Baby Signing

December 11, 2007 at 12:55 pm

I’m not an expert in this field, but I tried to sign to my girls as soon as they were able to give me eye contact. Since babies’ fine muscles for hands will develop sooner than their muscle required for speech, baby signing will equip them with some means to communicate to us even when they are too young to speak the words.

I don’t believe the maids or myself can master too many signs, so I’d only picked a few signs which I think is important, such as, Milk; More; Eat; Drink; Sing; Pain; Scared; full (patting the stomach); and I love You; and I taught the maids the signs.

To help the girls associate the sign to the word, we do the sign when we speak the word.  Example : “Do you want milk?” When the word milk is spoken, we clenched our fist to sign milk. In the end, the girls may pick up the actual sign, or they may invent their own which is suitable for their little hands. The most important is, we are able to communicate with signs.

I pick up baby signing through these sites : 
Singing with Babies, just to get started
American Sign Language (ASL) Browser, which lists words alphabetically, and provide you with videos of each sign.

Zara signing More

An archive pix of Zara signing “MORE”

When the child knows you can understand her when she tries to communicate with you, she will try to communicate more. That’s my experience. So watch out for your child’s own baby signing, or babling which may mean something.

Just to share two incidents where baby signing helped save the day for us:
1st :
It was Zara’s 1st birthday, and at 3am that night, she woke up wailing. We tried pacifying her thinking it was just one of those nights. However, she kept signing “pain” while crying. We immediately brought her to the nearest A&E. She actually had very bad stomach flu, with bad stomach ache, purging and vomiting. We wouldn’t have known and rushed her to the hospital if she didn’t tell us she was hurting.

2nd :
The 2nd day Zara attended her class, she was still scared to be left in class. I told her we’d be waiting outside. On a few occasions, I peeped in through the opening of the door to her arts and craft class and signed “I love you” when she looked up warily. She nodded, and smiled, then went back to work. When she needed the re-assurance, she just looked up and I repeated the sign to her. It was like a secret code, calming her and making her feel good.

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