Friday, October 25, 2013

ASL and Language Development

By now almost everyone with a child has heard of "Baby Signs."  It's really an amazing thing.  If you are thinking about learning some signs, please do.  I'll tell you a little bit about my kids.

I remember a few months ago being in the train station with the boys and Jeff started wailing for no known reason.  Derek asked him what he wanted and he put one finger to his lips which is his sign for "water."  We gave him his water bottle and he calmed down immediately.  I remember saying to Derek, "Imagine how much more screaming there would be if he couldn't tell us what he wanted!"

Don't get me wrong, my kids are full of screams.  My poor neighbors.  I feel bad for them.  At 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (and many of the hours in between) our home often has at least one person screaming.  Sometimes it's a baby...sometimes it's me.

The boys are 19 months now and so many things about their language fascinates me.
  • I love that they are starting to put two and three signs together.  I get sentences like "Dad sleep" and "More banana please." 
  • The boys now hear me talking English and pick up on things even when I'm not talking to them.  If I say things to another person like "I need to get a haircut" they will point to their hair or if I say I'll be going outside later they start signing "shoes" which is their way of getting ready to go out.
  • Aaron kept trying to steal my glasses one day a few weeks ago.  I signed that the glasses were mine and he can't take them about fifty times.  By the next day he knew the sign for glasses.  It amazed me that I could almost see the process of him learning new words!
  • Over the last few weeks I have been able to ask the boys, "Do you want milk or water?" and they can always answer me clearly with signs.  
  • In September we were in the airport and there were three people in chairs two of who were asleep.  Aaron kept pointing to the two who had their eyes closed and signed "sleep."
  • Jeff can tell me when he wants me to get him socks, read a book, hear our Mickey Mouse doll sing, our Tigger doll to jump, and sit in his highchair.
  • I recently was looking at a new book with some animals and both boys were able to sign most of the animals.  It shocked me because the pictures were new and the pigs, cows, dogs, etc. didn't look exactly like the animals we saw in other books.  They boys were able to identify the animals anyway.
  • The boys are also extremely good with puzzles.  I'm no expert in child development, but I think they started doing puzzles much earlier than average and I believe it has to do with the fact that they are learning a visual-spatial language.  Regardless of the actual reason, I'm pretty impressed by their puzzle skills.
Aaron can now say "bye" pretty easily and will sometimes say "hi."  Although he always say "bye" after I hang up with grandparents or after we leave the room.  He doesn't quite get the concept of saying "bye" to a person which makes me laugh.  Both boys are starting to copy our speech a little more.  It's cute to listen to their funny pronunciations of words like "doggie" and "rainbow."  Although I'm excited to hear their voices developing, I love watching their little hands fly as they get excited seeing fire trucks drive by or notice an apple in the fruit bowl.  I'm trying to teach them to sign "I love you."  We're getting close.  I'm sure when I see it on their tiny hands it'll be a moment I remember.     

1 comment:

  1. I think this is amazing, Michael! You must be so proud of those two boys.