Growing By Leaps and Bounds

Language, I mean.  Their language astounds us every day.

I'm posting these videos to show parents (and plead with those parents) who have deaf kids that it's never too early nor too late to start signing with your kids!!  The sooner, the better, but if you're a parent who, for whatever reason, chose not to sign with your kids, it's not too late to start.  You may be scared when you hear that there is an optimal "language window" from birth to 4 or 5.  You may feel nervous that you've let that window pass while chasing an "oral dream."  Don't be nervous!  Just start learning.  Start signing!  Start giving your child access to language.  They can certainly work on speech and hearing as they grow, but don't deny them language NOW!  :)

Here is Travis.  At three years old, he had NO language.  After four months with us, he's "re-reading" the book I just read to him.  Sorry about the poor video quality.  I was filming this at night in a dark room as the boys were preparing for bedtime.   As for the jarring bumps, that's Tian, hitting my arm, trying to get my attention to watch what HE's signing.

Here's what Tian was doing.  Tian can hear and will speak, but prefers signing right now. He's just 28 months, but can name everything in this book.  He's not just regurgitating.  Both boys use these words (and over 200 more) in context every day.  And this is after just four months of exposure to ASL.


  1. They are doing so well, Sarah! It's incredible how fast they have learned! We've found signing to be so helpful with our hearing children, I can't imagine NOT using it with a child who is deaf. Our bio boys loved signing as toddlers, and it didn't interfere with their speech development at all. Ellie loves communicating with signs - it has really helped, considering the speech and language challenges she has. I love the look on her face when she uses a sign and sees that we understand her. And I still use signs like "STOP" with our oldest - so much better than yelling across the room. :) In any case, the benefits of bilingualism are well-documented. I just see it as another form of that, even if children will also communicate with speech. Wish I knew more ASL - and Mandarin. :)

  2. Looking at this, I'm struck by the fact that I don't have a clue what he's saying - which was exactly his reality in the hearing world before he knew how to sign! As Beth says, how could you NOT do it with a deaf child?!?

    I remember reading an article in a parenting magazine about parents signing with their (hearing) children. One mom said she had taken her 18mo to feed the ducks in November but discovered they weren't there. Right as his lip started quivering, she signed "Too cold. Gone away." He immediately stopped crying. What's not to like about having you and your kid able to communicate?

  3. It's amazing to me that these boys can "talk" so well after only being here for 4 months! You are an awesome mom to these boys! They are so blessed to call you mom!


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