Language Take-Off!

After three weeks at TSD, it's amazing to see the new language development in both boys!  We can tell they are chatting all day with their teachers and peers.  I will actively work on capturing a video of their conversations next week.  In the meantime, here are a few changes we've noticed:

- adding "want" to his requests -
Normally, he would point at something, such as his red Power Ranger mask, and sign, "POWER-RANGER MASK, RED."  Often, he'll add a fussy face or sound to his request.  Now, more often than not, he signs, "POWER-RANGER MASK, WANT!"

- saying "mine" instead of using first person for everything -
Where he's always pointed at items, then signed, "TRAVIS" to mean, "That's mine," he is now signing, "RED MASK, MINE."

- putting together longer sentences -
As I had blogged earlier this week, Travis is putting together 3-ASL-sign sentences, which is equivalent to a 5-8-word English sentence. One example is, "SOON DAD PICK-ME-UP," or "NO TOUCH! THIS SNAIL MINE."
Good pizza is serious business!

Playing with his silly Pappy!

(Click here for more pictures from August)
(Click here for more pictures from September)

Today, I told him to tell his teacher "goodbye."  He signed, "GOODBYE, SEE-LATER."

Travis likes to be the one in charge.  He certainly likes to get his way.  He is still hanging on to his obsessions.  He must have the red mask.  He must have the blue glasses stamp at school.  He must have his rocket blanket with him at bedtime, but refuses to cover up with it even if he's cold.  He must have his food a certain way, his bed a certain way, his car seat just so.  He must get his own paper towel to dry his hands in the bathroom.  He must put his backpack in the back of the trunk himself.

Ken and I feel like we allow many of these obsessions when they are reasonable, but his worst fits will come when we don't allow him to get his way regarding an obsession.  For example, if he wants a particular color of spoon and it's clean and readily available, we are happy to exchange his for the color he happens to want that day.  (Often either red or blue, but you never know.)  However, if I gave him his red spoon, which happens to be his favorite, and he throws it on the floor, demanding a different color, he doesn't get his spoon.  Also, if the spoon he's asking for is dirty or not where we can easily find it, we will not search the house for it.  We feel he needs to learn that he will not always get what he wants.  It's healthy for him to know life WILL go on even if he uses a green spoon when he wants a red one.

It's a joy to witness his language grow every single day.  Each day, he's able to add more detail, tell us more of what happened, ask more specifically for what he wants.  He still has a long way to go to be  linguistically "caught up" to his peers, but for a kid that missed the first three years of language development and that's only had language for a little over a year, he never ceases to amaze us!

Tian continues to make strides in both ASL and spoken English.  He often speaks in more-like-ASL grammar, but will also add English articles to his sentences.   He still loves saying, "What the....?" and "What the heck?!"  Another English sentence we often catch him saying is, "It's right there!"  In ASL, this is expressed as an indexed pronoun....just one ASL sign...but he will say the entire English equivalent.  

Tian, snuggling and being silly with Nana.
He also has code-switching down pat!  When talking to a hearing person, he will sign and talk at the same time.  When he turns to Travis, his daddy, or other Deaf person, he immediately shuts off his voice, sometimes whispering words under his breath, and signs ASL.  Today, I even caught him making the common sounds that are often a side-effect from ASL mouth morphemes.  I must add that I'm so glad he signs!  Even though his spoken English is good, I often don't understand what he's saying, so ASL sure makes life easier for us all.  It's fun to see all of this language assimilation!

- New today, signing "which."
Tian was asking Ken which swimsuit he would take to school and signed, "WHICH SWIM(suit)?"

- In the mornings, while getting ready for school, Tian will often ask, "WHERE SHAYLA?" (his classmate) Then he will answer himself, "at SCHOOL!"

- Not only is Tian explaining what happened in the recent past, but lying and blaming others for things he did.
Just tonight, I noticed two toddler-drawn-with-pencil "e" shapes on the couch.  I asked Tian, who historically draws on walls and furniture, if he drew on the couch.  He immediately answered, "NO. TJ."  When I told him I knew TJ didn't do it, he switched scapegoats and said/signed, "TRAVIS."

Tian is also talking about school and home, differentiating locations. 

Both boys are enjoying books more and more.  The are developing longer attention spans.  Tian will sit through as many books as we are willing to read.  It's a good thing there are 5 readers in this family and Tian is fortunate that his siblings love reading to him.  Travis used to barely sit through 2 pages if it wasn't a picture = one word book.  Now, Travis enjoys an entire story, then asks for more books.  Pretty soon, I'll blog about the different ways we read to each boy.

Both boys are also recognizing the letters of the alphabet!

All of these milestones are reassurance that the boys are thriving at TSD.  We're so thankful for the school, staff, and teachers!


  1. I love that you're updating so frequently again! It's really fascinating reading about the boys' language development.Thanks for this little window into your world!

    1. Thanks, Penny! I'm trying to post with more regularity! :)

  2. So, so happy that things are going well and that you all feel so at home in Austin! I'd love to see pics of the house when you get a chance. :-) Miss you guys but am thrilled that you are exactly where God wants you at this season!

    (But I still hope you all get to travel to Italy sometime in the next 3 years. :-))

    1. Traveling to Italy would be a DREAM! We'd love to see you and we could finally visit the Isle of Capri!

  3. Hi Sarah ... I have been reading your blog and I fell in love with your family. Im currently studying Deaf education and I dont agree with my university belief system. I see you are homeschooling your kids, I have some questions that I would love if you could answer them. can I get your email? or you can write me: ... thank you!

  4. I stumbled across a video when I was trying to search "how to sign where in ASL". Your family is unbelievable, full of love, and a type of family I aspire to grow one day. I took a year of ASL four years ago, and now I'm starting to lose it. I was working at the hospital when I came across a deaf couple with a hearing child. I was so frustrated that I couldn't use my asl knowledge because I have completely forgot it over the years. Your little boys are helping me pick up where I left off. Thanks for the inspiration and the joy you brought me this afternoon.


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