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Old 03-12-2013, 05:04 PM
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Default Sign Language

I know that I will probably be blasted about this subject, but I was curious as to what you guys think. I have mostly 2 and 3 year olds right now and we do learn some sign language, but not much. I have had so many parents ask lately if I teach it. My problem with it is I have so many kids that don't know how to talk when they should most definately be talking. The one mom today picked up and immediately stuck the pacifier in her 2 year old sons mouth and right before she left, I was looking at another child and she said to me, "oh you missed it, he did please" (because he wanted something). I said "Oh I didn't hear him". She replies, "oh he signed it". I took the pacifier out of his mouth and said, "would you like to ask me?" He barely speaks. I literally make him ask me things. I ask him a yes or no question and he shakes his head. I say to him, say yes and he says yes. When asked if I teach sign language, I want to say, no I teach them to speak. I don't know what the facination with sign language is especially in children that should be learning to talk. It just seems like these parents are not encouraging speech. Can anyone give me your opinion on this?
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:28 PM
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I don't know why you think you would get blasted I think it's a great topic! I struggle with this to a point and think it depends on the situation, I teach basic signs to infants because they really can start to communicate faster and it's a great tool for this purpose when they are not developmentally able/ready to speak with words.

I have a DS with a severe speech problem and he also learned to do simple signs to communicate, now that he is talking we really don't use the signs because he can say the words. However, his speech is not very clear to people that aren't around him a lot and I have had people push me to use different devices to say the words for him. I have told them I am not against this discussion but I am also not ready to do it because he needs to be TALKING and using his words! IF he was so unclear that no one could understand him and/or he was throwing horrible tantrums etc due to communication problems then of course I would do it but that isn't the case and he is SO patient and always gets his point across eventually.

For the kiddo's you mentioned-if they do not have developmental delays then these parents need to keep the pacifiers OUT of their mouths and give them a CHANCE to speak! Saying "use your words" is IMO the right thing to do, constant narration, finger play, asking questions that require more than yes or no. This is what the parents need to be doing at home as well.

Sorry to go on and on...long day lol I will say one last thing, it's not always a cut and dry answer, I will be really interested to see what everyone else says. I worked for the state birth - 3 program and the majority of what I saw was speech delay and part of my job was writing IFSP's for these kids. There are so many things the parents could be doing to encourage speech! Signing is a great form of communication in certain situations but these parents should really be encouraging speech unless the child has a delay or is an infant.
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:37 PM
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Exactly NeedAVaca. I believe that the purpose of sign language was for infants that did not have the capability to speak. I have had 2 year olds that have said less than my kids at 12 months and that is not an exageration. Drives me out of my mind when they sit there and have that dang pacifier in their mouth at 2 years old and don't talk. I take it right out and tell them to tell me what they want and I don't care if the parent is holding the child or not. I am down to 1 with a pacifier and he only has it while he naps. I hate those things!
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:06 PM
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I am pro sign language but just like I did with the children that had some developmental delays we sign and say the word ast the same time.

paci comes out that is surely the realy problem not the learning signs.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovemykidstoo View Post
Exactly NeedAVaca. I believe that the purpose of sign language was for infants that did not have the capability to speak. I have had 2 year olds that have said less than my kids at 12 months and that is not an exageration. Drives me out of my mind when they sit there and have that dang pacifier in their mouth at 2 years old and don't talk. I take it right out and tell them to tell me what they want and I don't care if the parent is holding the child or not. I am down to 1 with a pacifier and he only has it while he naps. I hate those things!
This exactly!!
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovemykidstoo View Post
Exactly NeedAVaca. I believe that the purpose of sign language was for infants that did not have the capability to speak. I have had 2 year olds that have said less than my kids at 12 months and that is not an exageration. Drives me out of my mind when they sit there and have that dang pacifier in their mouth at 2 years old and don't talk. I take it right out and tell them to tell me what they want and I don't care if the parent is holding the child or not. I am down to 1 with a pacifier and he only has it while he naps. I hate those things!
YES !!! I have had a parent who STARTED teaching signing at 17months . At that point he should have been well on his way to verbally asking for things.

My mom and I go back and forth on this as she is more old school - and while I am old school about a lot of things I definitely have some new school attitudes. She isn't a big fan of signing because she feels it delays speaking. I like signing, for that small amount of time - normally for us it seems to peak from 10-16 months. But I always encourage the verbal version of the words more than the sign, and always say them when the child is signing.

