Radio Inspire

How To Learn Sign Language

Baby Sign Language – Charlene of My Smart Hands with Emma and her mom Melanie


Most babies at 9 months ask for milk by crying but Emma is
slowly learning there are other ways to get what she wants. Emma attends Sign language classes with her mother Melanie as part of a program to
help parents communicate with their pre verbal babies. With My Smart Hands the parents learn the
alphabet and basic signs through games like go fish asking for cards by signing the word on them. The idea is that
parents continue to sign at home and the babies eventually associate gestures with an object or action. Charlene Slaats-Gray is the Instructor for the London Chapter she says Sign Language reduces
the frustration of trying to communicate and it not only gets the hands working but the brain too. I believe in what I do. I believe in it because of what it offers; again back to the strengthening the bond and the frustration level and
things but primarily for the kid’s education.
That’s what it’s all about; it’s about giving these kids an early tool on learning how to communicate. Which again if you integrate books into it and you integrate music into it;
you know showing parents how to sign to a nursery
rhyme or giving them you know tips and tricks on how to do things that will ultimately result in helping a child’s education;
that’s all it needs. One rational I think for why parents and some educators have advocated the use of sign language in very
young children
is that we know their comprehension of language is far ahead of their production of language. So they understand a lot more of the world and of what we’re saying then they can actually produce and
demonstrate to us in terms of their own production.
At home Melanie regularly signs to Emma knowing it’s a slow process. You know they cry a lot and you don’t know if its there diaper or if they’re hungry or if they’re not feeling well.
So with the Sign Language as soon as they
start learning it they’ll be able to sign; you know hopefully diaper or milk, eat,
something like that so it’s nice before they can talk to be able to know what they want I am so happy that we took it; it was beyond what I expected. It’s been a wonderful class; I am so glad we
did it;
I am going to recommend it to everyone that I know because it is very helpful; they do a wonderful job! After lunch it’s time to lie down. Melanie says she plans to continue classes at the next level with My Smart Hands. Signing eases the frustration of trying to understand Emma.
Melanie also hopes it will help both of them communicate with Emma’s uncle who is deaf.
There have been small
improvements since they enrolled in the classes and you can see that Emma is beginning to understand the importance of some gestures.
After sucking on her bottle for a few moments Emma begins to squeeze and release her left hand doing the sign for Milk….I’m Alexis Brown.

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