Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

We're trying to teach Oliver some basic sign language. Oliver, like most boys, will probably be a late talker. (He's only started babbling in the last week, and our pediatrician was nice enough to plant a seed of worry in our minds. He's not necessarily behind, but he's not ahead of pace, either.) In the meantime, we want a way for him to communicate with us, and vice versa.

There are plenty of books on the subject. I started reading Sign With Your Baby by local Joseph Garcia, which recommends using valid ASL signs rather than madeup "baby signs." Then I picked up a nifty set of sign flashcards at the local evil giant bookstore. The flashcards are odd. While most of them seem to have legit ASL signs, some of them are bizarre and don't resemble signs I've seen in any of the baby signing books. Thank goodness some genius posted thousands of ASL signs online, along with QuickTime movies to demonstrate how to make every sign. Now I can cross-check the flashcards with the real signs to see which ones are off.

I'll say it again: whoever created this website is an absolute genius. Super genius. There should be a MacArthur grant given.

I've started off with the sign for "more." It seems like the most natural sign, since we always seem to be guessing whether Oliver's still hungry of if he's just playing with his food. For lunch now, I put down three or four pieces of finger food (organic lunch meat, vegetables, tiny pieces of toast with hummus) and sign "more" at him every time he runs out. But he's figured out an easier sign. Every time he runs out of food, he just lifts up the empty bowl and shows it to me. I guess it works.

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