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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Treasure Tuesday

After the stress, exhaustion, and emotional toll from last week I figured I needed to do something lighthearted for my Treasure Today!

It's also something I've mentioned a few times before...something that has been huge in our household for communication!

Signing Time!

Before Kayla was born we had talked about doing sign language to help bridge that communication gap before a toddler learns to speak; we were planning on doing this before we even knew about the possibility of Down syndrome. So when she was born it became even more important to us to learn ASL to help Kayla communicate (since most kids with Ds have a speech delay).

We soon found out about these awsome signing videos and it seemed everywhere I went on the internet there were rave reviews about these DVDs. The mom who started these DVDs found out her daughter was deaf at about 18 months. She wanted to teach ASL to hearing children so they could communicate with her child. We bought the first DVD and were so impressed with it we got the whole set (at the time there were only 6 volumes!) Now we own all 13 volumes!

I remember the first time Kayla signed "eat" - we had been doing the sign with her for months and sometimes it seemed like she was signing back, but we just weren't sure. She was around 13 months when she did it the first time pretty clearly. She had woken up that morning, I had her on the changing table asking if she wanted to go "eat" (signing the word while saying it as well) and all of a sudden she did it back to me...I can't express how excited I was to see that! So we ran into the kitchen so I could give her some cheerios. She started doing it multiple times throughout the day and I didn't know if she was actually hungry, or doing it because it was something new and she got a reaction out of me (I'm sure it was the latter!) but I wanted to reinforce what she was doing so I would give her cheerios each time.

She would eventually start to pick up new signs every week; not always initiating the sign herself, usually after we would say a word/sign first. But one day when she was 20 months old we were in line at the commissary. She was sitting in the cart and all of a sudden signed the word "dog" ... I looked at her quizzically not sure why she was signing that word in the grocery store. I started to glance around and there to my left I noticed a display of dog food which has pictures of dogs all over the bag! I can not tell you how proud of her I was at that moment! I wanted to shout and jump up and down in that line! I told her in an excited voice, "yes Kayla that IS a doggie!" I got home and had to call Joe immediately at work. She recognized the animal and did the sign on her own.

She's able to sign well over 100 words, but she's slowly starting to drop some of the signs as she says the words now, but it's been so wonderful watching her making the connection between a sign and a word/object and being able to communicate with us that way.

These DVDs made learning ASL fun - for the whole family! Joe and I had to learn right along with Kayla. And I'm not too embarassed to admit that Joe and I sing all the songs on the DVDs when they are on; they are so catchy! I know I'm not the only one out there singing more than just "It's signing time with Alex and Leah..." !!

Here is a picture I posted back from Easter when she got the latest set in her basket:


Tracey said...

Wow! Look how excited she was to get it!! That's precious.

Overwhelmed! said...

Ah, that's so neat! I must admit, we haven't been as diligent about teaching Snuggle Bug sign as we had planned. He knows a lot of words to sign, but not nearly as many as he could.

I'm glad to hear that Kayla, and you and Joe, have done so well with sign!

amy flege said...

awe. look how excited she was!! I need to get those for mayson but dont know a whole lot about them. maybe you could give me some info... what age did you start?

PEA said...

Lol love the look of excitement on her precious face!! I think we should all learn sign language, whether we need it or not...I've learned some sign language but not nearly enough!!

Beck said...

Aw! So cute! Signing Time comes on PBS once a week and my kids LOVE it - they're really into sign language, so my husband and I were thinking of getting them the DVDs. Which one should we start with?

Kari said...

Yes our life would be incomplete without our daily dose of Rachael! Actually we are listening to the cd right now! Love the picture I can see she loves them as much as Tristan!

Kari said...

Oh yea and Michelle trust me I am singing along! LOL

Barb said...

What a wonderful little girl you have. I love love that happy excited look on her face. A beautiful treasure.

Anonymous said...

She looks thrilled to have those new videos, so glad she has learned so much from watching them. Now, if I can only get Miss E to sit still long enough to actually learn something from them...she is just too busy these days.

andria said...

We love signing time too. My son is 18 months and can sign really well, mostly thanks to those. He doesn't talk at all but we can communicate better with him than we could his very talkative brother at 18 months.

Michelle said...

Matthew too on the taking months til he signed his 1st sign - more. Ditto on the 100 signs and dropping them as he is saying the verbal words. I only wish we had learned/taught sign to Ryan (our older son) when he was little - it's such a awesome way for the little guys to communicate!!!
Have a great day!

Sandra said...

She looks so excited :) She's just the sweetest :)

Thanks for sharing ;)

Dori (Aviva's mommy) said...

She is just so precious. Aviva keeps asking when she can play with Kayla. It is great how many signs she knows and how she is speaking and when knows the word drops the sign.

She is very impressive!! Keep it up Kayla!


Michelle said...

Tracey - she was excited! She loves ST!

OW - We've started slacking off on the signs we use with her once she started dropping signs!

