Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"...And now it is our favorite time, it's Signing Time..."

It is no secret that Andy, Fischer and I are huge fans of sign language for babies. We were sold on it as soon as Fisch signed his first words "all done". This was WAY before he started talking. He was a sponge by about 13 months and could pick up new signs really quickly. His vocabulary was quite impressive and he wasn't even talking yet! When he did start talking, he had a lot to say and could help us understand him by pairing his speech and signs. We had racked up a pretty hefty library fine and stopped getting the videos around December, by then he new approximately 250 signs (21 months old), we have just resumed watching the videos this month. Fischer still likes to learn new signs and practice old ones. He still loves to watch the Signing Time videos, and I love them too. Even though he can talk now, the videos help to expand his vocabulary. We love the music. Rachel (the woman in the picture above - that teaches the signs) writes all of her own music and it is really quite fun. We like to sing the songs and practice our signs in the car (probably not the safest idea when driving). The songs that I love the most are at the end of the videos during the credits. These are beautiful heart-felt songs about Rachel's daughters who both have disabilities.
This month Signing Time is highlighting the affects that their videos have had on children with Autism. Signing helps kids of all abilities and ages to communicate and that is a very powerful gift! Fisch and I went to the Signing Time concert this fall with some friends. The place was PACKED - actually doubly packed since most of the seats were occupied by a parent and a child. It was wonderful to see all of the little ones like Fisch and his buddies, and also all of the children with disabilities and hearing impairments. This series truly reaches everyone.
We borrow the DVDs from the library, but of course they sell them on their website. You can also watch Signing Time on PBS.
Here are a few articles about Signing Time and Autism:

Effective Communication with Children and Young Adults with Autism by Lisa Goldy

The Joy of Signing With an Autistic Childby Sheri L.

The Power of Sign Language Helps Children With Autism Create Meaning in Languageby Michele Ricamato, M.A. CCC

You may also be interested in a couple of American Sign Language (ASL) browsers on the Internet, both have videos demonstration clips for every sign:
ASL Browser

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