We have never had a developmentally on-track child who clung to the speech instead of speaking. Speech is still far more effective than signing, so most of our DCK choose speech. Most of my DCK will just sign and say the word at the same time, once they are able to speak.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:03 PM
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So I guess that we do have the same ideas about this. I was afraid I was out in left field. I am just wondering why in the world this mom is clinging to this child signing. She says that he talks alot at home. Here, he rarely speaks unless I really push it with him, which I've been doing alot of lately. She says he was singing alleluia at home last week. If he can say that, then why in the world is she having him sign to me "please"? That's why as she was holding him I took the paci out and told him to tell me.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:31 AM
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I teach sign and love it, but my children also speak. you have to talk to them and if you dont, it really defeats the purpose. I would also say the paci is the problem.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Springdaze View Post
I teach sign and love it, but my children also speak. you have to talk to them and if you dont, it really defeats the purpose. I would also say the paci is the problem.
What are the ages of the kids that you teach sign to? I don't allow the paci when he's here except at naptime. Having said that though, he rips his bag apart as soon as mom or dad walk in and puts that thing in and when he comes in the morning he has it in his mouth, so I really find it hard to believe that he only has it at sleeptime at home.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:03 AM
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I start signing with all kids around 6 months, which is long before they are able to actually sign, but that way its integrated in their daily routines and its easier to pick up sooner. I did that with my daughter and she still signs but now accompanies it with the words as well. Her language is FAR beyond a 26 mo. She speaks and signs in 7-8 word sentences. I've also introduced it to older kids with delays and it really helps bridge that communication gap and allows them to transition into spoken language easier
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovemykidstoo View Post
Exactly NeedAVaca. I believe that the purpose of sign language was for infants that did not have the capability to speak. I have had 2 year olds that have said less than my kids at 12 months and that is not an exageration. Drives me out of my mind when they sit there and have that dang pacifier in their mouth at 2 years old and don't talk. I take it right out and tell them to tell me what they want and I don't care if the parent is holding the child or not. I am down to 1 with a pacifier and he only has it while he naps. I hate those things!
Yes! I did basic signs with my ds as a baby and spoke the word so he started signing the words, then signing and speaking the words, now (he is 21 months) he mostly just speaks the words but sometimes does the sign too. Also since he does not speak super clearly yet, I like it when he does both so I know exactly what he's talking about
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:33 PM
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My thought process is that by age 2, I think that they should be talking. From what I've read different places they should be saying over 50 words by 2. It's not even the sign language per se that bothers me I guess, it's just that this mother (actually I have 2) doesn't seem to be encouraging speech, but instead encourages sign language. That bothers me.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovemykidstoo View Post
My thought process is that by age 2, I think that they should be talking. From what I've read different places they should be saying over 50 words by 2. It's not even the sign language per se that bothers me I guess, it's just that this mother (actually I have 2) doesn't seem to be encouraging speech, but instead encourages sign language. That bothers me.
Send home a developmental checklist! Have it marked showing what is demonstrated while he is in care.

I just have a special feeling that he doesn't talk a lot at home like she is claiming since she instantly sticks a pacifier in and encourages the child to sign.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:44 PM
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Send home a developmental checklist! Have it marked showing what is demonstrated while he is in care.

I just have a special feeling that he doesn't talk a lot at home like she is claiming since she instantly sticks a pacifier in and encourages the child to sign.
That's what I think too, but both moms tell me that the kids talk at home. I know that they're BSing me when they say that the 2 boys only have their paci at resttime. The one is a dcb that I took his pacifier away because he was biting off the end. He comes in with it in his mouth, they take it out and put it in his bag and as soon as they walk in the door it goes right back in. So if he is having it on arrival/departure, then you know dang well they don't take it away when he's walking around at home. The other dcb only has it here at naptime, but same exact thing, he rips the bag apart and puts it in as soon as mom walks in. Then she wants him to sign to me while that thing is in his mouth. What would you say to her? Like I said, I take it out and say to him to "tell" me what he wants. Any other suggestions?
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Springdaze View Post
I teach sign and love it, but my children also speak. you have to talk to them and if you dont, it really defeats the purpose. I would also say the paci is the problem.
This is true. However, folks, the purpose of signing is to communicate with the deaf community. Teaching it to infants is great, and gives them a head start on communication, but it is not the "purpose."

