sign language

Sign of the Week: Kids get hurt – parents have to deal

When I became a mom I realized the hurt you can experience when the child you love is sick or injured. It breaks my heart every time one of my children are sick or hurt. I wish that I could take all of their pain on myself so that they didn’t have to experience any discomfort in their lives. I am not looking forward to the broken heart of my future teenage daughter but that is for another post!

It being Winter now we have been getting a lot of colds and sicknesses in our house. This week the sign for ‘hurt’ came back to my five year old daughter when she couldn’t talk because she was trying not to throw up and she quickly signed ‘hurt’ in front of her stomach. I knew, with just that one sign, that her stomach was sore and she wanted me to rub it. She couldn’t talk at that time and request a tummy rub or she would have lost her lunch. I was able to know what she wanted and gently comfort her by rubbing her belly. The ‘thank you’ look in her eyes made my heart break for her and made me even more thankful that I taught her sign language at an early age!
Some parents don’t feel the need to teach the sign ‘hurt’. They feel that their child will simply point at what is ‘ouchie’. I thought this too but was really glad that I showed her hurt anyway. The first time that the sign ‘hurt’ really came in useful was when my daughter was about 11 months old. My daughter loved going bare feet in the summer, she hated shoes. When the weather started to turn cold it was always a battle to have her put her shoes and socks on. One day I was running late and quickly getting her dressed to get out the door. It was October and rather cold out. I put her socks on and was trying to put her shoes on when she started crying and fighting me. I was so stressed and mad because I was now late and fighting with an 11 month old over shoes! I won the fight and got her shoe on. Just as I was putting her other shoe on she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and signed ‘hurt’ over her toe. She had been pointing and pulling at her shoe but I though she just didn’t want her shoe on. At that point I took her shoe and sock off only to find a tiny little rock caught in her toe. It was clearly hurting her and I would have had no idea if it wasn’t for one little sign! It was for that reason that I was grateful that I taught her the sign for ‘hurt’. I never would have imagined that 4 years later that little sign would have been remembered and utilized by a sick little girl.

Signing is useful in so many ways, you just never know!

Laura Berg
Founder and President
My Smart Hands Inc, ‘educating young minds’

The Secret To MY Success

I am very excited have won the PTPA award and also to be the 2010 SavvyMom Mom Entrepreneur of the year award winner. When I started my business I hadn’t expected it to reach the size that it has in such a short period of time. My main goal with my business was to provide me with a way to stay at home with my children. It has since grown to another passion of mine. I absolutely love what I do and am happy to see the growth that this ‘baby’ of mine has had over the years.

I have discovered the value in social media as a mom entrepreneur. My first social media find was You Tube. I was able to make videos and post them which quickly made me one of the experts in the filed of baby sign language. Millions of people have literally watched my videos and seen the name My Smart Hands associated with baby sign language. My first video has had over 2.7 million view, my total upload views is over 8 million and I am in the top 50 most viewed Canadian uploaders on You Tube. Then along came Facebook, I started a group and this continued with my interaction with other people that are interested in signing with children. Then finally came Twitter, I have been slow at getting on to Twitter but have quickly realized the networking it provides.

As an entrepreneur it is imperative that you take advantage of these social tools available to you. See how you can utilize those tools to help grow your business. Remember when you are using these outlets that they aren’t for ‘selling’ your products but for building relationships. You’ll
build relationships in your online community of your potential customers or with other entrepreneurs that will happily support you and your brand if they have a sense of familiarity with you.

I am so honored to have received two amazing awards back to back. As a Mom entrepreneur I am excited for my hard work to be recognized by both the people who voted for me; and the evaluators that bestowed the PTPA award on my baby sign language program.

Will It Ever End?

This winter has been particularly cold and snowy! I am ready for it to be over. Not only am I ready for the warmth to come but I’m ready for the sicknesses, flues, runny noses, sore throats and coughs to be over. It seems like we have used the sign ‘sick’ in our house more this year than any other year. My son was extremely cute the other day when he finally got the stomach flu that had been traveling through my house. To give you the back story, when my daughter was out with this terrible flu she could hardly talk because she always felt that she would be sick if she did. She just kept signing sick over and over again (she liked the sympathy from mommy). Then my son got sick and was very lethargic, he was laying on the couch and I said to him, “Are you okay baby?” and he looked at me and signed ‘sick’ just like his sister had over and over again. I wish I had my video camera running because the cuteness level hit 10 that day.

Due to the yucky sicknesses we have been passing back and forth this winter I felt that SICK would be a great sign of the week this week.

Laura Berg
Founder & President
www.mysmarthands.com

C is for COLD!!

I love living in Canada but admit that I’d love to ‘winter’ down south. I am NOT a fan of the cold. I need to repeat that… I am NOT a fan of the cold. I hate having to bundle myself up but much much much worse than that I hate bundling the kids up. It takes a good 10 minutes longer to leave the house on a winter day than it does during any other season. I don’t mean to complain, I really try to be a positive person but today is the first day that it feels bitter cold and it’s bugging me 🙂

Okay, enough about my complaining about the cold. The great part about winter is being able to sit in front of a fireplace to warm up. Drinking hot tea or chocolate and having it warm up your belly as it goes down. Beautiful white snow on the trees after a snowfall. There are great things about the winter, I am going to focus on those things!

