God is my Director

Youth ministry, movies, no drugs and a variable amount of Rock ‘n Roll

Sing and sign – oh, go on

Posted by Martin on November 30, 2006

Sitting here with my 14-month-old son, who can’t speak, but can communicate. He only knows three words – ‘Mumma’, ‘Dadda’, and something approaching ‘banana’ – but he knows a lot more sign language. That’s right – real BSL sign language.

He’s not deaf though. He’s learned, and continues to learn, through this now-fairly well-known innovation called baby signing. If you’ve seen the movie Meet the Fockers, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about. Children learn to connect words to their meanings, and then to the relevant hand sign. ‘Milk’ is a squeezing action for instance; ‘no’ is a dismissive swipe of the hand.

For the last six months, my wife has been taking him along to baby signing classes, run by a franchised business called ‘Sing and sign’. It’s kind of like the earliest kind of school you can possibly send a child to. She sits in a circle with a bunch of other mums and babies, and they sing songs which use the signs. Now I have to admit, sceptical doesn’t cover how I felt about it. It sounded frankly ridiculous, and certainly for the first few months it appeared to be going completely over my son’s head. Which, considering his age, is acceptable.

But now, things have changed. Among lots of other things, he can tell me when he needs food, drink, a nappy change or a sleep. He can tell me if he’s in pain, and show me where that pain is coming from. All those things that frustrate babies into regular bursts of tears because they can’t communicate. But he can communicate, so he doesn’t get frustrated, or upset. It’s brilliant.

I sit watching a DVD of a typical sing and sign class, most evenings. He’s addicted to it, and has even worked out how the DVD player operates in a desperate attempt to watch it even more. My brain is melting from the repetition, but he positively thrives on it.

[Visit www.singandsign.com for more info and to learn their ‘signs of the week’. Go on, you know you want to.]

3 Responses to “Sing and sign – oh, go on”

  1. Amanda said

    Sounds great… may have to see if it is running in the area. I am getting pretty good at working out when Daniel is hungry though!

  2. Michelle said

    Its great to hear signing sucess stories. I was wondering if you would like to add your comments here:


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