Monday, 21 January 2008

We all use sign language



Did you know that the custom of knocking on wood to ward off bad luck originates in the belief some cultures have about the spirits that surround us?

Forming a circle with the thumb and index finger touching and other fingers point up (meaning OK): In Brazil, it is an obscene gesture.

We all use gestures all the time (but so be careful when travelling abroad as they might not mean the same thing!)

Sign language is not universal, there are many different forms. Here in the UK we mainly use British Sign language and Makton. Even though gestures have been around for centuries, sign language has not be around that long.


I use basic Makaton with C just to reinforce single words, a whole sentence is too much for him. When C was young I bought him a Nursery Makaton video which was a great hit and he wore out 3 tapes!!

The “in thing” here is to take your baby/toddler to baby signing classes. My sister took me to a class with my young nephew so I could see what it was all about! I will refrain from passing comment!!!

41 comments:

motherx said...

I am thinking of doing a makaton course at Ws school. I know he can sign a little so Im sure it would be very helpful. I already use very dramatic sign movements with my hands when Im trying to make a point to him. Especially when saying things like "FINISHED" the hand signs really seem to help him get the message.

Jen said...

When my kids were first diagnosed the speech therapist had us all doing Signed Exact English...I still find myself doing it with them on occasion if I'm too frustrated or angry to be able to speak! For some reason the "All Done" sign is intrinsically satisfying :-)

My son still uses it occasionally, and it's one of the few times when I CAN be sure of what he wants as his language is pretty unintelligible unless you live with him every day. It's nice to not be in any doubts about what he means occasionally.

R.E.H. said...

I didn't know there were different kinds of sign language... always thought that was universal.

Love the baby flipping the bird pic. That's too funny!

Chris H said...

If your child has need of learning to sign... well then by all means! But if your baby can hear, talk and communicate 'normally' why would you want to teach them sign language??? I don't get it at all. I looked at that site , and the photos of babies/kids 'signing' and most of it looked like normal kids doing normal types of hand movements... or didn't I see it properly! derrrrr. Going to sleep now... nite nite.

Kelley said...

Boo and I use simple Makaton all the time. Before he developed language (still in the mitgated echolalia stage, but most people don't realise that they are talking to Spongebob or Jean Luc Picard!) I found myself using Makaton even when he wasn't there.

My friends still laugh about when I signed to a waiter to 'wait' to take my order!

Makaton rules!!!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Fascinating, Casdok. We learn so much from your blogs. Keep them coming.

Crystal xx

laughingwolf said...

no need, the baby sez it all ;) lol

katy said...

don't think i will use any sign language next time i am on holiday! thanks for the warnings!

Jodi said...

my eldest (9) was speech delayed and has sensory issues. when he was a toddler he developed his own sign language to use with the family. he had about 50 or so signs he used to communicate with us.

love our blog.

r.b. said...

I find myself using a form of Makaton with my (autistic) students all the time. While a teacher of typical kids might use words on the board when lecturing, I use drawings to help solidify ideas and help the kids to remember. "Visual reminders"...

The expression of the baby seems to fit the sign, and that's what's funny to me!!!

Club 166 said...

LOL!

We also have a pic of my son giving the middle finger salute, and we still have to sometimes remind his younger sister (now 5) which is the proper finger to point with.

I think signing is great. I had a cousin who had Down's syndrome, flapped, and had speech that was almost unintelligible echolalia. (I think it likely that nowadays she would qualify for a second diagnosis of autism) Her parents taught her sign language in the 1980's (they already had some deaf relatives) and it was amazing how much she could communicate. She went on to be able to work in a supported work environment, which she really liked.

Joe

Annieye said...

My daughter is a special needs teacher and a proficient signer. She decided to experiment on my grandson more or less from birth and now, at nearly three years old, he is really good at it, If she takes him into school with her he signs away to the children in her class - they think it's great. Em thinks it does children good to recognise diversity from a young age so that they don't discriminate as they grow up, so she takes him into school on Fridays (her day off) frequently.

titration said...

I just met someone who teaches kids to sign. I have no idea what I think about it. But people do seem to have opinions either way about teaching babies to sign.

PI said...

I was always afraid of offending in Greece as I tend to wave showing the palm of my hand - unlike our dear Queen.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog and I too was unaware that there was more than one kind of sign language. Hmmm... learn something new every day.

foam said...

i see it's never to early to use the middle finger ... lol.
thanks for visiting me.

Nicki Mann said...

You always have such interesting pieces of information on your blog!!!

deb said...

Katie chose sign language as her language. She had a teacher when she was three who used and Katie's first word was cookie. I'm glad we taught her how to sign, it gives her a language to think in and communicate in.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I started to learn American Sign Language when I went to summer camp to communicate with one of the students, it was great. BG

Christine said...

Sign language is a wonderful thing. I think that we as society use it more than we think. THe baby picture is too cute.

Almost American said...

