Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vocabulary Building

When I first started to sign with my babies, I started off slowly. I chose a few key signs such as "milk", "more", "change", "diaper", and "finished". I started off with just a few key words so I didn't overwhelm myself. It also helped me get used to the idea of speaking and signing at the same time. Remember, my babies are hearing babies so the goal was for them to speak eventually. I was giving my babies TWO options to communicate with me....SIGNING or SPEAKING...whichever came first.

When it became easier for me, I would then combine the words. Before I fed my babies "milk" I would say and sign "milk". While they were feeding, I would repeatedly say,"You're drinking MILK". Then I would again repeat it saying and signing,"MORE MILK". At the end of the feeding, I would sign and say,"MILK is FINISHED". In that feeding I would sign at least nine times.

Now...just for are my two kiddies with their animal hats. It gives us a chance to combine "hat" and their choice of animal. "Nix" is signing, "TIGER" and "Kai" is signing,"MONKEY".
Funny thing, my youngest, "Kai" never liked to wear hats and would tear them off instantly. When we started signing and saying the word, "hat" he thought it was so funny that he began to enjoy wearing his hats.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"This Little Light of Mine" and The WeeHands Challenge!

I am a firm believer in inclusive education for all people. I believe that if inclusion started right from birth Society would be less exclusive and more accepting of people with all abilities. That is why I am so proud to say that WeeHands has challenged us all by trying to reach the masses. How? On December 7th they have asked us to celebrate the gift of communication by having groups across North America sign and sing "This Little Light of Mine". More information may be found on

If you're worried about not knowing the signs or the song, the youtube channel, MyWeeHands has assisted with this. WeeHands is fortunate to have CBC's Patti from CBC Kids showing the signs and singing along.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ASL and Literacy

My 4-year old, Phoenix amazes me with his knowledge and thought process! I haven't signed to him consistently since he was a toddler, but most recently he has been seeking ASL words and trying to impress me with his signs. He is the only one in his Junior Kindergarten class who wants to do more work than the teacher asks. (Let's hope this continues!) When learning how to print upper case letters he asks if he may also practise the lower case ones. This is very encouraging because I am able to relate his American Sign Language signs with his printed ones.

For example, the lower case "a" is very similar to the ASL "a" and when we practise the ASL alphabet he is able to make the correlation.

I've heard that some regions are using gestures to assist with reading and literacy skills. This makes a lot of sense since most people are not just visual learners. Many are visual learners, auditory learners, kinisthetic learners or a combination of these. But instead of using made up gestures why not use a REAL language such as ASL?

Although, Phoenix is verbal (sometimes too verbal - LOL) I will continue to teach him American Sign Language as I believe whole-heartedly that it will assist with his literacy skills. I'll try to find new and exciting ways to introduce ASL to him so that it will continue to be a fun aspect of his life. The more fun he and I have with it, the more he'll want to learn!

There is an eye-opening video with 17-month old Elizabeth Barrett reading. She was signed to by both her speech pathologist parents. If I am not able to link it, I encourage you to do a search on it. It really is amazing!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Potty training and ASL

My youngest is now 2 and we have been potty training him since the age of 6 months. Well...more my husband than me since I can be completely lazy in regards to this. "Kai" would be put on the potty every couple of hours and while he was on there my husband and I would sign and say "potty". After a while my son would start to wave his hands as if he were signing "potty" - which really amazed us. His "potty" and "hello" really looked similar to each other so we would label it and boy.... did we take him to the potty plenty of times after that! But you know what? Each time I thought he was just saying "hello" and did not place him on that potty he would do his number 2 soon after that. That certainly taught us a lesson. He has pretty much been potty trained in the "number 2's" for quite some time. However, he has been regressing lately and hiding from us when he does. Hopefully, that will change soon.

Although, he is verbal I still sign with him. He thinks it's a lot of fun! And yesterday while he was on that throne we sang and signed "ABC" about 10 times. More on that another time. =)

Bar Mitzvah's and Signing

I just attended my nephew's Bar Mitzvah over the weekend and was amazed to see that during the ceremony they used ASL!!!! "Bless" and "name" were the specific ones I remembered. Had my kids been paying attention they would have recognized these! LOL!!!