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Teach your child how to expand use of sign language

There’s never too early or too late to learn signing yourself and then teach it to your child.

As a parent, you can begin using simple signs with your babies and toddlers just as they would spoken words. Identifying favourite foods or objects with a single sign is a good way to start. Holding up a stuffed toy like lion and making the sign for ‘lion’, or pointing to Papa while signing ‘father’.

Using signs labelling emotions & feelings is a logical next step. Signing ‘baby sad’ or ‘I’m happy’ can affirm your young child’s perception of what is happening in & around them. It won’t be long before your child is offering up signs of their own to communicate how he is feeling in the moment.

Learning signing is a good way to help your child become multilingual.

Children of preschool age group are actively expanding their receptive skill. They will be able to understand signed communication quite naturally with practice. Finding songs to sing, sign & dance to will help remember signs & provide a great deal of fun.

An older child can serve as a model for a younger brother or sister by identifying familiar objects with sign. Learning to fingerspell, or spell out words using the signed alphabet, can assist your child in learning the alphabet & later in learning to spell. Signing the alphabet while signing letters uses both sides of the brain & maximizes learning. Practicing spelling words by finger-spelling is a fun way to learn spelling.

Older children can also enjoy sign language. Having a secret ‘second’ language to share with others can build friendships. Learning & teaching others how to sign at this age coincides with a child’s developing sense of self as an individual with special skills & talents.

Sign language can also be a fun way to enrich the relationship between you & your child. Incorporating a few key phrases into your everyday family such as ‘Don’t forget to brush’ or ‘I love you’.

This is also a time when your child become more empathetic & increasingly aware of the needs of others. Finding a deaf friend or visiting a club for the deaf can expand your child’s view of the world & can build compassion for others.

In other words, sign language can be an important interpersonal skill.

September 3, 2009 Posted by | Attachment Parenting, Baby Sign, Just Baby, Just Preschooler, Just Toddler, Natural Parenting | 3 Comments

Baby Hambali & Mama in MyChild Magazine!!

“Our family loves the Baby Sign Program! It’s not just a way to communicate with our 10-month-old baby but it’s a game for our 5-year-old boy too. Additionally, my older boy is also learneing the ABC signing, which I know by heart. We started off with words like Papa, Mama, milk, sleep, more, where, lion, come, eat, bye-bye, play, love (sayang) and cannot.Hambali signed ‘milk’ at 7 months and ‘bye-bye’ at 9 months! I think he signed ‘eat’ to his Grandma the other day and though Grandma was unsure of the signing, he did stop making a fuss once he was fed. For the rest of the words, he understands what they are. He’s also already saying ‘Papa’ and ‘Mama’ clearly, and he’s defintely not just mumbling because he does know who he is calling. We’re adding more words to his signing vocabulary like book, car, moon, fan, bird, cat, butterfly and water.

Hanz’s Note : Those are what was written in the former mag edition June/July 2009, specifically when baby Hambali was 10 months old. Update on Baby Sign: Hambali can sign more, lion, cat, fan, rabbit, salam(shake hand), sayang(love-he will lean forward & planted a kiss if you say sayang) along with nen-nen(milk), eat & bye-bye and understand the sign for come, sleep, cannot, book, ball & car. More sign we added is happy, angry, bath, drink & dirty.

August 11, 2009 Posted by | Attachment Parenting, Baby Sign, Hanz is up to..., Hanz's Boys, Natural Parenting | 15 Comments

Sign Language & Homeschooling


Another chat about Baby Sign & in relation to Homeschool. Specially dedicated to Homeschoolers Mommas. You know who you are. ;P

Commonly asked questions regarding sign language
in the home-school environment:

Q1 : At what age should I teach sign language to my child?

A :
It is never too early or too late. Commonly, it can be start by 6 months or 8 months & some begin later about 15 months. Early benefits to signing with a child include stimulation of speech and language development, as well as earlier communication and decreased behavioural problems. Sign language is a wonderful educational tool for young children because it exercises and develops structures in the brain that are used for language & reasoning. Adults also report numerous benefits from learning sign language.

Q2 : What are the benefits for using sign language as a teaching tool?

A :
Sign language is a wonderful resource in the classroom – from preschool, kindergarten, and beyond. Sign language reinforces auditory skills by adding visual and kinesthetic input. Signing also stimulates secondary avenue for conceptual understanding to occur. Sign language also improves spatial skills that are important for solid reasoning. There are so many cognitive benefits to learning sign language.

Q3 : Are there other reasons to incorporate sign language into my homeschooling curriculum?

