBQ. If you love BBQ and you are in Rochester this is a must visit. Be aware that if you go on a weekend you will be waiting for a table but the wait is well worth it. You can enjoy a beverage outside near all the Harley-Davidsons that are in the lot. We’ve always had great staff and the food is outstanding. I love the pulled pork sandwich and the mac & cheese, yummy!!
We spent our last day shopping at Target and Tops Supermarket. We have to get all our delicious (and bad for you) food from the US. We look like the worst parents going through the checkout. We have American beer, white gravy, cookies, candy, chips and every other kind of junk food we can’t get back home. There are no fruit, veggies or meat in our cart. I’ve always love the look we sometimes get from the checkout girl as she looks at our beautiful children and wonder how they are so healthy looking
Crossing over the border and driving down the highway home is always bitter-sweet. It’s always nice to be back home but I always miss the fun, carefree times a holiday brings. The family bonding, sleeping in, eating at restaurants, not having to do dishes or make beds and swimming everyday are just some of the things I enjoy on our vacation.
Thank you to everyone who have enjoyed following along with us on our fun family road trip.
Love “The Bergs”