Chris H asked why anyone would teach a 'normal' child to sign. A colleague at work convinced me to try signing with my first child. Dear Husband was very sceptical, but went along with it to please me. When I was pregnant with the second, I asked him if he thought we should use signing with baby #2. He hesitated for a moment, and I jumped right in accusingly with "What, you wouldn't do it?" His response, "No, what I was going to say was that we should start it earlier this time."

What we found was that both children were able to accurately express themselves with simple signs and it avoided an enormous amount of frustration. My daughter would often eat a little and then start pushing food off her tray. Once she could sign she was able to tell us, even though she could not yet speak, that she was all done with THAT rather than simply all done and she wanted something different now. Instant end to mealtime tantrums!

One time she was sitting in the bath talking to me about the bubbles and she signed 'airplane' without pausing in her conversation about the bubbles. I realized that she had heard an airplane flying overhead. I was amazed to realize that she had been telling me two things at the same time!

My mother was very sceptical too until she it in action. She was convinced that it would somehow hold the kids back from talking, but not a bit. They are both very articulate, and people often comment that they use "big words"!

A lot of people only think to try signing with kids who they already know have communication difficulties. I would say, why not try it with any child? It can't hurt, and if you give your child another avenue to communicate isn't that good? Plus later on they won't think people who sign are 'odd', and they will understand that different people use different languages.

Annieye said...

Almost American - I 100% agree with what you have just said - and three years ago I was a very sceptical granny about teaching babies to sign. It's absolutely marvellous and I wish I could have taught it to my children when they were babies.

slouching mom said...

the baby signing movement came along after my babies were babies no longer...but i've always been curious about it.

thanks for this.

Suzy said...

Never even heard of Makaton until now.

thank you for the info.

Love to you and C

Suzy

Jay Cam said...

baby signing movement? i have to say i've never heard of this! sounds interesting though, but how would it affect your child's ability to speak in the future?

Omega Mum said...

I think everyone should be taught to sign. If you had to stop and think before you said something, I bet it would improve manners and cut out violence. Imagine silent binge-drinking - a huge improvement, I'd have thought. Thanks for another thought-provoking blog.

Joan said...

My husband's goddaughter is currently teaching her toddler basic Sign Language and we all got to watch the video while she was visiting for the holidays. So now I'm proficient using the signs for "mother," "father," "milk," "play," and a few other ones.

Vi vi vi vooom!!!!!!!! said...

I like to creat my own signals to confuse people!

fintan said...

Why Makaton to autistic children.. as far as i know makaton is very basic language more to do with menatal disabilities rather than pyciscal.

I have an autistic son and I also know BSL (British Sign Lanuage).

he doesn't use it much now more of a speach which is a lot harder for me as i am Deaf.
Makes me wonder if he is doing this on purpose but as long as he is talking to me thats all it matters!

Josie said...

My daughter is a speech therapist, and she taught her little boy to sign "more milk" and other little phrases like that, before he could talk. It was amazing to see him communicating in sign language.

Ian Lidster said...

I love the baby photo. That's what I think much of the time, as well.

Chaoticidealism said...

Baby sign sure can't hurt. And it's probably easier to say something in sign when you are going to have a tantrum, than to say it in words. Probably helps those terrible-twos years a bit, to have that extra avenue of communication.

San said...

Talk about a picture worth a thousand insults. That sweet baby showing us what's what--priceless.

aspiemom said...

The moms w/babies are ALL signing. I think it's great! Wish I had done it, and my youngest will be 7.

Gosh, my youngest will be 7...

kimber the wolfgrrrl said...

We used signing with our clients in the assisted living program with which I worked, and after awhile, my husband (who also worked in the same sort of program, different company) and I just started throwing signs at each other in casual conversation. Hungry? Tired? Wanna go home? Sometimes, it made more sense to make the sign (quick, straightforward) than mutter a whole sentence (because yes, we are lazy).

misha_k said...

J didn't begin speaking until he was almost three. We used what I gues you could call our own version of sign language. He'd point at what he wanted and make noises, making little gestures too. Those took on a life all their own. He still uses the gestures every now and then when he doesn't feel like talking.

Wishful Mommy said...

Thanks for discovering my blog recently. i love your blog. it is a beautiful site. love this post - i am always learned. Also thought sign language was universal. The baby sign language classes are big here. I missed it by a bit. however, my aspie dd was talking in complete sentences at such a young age, that we were already behind! ha! But of course we had other issues right away. Thanks!

mommy~dearest said...

I've a degree in Sign Language Studies, but have never heard of Makaton either. Am curious. Will look into.

I tried Sign with Jaysen, but his Dr. said to stop- it was possibly supressing his speech (boy do I know differently now!). He doesn't use any Sign, but he responds to some signs. He will get very angry if I tell him "no" in Sign, reather than speaking.

MY OWN WOMAN... said...

I wish I would have learned ASL when I was an infant. I think any language gives an added dimension to one's life.

BBC said...

Whatever.

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