A :
Learning sign language can be a wonderful socialization opportunity for home-schooled children. Simply becoming involved in a local sign language community can boost the social confidence of your child and provide a bonding experience for the whole family!


June 3, 2009 Posted by | Attachment Parenting, Baby Sign, Early Childhood Education, Homeschooling, Natural Parenting | 4 Comments

Incorperating Baby Sign to Our Household

Last night after prolong delayance, finally materialise Step No. 2 of MyBoys Baby Sign Journey (Is there any better word than Journey? kind of weird…hemm..)

I googled a lot on this subject few days back & lucky to find there is so much I can do with Baby Sign. In fact, with proper plan Baby Sign can evolve symbiotic to Homeschooling. Those notes that I’ve printed out has provided plenty ideas & that would be the next step onwards to be materialise.

I thought I want to get more materials from BabySign Malaysia then I got this idea (me, being frugalicious. Anyway, I still need other materials for other activities) which in any other way systematic to my liking. I photostated all the signs caricatures featured in my Parent Kit and then group them under the same category like Animals, Action Words, Feelings , etc. This way, Hanafi could benefitted it more & perhaps to baby Hambali soon. I chose several ‘Pooh’ fancy papers for layout since Pooh is the ‘thing’ we associated with baby Hambali & it become like this…


I have decided that within certain period of time, about 12 to 16 signs (about 6-8 signs per layout) will be exposed to my boys. I made One Background to stick 2 layouts from a cardboard which I have pasted it to our balcony door. So from time to time, each layout would be changed to another once the entire household ‘mastered’ it (exception for Baby Hambali as it is subjective in relation of milestones). Here’s how it was done….


P/S – Few days ago, we received good news from Jamie of BabySigns Malaysia. Wait for our future announcement. ;P


April 23, 2009 Posted by | Attachment Parenting, Baby Sign, Early Childhood Education, Homeschooling, Natural Parenting | 4 Comments

Hambali’s Baby Sign Journey featured in Baby Sign Blog

Hambali’s Signing Progress is being mentioned in Baby Sign Malaysia’s Blog.

Feeling great!!

P/S – Thank you, Jamie!

April 15, 2009 Posted by | Attachment Parenting, Baby Sign, Hanz's Boys, Natural Parenting | Leave a comment

5 Reasons to use Baby Sign Language


5 Reasons to use Baby Sign Language by Ellen L. Wells

1. Enrich the parent-child relationship.
It makes perfect sense that a baby whose wants and needs are understood by his parents would feel closer to them. It also makes sense that a much less frustrated household would make for a better relationship between parents and babies.

2. Increase your ability to understand the wants and needs of your baby, and decrease overall frustration for your baby.
Using signing enables a baby to convey what she wants and needs. I can still remember seeing my 11-month-old signing ‘milk’ when she wanted to nurse. Later she was able to sign for other food and drink items, as well as for toys and play. I found that she seemed generally happy and was an ‘easy’ baby. Mothers in our playgroup noticed and wanted to know more about Baby Signing. I referred them to research by the authors of Baby Signs indicates that if a baby can communicate what she wants and needs – even if the parent must say ‘no’ in response – the baby will know that she was understood and experience less frustration. Reduced frustration means that she will cry less and be much happier (especially as she moves into frustrating days of toddlerhood).

3. Open an exciting window into the mind of your baby.
Babies are developing rapidly. They are like little sponges – soaking in everything. You can be a part of that experience when you teach your baby how to signs. My daughter was so proud of herself when she was able to point to our fish tank and sign ‘fish’ for the first time. She tapped my shoulder, pointed at the tank and signed ‘fish’. She had the biggest grin on her face and it was almost as if she has said to me, “Mommy, I see a fish over there.” her first sentence!

4. Enhance the development of language skills.
A common myth about baby signing is that a child who is taught baby signing will choose to use signing over verbal speech. The opposite is true. Not only will a baby choose verbal speech over signing, but signing will increase baby’s verbal abilities. In my practice as a speech pathologist, I use signing to facilitate verbal speech with babies and toddlers who have language delays and disorders, and I have seen the great strides they make when signs are used. It is a bridge to verbal communication. I call it “The tricycle before the bicycle.” It is no wonder that a baby or toddler who does not have any language deficits would benefit even more from signing.

5. Increase you baby’s IQ
Results taken from a longitudinal study by the researchers behind the book Baby Signs, Acredolo & Goodwyn, revealed a 12-point difference in IQ scores when babies who used signing were compared to babies who did not sign. Babies who signed had IQ scores that were almost deviation above those who did not. That is a baby leap, one that could indicate the need for all babies to use signing and one that will continue to be explored as baby signing grows in use.

