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Author Topic: parents of baby signers
Lissande
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Several parents here have talked about using baby signing successfully with their children, and I've heard about it elsewhere as well. It sounds interesting enough that I'd like to try it.

My question is: unless you make up your own signs (or already know regular sign language), where do you learn them? I'm not so interested in taking a course or buying a bunch of material (mostly what I'm finding on Google). Does everyone just buy a book or something, or is there, say, a website out there with some sample signs?

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DeathofBees
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With MiniBee we came up with some of our own signs for things and modified them as we went along rather than sticking strictly to the signs in the Baby Signs book, which I borrowed from the La Leche League library. I thought it was helpful for MiniBee to be using signs that he had invented himself because I could see that he really understood that he was communicating. I did learn the signs that went with some of the rhymes in the back of the book, though, because I thought they were fun enough to memorize.

Something that I kept in mind while I was doing all of this is that the point in signing with your baby is communication, not to give your baby a higher IQ or better chances of getting into Harvard. If you're doing it to truly communicate with your child, you'll love it. For us, it definitely didn't teach MiniBee sign language and who knows what effect it had on his IQ, but it was so wonderful to have our signs while we transitioned into speaking. We still like using our finger play songs and rhymes, as well, now that MiniBee is over 2 and talking our ears off. We plan to follow the same course with BeeBoy (currently 3.5 months), allowing him to invent some or modify the ones we sign to him in our games and songs.

So, to answer your question, we didn't need a kit or a course. We found some helpful signs in the basic book, but didn't try to use it as a reference manual or anything. We made up most of what we really used.

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Lissande
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Yeah, I'm mostly interested in the communication and fewer-tantrums aspects. I could care less about the Baby Einstein part. Problem is I don't have access to the book, but I'd like to see some sample signs to get ideas. [Smile]
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ketchupqueen
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Signing Time! Their website is www.signingtime.com, I think (games and activities at www.signingtimekids.com.) They show it on our local PBS station and Ems and I watch together, that's how I learned most of the signs I used with Bridey. Emma loves it. They also have Signing Time Baby DVDs that are geared at younger kids and teach more basic vocabulary. And they have board books, too. All their stuff teaches ASL signs, no adapted or altered signs (although I don't fret if my infants and toddlers develop their own adaptation or approximation of a sign, since they are mostly using it to communicate with me, I do use the correct sign back to them.)

If I need a sign that I don't know already I look it up at www.aslpro.com, where they have excellent online free dictionaries (general, conversational, and religious signs.) They even have a "ASL for babies dictionary" but I don't use that one so I don't know what's in it. Probably simple signs appropriate for the vocabulary of the under-two set.

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ketchupqueen
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(Between the two, I should add, I have developed a very, very basic but functional ASL mini-vocabulary. I was in the store the other day and was able to sign "Do you like string cheese? Do you want some?" when I had coupons for free string cheese and encountered a Deaf woman standing by the cheese and wanted to offer to share.)
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breyerchic04
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The girl who I babysit that used to sign (she's almost 4 now) learned them at her daycare which was part of the mother's school system. The only one I had to learn with her was "more"
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ketchupqueen
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"More" is the very first thing Bridey signed! That's a popular one with the littles, for sure.
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School4ever
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I already knew ASL.

I am very glad I taught my son sign. He started signing at 4-6 months, and he did not cry unless he was hungry or tired. He would sign that he was hungry, but he is very impatient for food - hence the crying. You would think we starve him with the way he complains, but he eats five meals a day (full on meals - meat, vegetable, starch, and fruit). He still signs for food at 2.5, but he is just emphasising what he is saying.

Sorry for the tangent. With all he eats, you would think he would be eligible to go on a talk show episode about fat kids, and yet he is skinny! People who see him in action wonder how we can afford to keep him fed.
/tangent

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dkw
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I already knew some, plus someone gave us a baby sign book as a shower gift, and the president of the state School for the Deaf is a member of our congregation. So when we needed a sign (like "rice") that wasn't in the book we asked her.
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ketchupqueen
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School4ever, that sounds like our kids. [Big Grin] They come by it naturally-- I can eat, myself, for sure, and my family used to say that my dad had TWO hollow legs, the way he ate as a child.
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brojack17
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I always used this (http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/aslweb/browser.htm) site. You pick a word and it shows a quicktime video of how to sign. Since we were just going for words and not trying to learn the entire language, it worked well.
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TomDavidson
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We picked up a baby sign book (modified ASL) and made up a number of signs, as appropriate.
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