Thanks to everyone who entered our contest. The winner has been selected! Katie from Toronto. CONGRATULATIONS! (Please e-mail me at email@example.com for details on how to claim your price).
I can’t remember what made me want to take baby sign language classes, but I was intrigued and jumped at the opportunity when Kyle was around 8 months old. I signed up for a class taught by Sharon Isaacs Weisz (who I also went to high-school with) through the WeeHands program (http://www.weehands.com/profile.php?id=94). Sharon is a Private Speech-Language Pathologist for children and adults in GTA and York Region, owner of Toronto Speech Therapy, WeeHands instructor and proud mommy of a successful WeeHands graduate! Sharon has graciously offered one lucky winner a free baby sign language course through WeeHands (see details for entering contest below). You can also find out more information about her services on her website: www.torontospeechtherapy.ca
When I first signed up for my signing class, I hadn’t heard yet about all of the benefits of signing with your baby. In fact, I was just looking for another activity to do with Kyle. As it turns out, the class was more for the parents than the child.
The class was taught at the Central Eglinton Community Centre which had a perfect indoor play area and mats for the babies to play / hang-out on while the moms learned how to sign. In our first class, we learned the ABC’s of (American) sign language. Probably not something that you will use with your baby, but good / nice to know either way. To be honest, I loved going home and
showing off practicing in front of my husband. Most of the lessons were taught through songs. The first songs we learned how to sign along to was called the “hello song”, which we did at the beginning of each class and the “goodbye song” which we did at the end of each class. We also learned how to sing the “ABC” song while singing and a few basic (yet all important) signs such as: milk, more, and eat. Yes, it was a lot to take in for the first class, but it’s amazing how fast and quickly you pick up the signs.
Of course, to make it work, you have
homework to practice these signs at home with your baby. According to Sharon, you have to repeat each sign at least 15 times a day in order for your little one to pick it up. For starters, I focused on more, milk and eat. The words that will probably help reduce Kyle’s frustrations the most. For us, it took almost 2 months until Kyle started to sign. It did take a while, and I can see why some people may give-up on signing but my advice is to hang in there. There is nothing more amazing or rewarding than seeing your child sign for the first time. It’s also a good idea to teach others who will be spending time with your child some of the basic signs. Both my parents and John’s parents were very keen on learning the signs so they could also communicate with Kyle.
Kyle’s first sign was “more”. At first, he only signed more for food. But now, he signs it for EVERYTHING!! (more trucks, more planes, more animals, more books… you get the picture). My favourite memory of Kyle signing is when he’d wake up in the mornings, he’d lie in my arms and without opening his eyes, he’d reach his hand up and sign for milk. It really was the funniest and cutest thing ever. Now, at 18 months, Kyle still signs. Kyle uses about 20 signs including: sleep, more, water, eat, milk, juice, all-done, airplane, cheese, peas, and Cheerios. His current favourite signs include airplane, ice-cream and sticker (which he made up himself).
The WeeHands classes are broken down into the following subjects each week:
Week 1 – signs to start with
week 2 – food signs
week 3 – family signs
week 4 – animal signs
week 5 – manners and support signs
week 6 – toy and play signs
week 7 – outside signs
week 8 – clothing and routine signs
After finishing the course (yes, we received a graduating diploma), I started to read up on the benefits of signing. Here are just a few in bullet points (sources: WeeHands guide and Superbaby by dr. Jenn Berman).
- Provides a means to communicate with your child before they can speak thereby reducing any frustration they have regarding their needs
- Sign language helps children acquire speech earlier and increases vocabulary
- Signing increases brain development
- Signing is great for a multilingual home as it creates a bridge between the different languages
(Open to Toronto and GTA residents only)
You might be the lucky reader who will win a free WeeHands course* ($120 value) taught by Sharon Isaacs Weisz
One (1) lucky reader will be selected at random on Friday April 20, 2012!
To enter, you need to do any or all of the actions listed below. The more things you do, the more entries you will have; and greater chances of winning Please leave me a comment at the end of my post (on my blog) letting me know what you have done from the following list.
1. Follow my blog (if you are not a WordPress member, you will need to enter your e-mail address to subscribe to my posts). Please leave me a message to let me know that you’ve done this.
2. Like this post (either on WordPress or FB). Please leave me a message to let me know that you’ve done this.
3. Click any of the social icons below the post to share (Facebook, Tweet, Pinterest and WordPress). Please leave me a message to let me know that you’ve done this.
4. Follow Mayahood Blog on Facebook. Please leave me a message to let me know that you’ve done this.
5. Check out Sharon’s website, and leave me a message to let me know something new your learned about speech and language milestones (hint: go to her “services” page / tab).
*Giveaway doesn’t include the cost of the WeeHands manual ($20 to be purchased at the first day of class).
- The wonder that is Baby Signing (amummysview.wordpress.com)
- Baby sign language opens up a world of communication (parentcentral.ca)