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gizmo_mathboy (782)

  reversethis-{moc ... } {yobhtamomzig}

aerospace engineer by education, all-around walking cesspool of knowledge by nature, and professional grade slacker by choice. Sysadmin at a major midwestern university.
Tuesday December 26, 2006
12:36 AM

Offspring and sign language

[ #32002 ]

I think hfb's and jhi's recent spawning sparked this post (and a lot of conversations with my wife as well).

I think teaching my son sign language is the single, best parenting thing we have done. I really look forward to seeing how our daughter-to-be handles it.

We couldn't imagine the crying, frustration and misery that we would be going through if he couldn't even do rudimentary communication.

We got hooked on this from a friend and she exposed us to Signing Time. There are probably many other good videos and such out there, this is what we hit on first. I think I have the entire series tivo'd from our pbs station.

About a month ago my wife sat down and tried to determine how many signs he knows. It was over 60. He was about 16 months old at the time. He spoke maybe 6-8. It is amazing the capacity for communication our species has.

I can not recommend strongly enough that if you have a young child that you should teach it sign language. I think it defuses frustration and lets you know what they want, at least earlier and more precisely. Otherwise they are left to pointing, grunting and crying until they have the verbal skills. It is just amazing to see his language develop and change daily if not hourly.

It was the most amazing thing this weekend when he signed "please". Well, I guess the list is long about the amazing things small humans do as the grow, especially when it's your genes doing it.

Edit: Talking with my wife, we started signing to him around 6 months. Mostly simple things like: more, eat and milk. He didn't start signing back until he was 10 months old, which made us wonder if the whole signing thing was working. Now at 17 months (almost) he is signing a new word every day.

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  • My wife and I are quite interested in these "alternative" child-raising methods. We're practicing Attachment Parenting and stuff with our four-month-old daughter, as well as EC (Elimination Communication, aka infant potty-training). Sofar it seems to pay off: our little girl is very sweet, patient, and attentive. I'm sure I'm biased, but the three of us are very happy with each other, and I'm convinced positive parenting is a great benefit.

    More to the point, there's a book entitled "Baby Signs" on our coffe
    • My wife is doing the Attached Parenting thing for the most part. Don't know much about EC.

      We are also doing Positive Parenting. The big benefit is from my wife's teacher experience. She saw first hand how some parents' attempt at this worked (or failed for the most part it seemed). I think because they were too permissive. You can still be positive about not allowing bad behavior. It is something to think about how you say things to avoid getting into bad habits yourself.

      I think my toughest task is to have
  • With our first child, we started signing with him at about seven months. It was very effective: he picked up the signs quickly, and was able to become an effective communicator. We didn't use all that many signs (let's see... food, milk, water, more, please, thank you, help, mommy, daddy... I think that's it), and by the time he was 12 months or so he started replacing the signs with English. He doesn't use them any more, by the time he was 18 months his English vocabulary far outweighed his ability to s
    • We have a girl on the way (90% certain from the ultrasound) and it will be interesting to see how she does.

      I've read that girls learn language faster and develop fine motor skills earlier in general to boys and my wife's experience as a teacher agrees with this for the most part.

      We try to use ASL but have fallen short on a couple occasions, mostly because we didn't look up the sign. My son basically signs "all done" for toast because when the toaster oven dings we would say the toast is all done and I thin