thread: Baby Signing

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    Feb 2004

    Baby Signing

    Katanya talking about her book has reminded me I was going to ask about this.

    Has anyone thought about/done baby signing? If so, does it work I suppose is the big question?

    My mum's group was considering taking classes as a group, that'll cost $65 for 6 classes.

  2. #2
    katanya Guest

    yes it works! The thing is I would recomend going to the classes if you have never signed because it is a differnt way of communicating.

    I am double lucky because I work with a non verbal child in my home (respite worker) and Felix is exposed to signing every second weekend, he mimics her signs..she uses makaton which is alomost identical to the baby signing but a little more complex..

    I have been quite lazy and he could have known more signs than he does already, but he knows teeth, eat, and bath..I am trying to work on poo and wee in advance for toilet training.

    With this sign lauguange you use verbal language as well, it is like a reinforcement for us, and for a baby they can learn to express themselves. It is hard at first to start because you wonder if they are learning or ever going to use it, but once they start waving they are really ready..Felix will copy signs I show him, but getting him to sign as a request is our goal, he signs if I say the word for bath, teeth, eat..but hasn't used it as a request, I'm going to start being more intensive about it..

    Anyhow I would recomende the classes also it is fanatstic that our mothers group is dong it together because then you can practivce as a group and learn together..it's harder when you are at the shops and signing, you'd probably feel self concious

  3. #3
    BellyBelly Member

    Aug 2004

    Nell - how did you find out about this?? I would love to do it, but I'm not sure where to look for classes?


  4. #4
    katanya Guest

    ooh I forgot to say Nell If you want to see Baby signing in action watch "meet the fockers" those babies can sign like champions! Fantasticly funny movie anyhow!

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Member

    Feb 2004

    One of our Maternal Health Centres here in Werribee holds them, so maybe check with the council?

    I have seen Meet the Fockers, wasn't sure if that was truly it though!

  6. #6
    katanya Guest

    the meet the focker twin's (play the baby) mother is an OT, the signs are differnt to the ones used in the baby sign book I have..like poo is holding your nose in the tiny talk one, milk is only 1 hand squeezing sideways..but yes they are baby signing..they are quite amazing at it, I would say they'd be around Felix's age, but he's not that good at it!

    It's something you need to adopt as part of your daily life I guess, I am trying to remember to sign more now, I know the signnaturally, just been slack..but really till they are 2.5 they can't really talk properly (facial muscles aren't developed enough) so it will still help if we can learn a few more over the next year..

  7. #7
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW

    I've been signing with Matilda since she was 7 months, and just using them when I say the word, so like for food I will ask is she finished & sign she now signs without us asking her, or if I ask she will sometimes sign "more please" and we will get her more food. Signing has really helped us communicate at this young age basic needs. We only use a few words so we have, "finished" "more please" "drink" "hungry"and a few other fun ones like "light" "dogs" and "bird"

    Some of our signs are legit and some are made up (mostly the fun ones)

  8. #8
    katanya Guest

    Just wanted to update on this rather than start a new thread, but felix has recently started signing heaps more signs..

    He will sign bath independantly and teeth (2 favourite things to do)
    he will sign something to milk, eat, up, down and car when i verbally say them
    He will follow the sign for drink, biscuit hat and more
    We are currently working on finished, wee and poo..

    It's VERY exciting to him progress so fast..I have been working harder on it lately and the rewards are coming back..

    Anyone else had any progress? Are you doing the classes Nell?

  9. #9
    BellyBelly Life Member

    Aug 2003
    Karingal, Vic

    Katanya - well done on teaching Felix to sign! Sound like he is doing a fantastic job.

    Just a slightly different angle - side step maybe - on this subject. The secondary school that Matthew & Joshua go to has a large deaf facility. As this is their first year at this school it's all quite new to them. Matthew (14) has been learning bits and pieces of sign language to communicate with friends that he has made at the school and is considering taking Auslan as a subject next year. Of course he has learnt the standard words that all teenages want to know first in any language (at least now I know what he's saying/signing!) but he was telling one of his friends about Jacob and she suggested he learn a few word to use with him. They set up a webcam on MSN and she showed us a few things like hungry, tired, cuddles, mummy & daddy and offered to make a CD for us of her signing a few other things so we could remember how to do them. Matthew came home the other day and was playing with Jacob and was asking him if he wanted his "bug" (really cool Lamaze toy!!) which is his favorite. Each time he was saying & signing "bug", Jacob looks at the bug and smiles. After a few days Matthew has stopped saying "bug" and just says " Does Jacob wants his" and signs bug. Well blow me down if he's not looking at the bug smiling!
    Ok he's only 4 months old and this just maybe a fluke, but I thought it was great that Matthew took the time to learn something to teach his baby brother. When I spoke to Matthew about it later on and asked him why he decided to do it he said, if he had known a little sign language or an appropriate way to communicate with hearing impaired people when he started at his new school, it would have made things easier for both him and his new friends to talk to each other. By the time Jacob is ready for secondary school, and if he goes to the same one, he will hopefully have an advantage in communicating with everyone.

