Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sign Language vs. Talking

Welp, Ham is learning the art of American Sign Language with a vengeance! She is addicted to her baby videos that we rented from the library. I don't know what we are going to do when they have to go back....again. Yes, I have rented them twice already. I think we should have stuck with teaching her everyday signs with regular objects because she can be pretty incessant about signing, "Baby Video." It's cute, though. We just don't give in every time.

She can sign so many things now. Here is a list:
Apple, shirt, banana, lion, monkey, car, thank you, milk, baby, video, music, fish, tree, dinosaur (I know, SOOO important, right?), doggy, cat, water, drink, cereal, cracker, socks, shoes, hot, hat, diaper, daddy, share, you're welcome, please, kisses, balloon, ball, all done, elephant, train, panda, lion, giraffe, music, sleep, night night...OK, I'm sure there are more, but you get the picture.

She can also now say:
Dog ("daw"), hot ("ot"), hat ("at") which can also be 'cat', ball ("baw"), baby ("bebe"), Aunt Jen ("bin"), Isabella ("beda"), Mommy, Daddy, and Bebe pronounced 'Bay-Bay ("beba").

Hubby and I have been talking a bit about making our own videos for her. We have read differing ideas about sign language and babies talking late. For instance, if you show your child how to sign words, but do not speak the words as well, then the child is more likely to continue signing instead of learning how to speak the words as well. However, studies show that if a baby (or child) learns sign language coupled with learning the word and the spelling (a video often shows the word they are signing), a child usually talks sooner, but also can recognize words sooner...leading to reading at an earlier age. Now that is something we can stand behind!

We aren't all about making Ham into some sort of freak of nature, who sits around reading Pride and Prejudice at the age of 3, but we are into fostering good reading habits and communication. Both of us love to read and it's something we want Ham to enjoy...if she so chooses.

I remember many kids in my first and second-grade classes who would cry if the teacher asked them to read at story time. I always felt sad for them (and mad, if the teacher badgered them in any way) and would volunteer to read so that they didn't feel pressured. I never felt haughty or better than anyone, but I just couldn't imagine a life without being able to read on my own. Because of this, I have also thought about joining a program that helps children (and adults) learn to read.

That being said, Ham is only 13 months old and she has lagged in some ways (whatever that means) by only having 3 teeth at a year old, but she has excelled in others. I think that when we see our children loving something and wanting to learn, we should make it a top priority to sit down with them and guide them in their endeavors. That is what my parents did with me and I am so thankful for it.

So, there you go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just had to comment. I love how some children are learning sign language! My little cousin (now almost 4) learned sign lanquage before she could talk and it was sooo cute! She was speaking very clearly, very early, so no worries there. It was awesome to see her asking for "more please" and "milk" just to name a few. I think it's special how these children can communicate before they can speak. Don't worry about the lack of teeth, my brother and I didn't get our first teeth until much later than other children. I didn't even get my first tooth until I was a year old. Sorry for the long comment. Love your blog!