This post was written by guest blogger Laura Green who blogs at All The Things I Used To Know and was originally published on 17th February 2015.
At almost 13 months now, Ted’s communication has taken a giant leap in the past couple of weeks…It is so exciting!
He now says Muma, Dada, Gdad, Nana consistently and makes lots of animal noises, this week he also started attempting car and more.
Ted’s communication is aided considerably by baby signing, the few words he’s attempting are amazing but they are not the extent of his ability to communicate because we sign too.
We attended classes with Jane of Little Bear Baby Signing, starting when Ted was 6 weeks old and from 6 months he started to sign back to us – the very useful ‘More’ at about 7 months was one of his first signs (after Milk and Aeroplane, obviously!)
It’s a slow process and at the start it does feel like you’re not making much progress (Jane prepares you for this and is honest and realistic within her classes which is massively helpful) but at about 4/5 months Ted started to smile when we did certain signs and he’d calm in anticipation of his needs being met once he saw us sign our understanding of what he wanted.
Our first big breakthrough was at 6 months when one evening, after a big bedtime feed he unusually woke screaming, nothing that normally worked was settling him until in his softly lit room I noticed him curling his little fist repeatedly…This means milk. I gave him some more milk and within 5 minutes he was contentedly snoozing away again.
At this point we really felt we’d found something special.
My husband attended a lot of the classes with Ted and loved going, he spends a lot of time with our son and his enthusiasm for signing with him too has been instrumental in its success as repetition and consistency really are the key.
At just over a year now, Ted can communicate when he’s tired, hungry or thirsty, he tells us if he wants more, if he’s had enough or wants to go home, he waves hello and goodbye, points out lights, the sun, stars and rain and shows us Cars, Aeroplanes, Lions, Bears, Bees, Monkeys and his current favourite Ducks (while carrying his bath duck around with him).
If you have a young baby and are thinking about groups, I cannot encourage you enough to look into Baby Signing – I’m positive life with a one year old would be a lot less fun and a lot more frustrating for us all if we didn’t understand a lot of what he was trying to tell us.
I hope this also helps to reassure parents that signing does not interfere with or slow down speech, it just aids the ability to communicate. Signs are always accompanied by the corresponding word and it means you understand your child as they attempt to say things, this gives you increased opportunities to model the correct pronunciation and reduce frustrations, for everyone!
Thank you Jane – what an amazing gift it is you give us parents!
(Editor) The following video is a more recent demonstration of Baby Sign Language and how it can benefit both Parents and Child.