Thursday, May 19, 2011

Serious About Signing

So, I have decided to get serious about sign language. I'm getting serious about a lot lately, huh? Coupons, giveaways, sign language. Well, I really want to learn sign language. I have a couple of different reasons as to why. First, one of my really close friends is deaf and I would like to be able to communicate with her easier in person. Second, I want to teach the kids sign language. It would be their first mode of communication, especially for Lil' Bean. Everyone says the sooner the better. So, I'll be starting a little late with Sweet Pea. I still think he will benefit from it. He's not saying a whole lot yet, so this could help us communicate. I also just think it would be great for them to know.

Now, I know this won't be an easy task. It's just like learning another foreign language. The only difference is this is completely with your hands. Some people may catch on quicker than others, but simple things can be learned rather quickly. I already know a few things. I know: cookie, toilet, yes, no, dolphin, baby, eat, up, down, please, thank you, love, A, E, N, M, and O.

I've been a little stressed out about how I'm going to be able to learn sign language. I surely don't have the money to pay for a tutor or anything. Well, thanks to the world wide web there are some great websites out there. One website I found that I really like is Signing Savvy. I really like this website because you can type in any word or phrase and it will show you how to sign that word or phrase. You can also go through signs by categories such as baby signs, numbers, colors, fingerspelling, animals, and more. Another great link is ASL University. You can access their self-study materials for free or you can choose to attend their courses for a fee.

With those links, I really think I can learn sign language. I may not become fluent any day soon. However, I can learn enough to begin working with the kids relatively quickly. To become fully fluent, it would probably take the average adult anywhere from 6 months to a year or more. If you're surrounded by the deaf culture, then you will probably learn a lot quicker. Unfortunately, I'm not. So, it will take me some time. I think it's worth it, though.

When it comes to signing with the kids, I also found three really great links to help. The first is Signing With Your Baby. I really like that website because it really motivates you. They even have baby signing videos on YouTube. You can also connect with them through Facebook. They're really helpful in telling you how to get started and letting you know what to expect from your child. They have a baby signing dictionary on their site as well as a ton of other links and resources. Aside from all of the information on their site, they also have a store on Amazon. Their store offers books, dvd's, flashcards, and more to help teach your baby sign language. The second helpful link I found is My Baby Can Talk. This website shows you all the baby signs for specific letters. You just select the letter and it will generate a list of words. Then you click on the word you want to learn and it will show you a short video clip on how to sign the word in sign language. The last helpful link I have found is Baby Sign Language. This website is jam packed with information. It has a dictionary, a wall chart, flashcards, and more. You can also connect with them on Facebook.

I'm actually pretty excited to start on this venture. I think it will be good for both me and the kids. I think maybe I'll set aside a little bit of time each week to study myself and then work with them. Have you ever considered learning sign language or teaching your kids? Want to join in on this venture with me?

Check out this pretty awesome video for the deaf. I really like the message in it. Seeing the quotes in the beginning are really upsetting, though. I can't believe how the deaf are ridiculed for something that isn't their fault.

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-Nikki Layne