Most of my kids can use sign language and have used it to communicate to deaf children and adults, to serve as translators for church or community services, and a variety of other times, as well as in their workplaces.
Sign language does not interfere with verbal development, unless no one is actually speaking to or around these kids. Pacifiers definitely can.

Sign Language and language learning
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:06 PM
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Sign language may have started for the deaf community but has long been used by speech therapists for children with speech problems, there are kids out there that have severe speech disorders and while they are not deaf it's the only way they can communicate.

For this mom I might say something like..."sign language is not intended to be a substitute for speech therapy, since DCB is not using his words and hitting his developmental milestones (hand her a milestone chart with the areas you are concerned with) it's time for you to call the local birth-3 program (hand her the info) to schedule an evaluation. Early intervention is so important and we obviously want to set DCB up for success and get him all the help he needs."
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:48 AM
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I teach some basic sign language to my 3/4 yo's...not to communicate in the day to day world, but just as an introduction into another way to communicate.

If it's a child who's using a pacifier which the dcm wants to have taught sign language then she needs to take away the pacifier, not teach the child another way to communicate when they are capable of speaking, but cannot because their mouth is plugged.

I totally get an infant using a pacifier to satisfy the extra suckling they may need, but once they are about 1 yo it's going to impair their ability to want to speak as well as their ability to form words correctly in order to be understood.

IF I were going to use sign language as a method of communicating with a child who becomes frustrated because their needs aren't met when they cannot express themselves well, I would start it as an infant...and even then they would also be encouraged to try to annunciate words.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:28 AM
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of course speaking and signing doesnt defeat the purpose of it when using for the Deaf community, but it does when you are teaching a hearing child. signing and not speaking or expecting a hearing child to speak is like letting a child point and not talk. i see that as a bigger problem than signing. some parents have to be reminded to talk tol their children and when you sign AND say the word, it encourages purposeful speech with a child. I never teach a sign and not say the word also.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:39 PM
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In my past nanny life (ha) and when my son was born, I signed from infancy, but whenever I sign I also speak the word. My son, 3, to this day will say the word and sign it at the same time, mostly the sign he signs and says is please. My nephew who is 2, only signs and hardly speaks. Usually for me though, as long as a child babbles and can understand what I am saying or asking I do not worry if their speech is "slow."
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:52 AM
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Sign Language is a totally different language. You are teaching your children to be bilingual. Nearly all bilingual children are delayed in each language because they are trying to learn two languages, BUT studies have shown time and time again they catch up and surpass children who never learn a second language. It's no different than teaching a child spanish or french from birth. To say that people shouldn't sign so they can speak, is the same as telling any bilingual child not to speak in Spanish and only English.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:19 PM
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My disabled son signed to me until he finally was able to speak (he was 3) he signed along with the words. I don't know what we would have done without sign language until then.

I'm a big believer in it and I teach some to my dc kids. The ones who aren't verbal can now express themselves and the ones who are can communicate with them and they think it's fun. Win/win.

The paci needs to go and then I'll bet that the child will start speaking with the signs.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:53 AM
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My son uses signs rhat I taught him because he can't talk yet. He is 18 months and can sign two word sentences . However, I have always spoken the word along with signing it. And I speak to him ALL the time! I am constantly talking to him, asking hom qurstions, giving him directions. He has shown me how smart he is and that he can follow sirections and understand So much just from the use or listening to me and being anle to communicate with me.
There would have been so many times that I would have missed him being hungry/thirsty, being finished pottying (yes hes almost potty trained, we did EC),or finished eating or when he wanted to play outside etc...
I would have never known he wanted those things.
I am all for signing WITH speaking to the child. And I beleive tou can't for e them to talk any sooner than they are capable, so there is mothing wrong with doing signs until then (with speaking them to the child) .
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:30 PM
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I also teach simple sign language to my daycare kids. The main two I think it benefits are my two that are under two. They sign for hungry, drink, tired, play, book, etc. about ten things total. Half of them feelings like happy, sad, upset, etc. neither children are extremely verbal yet but are developmentally on track for their age group. I've been watching both of these girls for about four months and I can tell you, it is already making a difference. Neither get frustrated when they need something.

Of course, some may argue it has no real benefit, but certainly wouldn't think it could hurt. Knowledge is power right?
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