  10. #10
    katanya Guest

    oohh Nat that story gave me the warm fuzzies You boys are amazing kids to be so perceptive and open to this (you must be doing a great job raising them)

    Signing is a great secondn language to have, i can sign anbout 50 Makaton signs(simplified Australian Sighed english) because I work with children with disabilities and finger spell, but put me with a deaf person and I have heaps of trouble, I can communicate slowly but find it hard... The type of signing I do you use with the spoken word and to reinforce things to Autistic kids..

    This is such a great outcome of intergrated schooling systems, kids learning off each other..very cool..thanks for sharing!

  11. #11

    Nov 2004

    There's a segment on Today Tonight on baby signing, dont know if all the states have the same segments though... think its on tonight or tomorrow. Ill update when i watch it.

  12. #12
    Annie Guest

    I did baby signs with Quinn starting when he was about 9 mos old, and he very quickly learned some helpful key ones: eat, bottle, all done, more. It's incredible how much less stressful it is for both baby and mama to be able to have an actual request. Most of the time we know when our kids are likely to be hungry, but there were times when he was in a growth spurt or upset about something, and he'd ask for a bottle and be so gratified to get what he wanted. We expanded to include "help" for when he needed help with something, "open" and some fun ones, like "snow" and "dog." In my experience, having these signs dramatically cut down on his frustrations.

    Also, I don't know if you've wondered this, but I've heard that kids who learn signs as babies don't tend to talk late or anything, and certainly Quinn's verbal vocabulary is very large for his age. As he leared to say the spoken words for things, he slowly dropped the signs, though he went through a stage of using both sign as word (as I always did). Interestingly, he still uses the sign for "open," which I think is on purpose, as his spoken word sounds like "uh-oh," and without the sign, I don't know he's asking me to open something.

    I'd highly recommend taking the classes! Good luck,

  13. #13
    katanya Guest

    Shannon I would try to follow the baby signs as close as possible, but you'll find she interpretes them in her own way, the great thing about her signing baby sign or makaton is that she'll be able to communicate to people outside her family (some childcares are using the baby signing now) and hospital etc..

    Felix signs Milk(boobie) with 2 hands despite me teaching him the one handed sign, I think it must be his enthusiasm for the subject

    I have started on car thsi week, he really is coming along well..I am so proud of him.

    Annie I work with children with autisma nd use Makaton with them, they have done studies that the children are more likely to communicate using sign that without (this is children with a developmental diasability) but I think the same applies to "normal" children. Their hand muscles develop so much faster than their facial muscles and so even though they c=know the words they may have difficulty saying it.so signing it they can say whatever and sign it and make themselves heard..

    I wish I'd started earlier and been more into it because just the few months we've been really working on it and he's come so far I think wow I wonder how many signs he'd have if we started ages ago?

    Of course I have to say, he sees signing every second weekend with Adala(austic child I look after) and so has been exposed to the language more thatn the average child

    I have had to modify the baby signs to mix with makaton (use this with adala) otherwise we'd be using 2 differnt signs for the same thing in our house) baby sign is 60 % makaton anyhow..

    god luck everyone with it..it's such a worthwhile skill,a nd I igure since Felix can't lean a second spoken language then this is a great way to enhance hi language potential too..

  14. #14
    BellyBelly Life Member

    Nov 2003

    How is everyone going with this?

    I intended on starting signing with Kynan when he was 3-4 months just to get into the habit of it but time kind of got away from me so I've only been doing 1-2 signs and rather inconsistently LOL. In the last week or so I've started getting into it more so hopefully I'll be able to stick with it!

  15. #15
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW

    Matilda is talking more :shock: atm but she still uses her sign for finished & hungry & more but thats about all. She's talking heaps now, today she refused to eat & said cheese, so we gave her a piece of cheese & she gobbled it & then said bickie, so with her talking its heaps easier now, but she will still use some signs when I ask her "are you finished?" She will either sign finished or more.

  16. #16
    BellyBelly Member

    Sep 2004
    South Burnett, QLD

    I'm just about to start signing with Hannah (been very slack). I have the "tiny hands" baby sign language book (which is based around Auslan). For the girls who've been doing this for a while, which words did you start with? What's the best way to decide which signs to focus on at first. I've started with "breastfeed" so hopefully Hannah will learn to ask for a drink when she's hungry/thirsty. I'm wondering what else she might be motivated to learn...

  17. #17
    BellyBelly Life Member

    Nov 2003

    I've been thinking about getting the tiny hands signing pack. Just trying to decide if it's worth it. I already have the Auslan dictionary and the book Baby Hands so I've been using signs out of those.

    ATM I sign milk, eat, and cat/kitty to Kynan (we have 2 cats and he's absolutely fascinated every time they walk past LOL). I think he might be starting to cotton on to 'cat' as this morning we did that sign a lot when the cats went by and after a while he started looking around for the cats when I did the sign. Gradually I'll add in things like more, mum, dad, play, bath, sleep, hurt, poo, wee, finished, etc.

  18. #18
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2004
    Outer Eastern Subs - Melb

    Angel where did you get the book from? And where do you plan to get the pack from. I'm keen to try this with Blake having read other people's sucess on BB, but I don't know where to start!