Amy - I think we started signing the basics of "eat, more, milk" probably around 6-7 months old. I don't remember when we bought the first ST, before she was 12 months though. Then we talked the grandparents to split the cost of the 6-volume set for her bday present :)

Pea - I agree - it is a great language to learn! There is still so much to learn with having actual conversations with people though! I feel so incompetent knowing only basic words :)

Beck - That's great that your PBS station carries their show! I was excited when I read PBS was picking them up on select stations, but unfortunately we don't get it in this area! I don't remember how old your kids are, but you could start with one that is geared towards something they would use a lot of signs from...like there is one "Time to Eat" and it's all about breakfast/lunch dinner food signs. There is "Time for School" "People in My Neighborhood" I think you can go to their website and get a breakdown of each DVD and what some of the signs are...that might help to choose which one to start with!

Kari - the first time we put just the CD on in the van, Kayla kept looking up to the DVD TV waiting for it to start!

Barb - thanks! She does love her ST!

Rebecca - maybe if I could send you one of the later viedos where there is more signing etc she'll be more captivated by it!

Andria - Isn't it amazing how fast kids can pick up the signs at such a young age!?

Michelle - I agree - it is an awsome way to be able to communicate!

Dori - that is so sweet that Aviva wants to know when she can play with Kayla! I bet Kayla would have such fun following her around!

Catch said...

Looks like Kayla is pretty excited to get it in her Easter basket!!! I alwyas put fun things in my kids Easter basket instead of too much candy.

Anonymous said...

I think that is wonderful that she knows how to sign so many words. She looks so cute in that picture!

chelle said...

That has to be the most beautiful treasure. Giving the treasure of language. You provided the opportunity for you daughter to communicate with you! That is amazing!

Paulette said...

She is toooooo adorable!!! when I see her I see my little cayti girl. You are doing a great job mom!!!

Paulette said...

could you post the name of the tapes? I would like to get them as a gift for someone.

Tara Marie said...

love it.....Emma Sage was watching some today with her friend Claudia....the two of them think it is so cool to know 'sign language' together.

Trisha said...

Hey, something that makes her that excited and happy must be a good thing. I tried (Hmm, no, thought would be a better word) about teaching my oldest sign language but didn't get much further than that. I think my youngest would really benefit from this. What age did you start? Do you just use the DVDs or other book? Thanks for the great idea!

Shelley said...

What a gorgeous picture. I too had wanted to sign even before we know of Hannah's DS diagnosis - I have a deaf sister so I was lucky in that I already knew many signs. I wish we had some signing dvds like that but because Auslan is not the same as American sign they don't translate as well for our kids here. Hannah and Kit both sign as well as use words - Hannah has a solid reportoire f signs already which is great for encouraging speech and communication.

Tammy and Parker said...

We love Signing Time too! It has been amazing to watch Parker go from not being able to 'tell' us anything to being able to let me know when he wants to eat, be picked up, and more of his absolute favorite: bouncing!

Faith said...

Awesome!!! You know I love signing time! We have them all too. Little amn devours them!!!

mum2brady said...

We love signing time :) I love that pic of Kayla - that is Brady's expression when he sees his DVD's too :) I agree that ST! is a true treasure - at least it has been in our house!!!

Hugs to your sweet girl!!!

K.T. says peace said...

Kendall uses basic signs that I taught her when she was a baby....that was at the dawn of the ASl revolution for hearing children,toddlers.She still uses a few.It was a natural step for me because I was OCD in using sign when I was speaking and singing yet completely unaware of such until someone pointed it out to me,so for her to learn it was just a natural progression....Of course when she started school her SLP told me to STOP IT!I was also hindering her use of her hearing and speech-but it really helped not hurt so Rock on! with your bad self!

Nisa said...

I remember that picture of Kayla from Easter. I love it! I need to learn some more sign language too. I only know the alphabet right now...

Michelle said...

Catch - I wanted her basket to contain much more than chocolate and candy! She got stuff like sidewalk chalk too :)

Chelle - it was wonderful to have the ability to communicate before she could speak words!

Paulette - the name of the DVDs are Signing Time - the link is in my post, but I'll send you an email too!

TM - I think it's wonderful Claudia is learning right along w/Emma Sage too. Kayla has 3 little friends who all got hooked on these DVDs as well.

Trisha - I bought a small pocket book to start with and we started about the time she was eating the baby cereal...around her first birthday is when I think we bought the first DVD and she took off with signs after that!

Shelley - I wish there was a universal sign language - that would help wouldn't it!

Tammy - I was so excited for you a while ago when you blogged about Parker signing eat! It's wonderful when they make those connections!

Christine - I know just how much of a treasure it is in your house! And we're happy to say we know an ST star!!

KT - I think it's great you were able to teach Kendall some basic signs and that she still uses them today - great job!

Nisa - I can send you some links online - they are like dictionaries and show the action for the signs.

Sara said...

Man she is georgous! We got Nathaniel the first 3 dvds,they are really good. I love the pizza song ;)

Much More Than A Mom said...

What a beautiful pic of Kayla! Yeah for pictures! I sign with Ry too but he of course hasn't signed back yet. I like this site - for anyone who doesn't want to buy books or videos:


Michelle said...

Sara - We love the pizza song too! In Vol 11 or 12 they have a new one!

Much More - Thanks for the link; I'm going to book mark that!