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August 07, 2005

FYI: Sign language for infants

When I first read about sign language for infants I thought it was silly. The idea of infants learning sign language sounded to me like a complete waste of time.

Boy was I wrong.

Jack is closer and closer to forming words with every day that passes but most of the key concepts are already there in the sign language that he has learned. Jack is now, at 13 months, capable of communicating some of his needs. Jack can ask for something to drink or eat, say he's done eating, tell us he's tired, express affection and about a half a dozen others that I've forgotten.

It's still a pretty limited vocabulary but it keeps Jack from getting frustrated at our lack of understanding what he's trying to "say" to us. The sign for "all done" at dinner time alone is worth all those hours of teaching it to him. (It's pretty funny to see Jack give us the two handed "all done" when he's really fed up and wants out of the high chair.)

I joke about teaching Jack the sign for "fetch dad a beer" from time to time but that's me poking fun at myself. Jack's proven to pick this stuff up pretty quickly and it's fascinating to witness. Raising a child is about watching things come in stages and communication is one of the most important. It's astounding to watch kids as they go through the learning curve.

If you're expecting or planning at this point take the time to look up some of the books on infant sign language. At 2:00 a.m. when your child is crying you'lll appreciate any tip in the right direction and a simple sign for "milk" may mean the difference between going to bed sooner than later.

Posted by Jim at August 7, 2005 11:33 PM


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