Friday, May 21, 2010

Sign of the times

Today Hayley is 15 months old. In some ways it feels like it's been a lot longer than 3 months since her birthday, but seeing how big she is just boggles my mind. We are full on into toddler country now. As some of you know, effective communication is one of the biggest issues when dealing with toddlers. To help with that, Hayley and I took a 5 week course in sign language (specifically ASL) at our local community center. The format was pretty simple; basically it's just a teacher (certified in ASL) showing the parents some signs each week while the kids play. Upon completion of the course, I know about 50 signs (including people, animals, colors, vehicles and more) as well as the alphabet. At this point, for any more signs I might want to learn and/or teach to Hayley, I can just refer to our old friend the internet.

One of the things the teacher explained right away is not to expect too much from our children. It can take anywhere from weeks to months for a young child to learn just one sign and there doesn't seem to be an established system for teaching them. The only thing you can really do is to consistently use signs while talking. So that is what we're trying to do, although it can be tough to remember to do that.

The first week of the class, we learned the sign for "more" (among others) and it's a sign that both Miranda and I have been fairly consistent with in usage. Hayley surprised us both a couple weeks ago when she actually did the sign on her own. She still does it occasionally and this was my attempt to capture it on video:

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