2006-07-20

Show Me a Sign

Our son is addicted to "Signing Time" - a set of DVDs for hearing babies and children that teaches basic American Sign Language (ASL). The program introduces ASL to assist with communication for pre-verbal infants, toddlers, and children with special needs - all of whom may be able to hear, but may not yet be able to communicate effectively with speech.

My husband and I have always had an interest in ASL, and since there has been so much in the news and recent research about teaching sign language to hearing toddlers, we had a wealth of resources to tap into. We tried a few different programs on for size: Sign2Me, BabyWordsworth, BabySigns, but Signing Time seemed to engage our son (and frankly, our whole family!) the most.

Our son squeals as soon as he hears the theme song, and we are convinced he has his first crush on the host of the program, Rachel de Azevedo Coleman. Whereas he can verbally speak only about 5-6 words, and with no consistency yet, our son uses over 30 signs and exhibits them when we least expect it. We sometimes observe him reading and practicing the sign for something pictured in the book - something he may not have seen in the video for days.

The other engaging factor about Signing Time is the music, written by Rachel and her father. My husband and I often find ourselves singing the songs all the time. We like the fact that the songs are accessible for children, but aren't' "simplified" - there are a range of song styles and acoustic instrumentation throughout. I also really appreciate the use of children singing much of the music, and the authenticity of the singing - even if the pitch might not be perfect all the time. It is wonderful that Rachel, who gave up her music career at first when she learned her daughter Leah couldn't hear her sing, went on to create something so wonderful with her talent. It should also be noted that Leah and her hearing cousin Alex do a fabulous job reinforcing the signs with lots of fun!

So if you haven't checked out Signing Time yet, you're in luck - it may be running on a PBS station near you. Or simply hack into our Tivo!

Be sure to check our the Signing Time Foundation, too.

2 comments:

BernieRA said...

Why am I not surprised?

So just how 'room' is this 'room'?

MapleMama said...

It is just so VERY room!! :)