In honour of today being the first bitter cold day I wanted to introduce the sign ‘COLD‘ to you. This is a fun sign to teach children because it is an easy sign for them to do and it’s funny at the same time. Both of my children loved doing this sign I think partly because I made a nice goofy face when doing it and it got a lot of giggles. Have fun with teaching this sign, make a nice goofy cold face, your baby will probably respond with giggles!

http://www.babysignlanguagedictionary-mysmarthands.com/cold_-_ASL_sign_for_cold.html

Have fun and stay warm!

New Blogaholic Laura! Let’s Sign with your Baby!

logoI am so honored to have such a well respected company and to have such amazing people represent my vision of My Smart Hands! Now I can share it with you! I’m one of the newest PTPA Blogaholics and I’m thrilled to not only be able to teach you the benefits of signing with your baby, show you my YouTube videos and share my Signs of the Week….now My Smart Hands is also a PTPA Winner!

My story starts when I was pregnant with my first child I wanted to find a way to stay at home with her but still have an income. Necessity being the mother of invention, I used the skills I had as a teacher and my knowledge of ASL and began teaching sign language to parents of hearing babies. My classes became so successful that I founded My Smart Hands, which has now grown into an international company

It started when I was working as an eighth grade teacher, running the literacy program at my school. The old program we were using wasn’t working so my principal asked me to try to find different ways to help our students improve their literacy skills. While doing research I came across a study that used the American Sign Language (ASL) alphabet to help students develop their spelling skills. I was fascinated with this concept, it made complete sense. ASL encompasses a number of learning styles but specifically kinesthetic and visual. I took this theory to my school, designed a great curriculum and began to have success with it. This led to me lecturing for teacher education programs at universities on the concept of using sign language to help promote literacy in our schools. These lectures, I’m please to say, were very well received.

Further into my research I came across several articles and research studies on using sign language with babies. This concept fascinated me and it made me want to sign with my baby when I had one. The benefits of signing with children are far greater than simple communication (read more about this in our FAQ page).

This all lead me to the creation of My Smart Hands. With my background, teaching baby signing classes seemed to be the perfect fit! In 2005, while pregnant with my daughter, I began designing the My Smart Hands curriculum . After signing with my new daughter and seeing her learn ASL, I was even more confident that this was the right career path for me. I fine tuned my program, designed a manual with a CD to accompany it and opened up my company to other instructors. I wanted to give as many families as possible the opportunity to sign with their babies with help from a qualified My Smart Hands presenter.

Here we are now, several years later and My Smart Hands is an international company with nearly 100 instructors and growing every day! All of my instructors have unique backgrounds but we all have one thing in common, a love for signing! All of My Smart Hands instructors are required to have formal ASL training. We pride ourselves in being an educationally based company that will deliver fulfilling and exciting classes to the parents that take them!

Please check back each week to see my new posts on PTPA about signing with your baby! I’ll include Signs of the Week as well as some great songs! I’d love to answer your questions or see your comments!

About Laura

Laura is the founder of My Smart Hands™ and is certified with the Ontario College of Teachers. She is a guest lecturer at the University level on the topic of using sign language with hearing children. Laura has delivered workshops to librarians and teachers helping them develop techniques to incorporate the use of sign language into their programs. She also runs an ‘introduction to sign language’ program for grades kindergarten to eight.

Laura has an undergraduate degree in Sociology and Child Studies from the University of Guelph and a post-graduate degree in Education. During her University career, she was introduced to the benefits of sign language for use in classroom management. She explored this concept further by taking American Sign Language courses through George Brown College and the Canadian Hearing Society.

But it was when she had a daughter of her own that she truly realized the possibilities for communication and cognitive development that sign language offered. Baby sign language became a passion born of a mother’s desire to give her daughter the best possible start in life. She decided to share her passion with other mothers.

Laura’s teaching background and highly developed skills in curriculum planning make her a formidable force in the classroom. Her classes are spirited and engaging for both mom and baby and have been eliciting raves from her students. Most importantly they offer parents the tools they need to facilitate early communication with their children. As it was with her former students, Laura’s primary goal is to help children achieve their highest potential.

Laura Berg, founder of My Smart Hands™, is a national guest speaker. Her presentations are dynamic and entertaining. Laura is available to speak at your event or conference on the following topics:

-sign language to promote literacy.
-signing and the confident child.
-parent and child bonding through signing.
-how to incorporate signing into your programs.
-other topics geared towards your conference needs.

Please contact Laura for more information and speaking references.

Are you interested in having Laura come and give a presentation at your conference or class on using sign language to promote literacy? Laura offers an engaging power point presentation where she discusses the benefits of using sign language with babies, preschoolers and school aged children and shows videos of a baby and toddler showing off her signing skills!