Last night, as we were finishing up dinner, I noticed Ken and Travis visiting about some of the China photos they were viewing.
This map, along with another map showing us flying east to China, was one of the photos they were looking at. I started recording the video when Ken was explaining who flew TO China, then who all flew back to the USA.
In the first segment of the video, Travis is mimicking everything Ken signs which, in this case, is each of our names. Hearing kids do this same type of mimicking when they learn to converse. (At this point, Travis knows all of our names and can identify each of us by name. He can also identify a number of other people by name or title.)
After scrolling through a few more photos, then returning to the map again, Travis points at the map and happily states, "Travis!" Travis was on this flight! Ken corrects him. I love the look on his face. You can tell he totally thought he was stating a fact. So he tentatively asks, "Tian?" Was Tian on this flight?
Ken answers, "No," then shows Travis the photo of flight home from China, explaining, "Travis and Tian were on THIS flight home."
In the second segment, the were looking at a picture from several years ago, so Ken tells him it's an "old picture." "Picture" is a new sign for Travis, so Ken helps him express it correctly. Compared to parents with hearing kids, this is just like helping them correctly pronounce a difficult word. (You'll also see TJ in this clip! He was telling us that Tian had to potty and so I told Tian to "run!" to the bathroom. :) I removed the sound, because in a family of 7, there's a lot of noise!)
In the third segment, Ken and Travis are looking at photos Ken took that day while he was on the tarmac in the airplane. They're looking at the planes waiting at the gates. Ken was showing him which plane was small and which one was big. Right now, Travis can sign these words, but doesn't grasp the concept 100% yet. By watching this conversation though, I can tell he's very close to the light bulb moment of understanding "big" and "small." I can also tell he knows that they are opposite, because when he names the plane "big" and Ken tells him no, he corrects himself, signing "small." (I love these insights into his brain process! We wouldn't have these without ASL. We'd be stuck gesturing, mouthing words that look like nonsense to Travis; and we'd have one very frustrated little boy.)
I love the last clip. This is a conversation Travis knows well and understands without thinking about it. We've been asking him since China if he wants more to eat. He knows when he doesn't want any more food, he answers "no." Here, he even adds, "Finished." Now that he knows those concepts, Ken adds one more word that means the same thing as "No, I'm finished eating." "FULL." Then Ken tells Travis he's getting up to get coffee (another item Travis is fully familiar with in this family)!
I'm going to purpose to record more conversations. Travis is ready to work on learning to identify numbers, so I'll try to get some of that learning on video. We know he's ready because he can count to 10 and when he looks at a number on a page, he will begin signing random numbers, although not the correct number. He does the same thing with letters. When he sees a letter, he begins signing "B."
It's been a while since I taught preschoolers, but it's time again! Thanks for sticking with me through this explanation. The acquisition of language fascinates me, plus I happen to adore these two guys in the video, so you'll be seeing more of this!