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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Signing Time

My Intro to Baby Signs
I think the first video I watched on Baby Sign language was in 2007.  I had just received my four year degree in Psychology and started my first adult job as a Developmental Interventionist.  I sat in a big conference room with only three other women.  We pulled up chairs around an old fashioned TV on a rolling cart and watched an antiquated video (it may even have been on a VCR) about infant sign language.

Why Sign
I learned that it increases vocal language development, rather than hinders it and that it decreases frustration and therefore maladaptive behaviors.  We learned a few signs through the video, but during my work in early childhood education, I have only used 'more' and 'all done' and 'eat' consistently.  That is simply because they are the most functional.  Baby sign language is all about function. 

My Disappointing Experience
So, along comes my baby girl.  I am excited to be proactive, teach signs early and give her a way to communicate during that stage when they are opinionated, yet unable to communicate vocally.  My good friend's baby signed SUPER early, so I had a good example to follow.

Can we cue the womp womp sound?  Because..... my daughter is already frustrated.

Right out of the womb - frustrated.  When she wants something, her eyes instantly fill with tears, her back arches and she is not in any way paying attention to my hands.  I also never seem to be facing her when I give her milk.  And it is not always easy for me to tell when she is all done.  As I write this, I am thinking of ways to work around these challenges (like signing once I know what she wants and she is partially satiated, also turning her around to face me while I sign it).  Moving on...

My Dream
I forgot to tell you one thing.  While baby sign language is all about function, I had a tiny hope that she would go on to become fluent in ASL.  As a toddler or small child we could make play dates with others in the deaf community - start her training young on appreciating all types of people.  We could look for ways to help her use her skill and give back to the community.  It was a nice hope.  Well, this hope is not over.

Signing Time
I spent my morning watching the first 7 minutes of Signing Time over and over and over again.  Actually it was really just minute 6-7 that was on repeat.  I've decided to introduce ASL to Julianne through songs.  Julianne thoroughly enjoys songs and is very intent on my hands while I make the appropriate movements.  What in the world am I doing teaching her pointless things such as 'The Itsy Bitsy Spider' instead of actual information she can use?  How great would it be to have 5, 8, 12 plus songs to rotate in circulation that actually teach useful information.

I am beyond excited.  This is our first circle time with our first ASL song from Signing Time.


Where to watch Signing Time
Currently, the adult Signing Time videos are available on Netflix. If you don't currently have Netflix, you can check out Signing Time for free through a free trial. 

We have been flirting with the idea of ending our Netflix subscription.  We haven't been watching it as much.  If they got more educational material, we would probably keep it.  As for now, we will probably cancel.   When I think of the ongoing price of Netflix, it is just cheaper to buy it from Amazon at $23.99.

Amazon also rents it on a weekly basis for $1.99.  This is not an option I would take advantage of.  If you want to try it, go with Netflix or your local libary.  If you want to buy it, Amazon, ebay or the manufacturers website.

Enjoy your signing. 
Although I'm not letting my little one watch this quite yet, it is entertaining for me and I imagine would be for a child as well.  For the songs itself, it is worth the investment.  I now know 'my name is,' 'old,' 'new,' 'friend,' 'today,' 'fun' and 'what's your name.' 


  1. If it makes you feel any better, ever since Gabe discovered his voice a couple weeks ago, he won't sign potty anymore and just squeals when he needs to go. He still tries to sign milk though. And Caden has forgotten almost everything he's learned. I'm making him watch Signing Time again.