___________________________________________________________________

Ellen Wells hold a Master’s degree in education and is certified as a speech-language pathologist, Lamaze-certified childbirth educator and child passenger safety technician. She specializes in family education (including breastfeeding, baby care and car seat installation and use), infant-toddler swallowing and feeding disorders, baby sign language and speech-language difficulties. She has worked in neonatal intensive care, rehabilitation and outpatient care in hospitals and private practice. Ellen is a founding partner of Communication Specialists and co-produced the video Learning Baby Sign Language, which is sold through classes, specialty shops and pediatricians. Ellen and her husband Chris have two little ones and live in Texas. Visit Ellen at http://www.learningbabysigns.com

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Attachment Parenting, Baby Sign, Natural Parenting, Worth-read Articles | 3 Comments

Baby Sign with my 2 sons

We wave our hands when we are leaving and saying goodbye. We raise one finger to our lips indicating the needs to be silence. We nod for ‘Yes’ and shake our head for ‘No’. Simple gesture for universal meaning. Signing brings people closer despite language differences. For hearing-challenged & speak-challenged, signing would be one of the way for them to communicate. But, how about communicating with baby? Baby for sure cannot talk.

Learning to talk is a complicated business. Based on research and findings, average human being can pronounce first true word is at 12 months old or 1 year old. So how do we go about before reaching that age especially it is only word and on building up sentences mostly can be done at 19 months!

This is where signing get into the picture!

What I’m about to chat is sharing on my recent discovery and our current daily routine to our baby and to our preschool-aged son as well.

Signing is not a new thing for me. I know by heart on how to sign the alphabets, indeed from letter ‘A’ to ‘Z’. I can’t recall how I learned it, but I suspected it must be from many books I read in my childhood. It did’nt occured to me either that I would take signing seriously in my later years though I always feels fascinated when observing ‘unique’ people signing to communicate.

I keep on buying educationcal vcds for my sons and two of the vcds I bought previously featured signing. In Preschool Power 6, there is one segment showing how to sign while singing the old favourite children song, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star”.

I’m yet to memorize all the movement as I tend to mix it up. A fun way to sing the song and some activity to do with your child.

Blue’s Clues is my favourite and so to our elder son. Hope our lil baby would like the cuddly Blue & funny Steve & Joe too.

This one featured all about signing. Very, very entertaining. We love it. Hanafi is doing his level best to sign following the Blue’s Clues.

I think I came across the Baby Sign programme by Babyloft & Miabambina but it’s the subscribed mailing by Fabulousmom that triggered the heart to have a look. One sunny Saturday afternoon, I went the Intro Talk at Fabulosmom being conducted by Baby Signs Malaysia Director, Ms Jamie Solomon. Brief yet informative.

Once I’m home, discussed it with hubby and he’s as his usual being supportive for whatever venture I’m onto, motivate me more to sign up for the course. After surfed their website, I told myself, OK! Let’s fill up this form and submit. Within days of several emails exchanged with Jamie, I’m off to the Parent Workshop.

Having attended the Parent Workshop at the BSC HQ itself by one of their instructor, Natasha, I get so excited and eager to start it right away ! This is what I obtained by attending that.
It’s been like almost four months now we’ve been signing and guess what? The first sign my baby responded, really responded not just understanding was a sign for ‘Milk!’. He opened-closed his palm for few seconds exactly like what I always showed it to him. Plus the usual adorable panting meaning he needs the cuddling session of breastfeeding. How exhilarating we were then. I referred our breastfeed session as ‘Nenen’ & I think so other most Malays even Chinese are referring the same. He did that first sign when he was 7months plus. And, he continue doing that for a month then drop-out. He is 9months now, so far no new sign. Nope. We will not rush him as we believe every baby has his own pace.

On top of that hubby & me having fun signing with our elder son too and he is getting good at it. We encouraged him to sign to his little brother too. Who knows perhaps they can bond better by signing and might create new sign specifically for only them can understand it? Talking about brotherhood, huh? Hope their mother won’t be left out from that. Ha! Ha!

Oh! Before I forget, there’s another thing I want to add. I’ve chatted about ‘Attachment Parenting’ some time ago and one of the tools in that approach is ‘Belief in the language of your baby’s cry’. See? Isn’t that is referring to Baby Sign? You can peeped back on my previous chatting here. That’s a plus point for you to consider joining me in this journey if you are just like me adopting the Attachment Parenting in your parenting style.

March 20, 2009 Posted by | Attachment Parenting, Baby Sign, Early Childhood Education, Hanz is up to..., Natural Parenting | 10 Comments