Archive for January 19, 2013


Kids Can Sign!

kid signKids Can Sign…..Kids Can Sign…..Kids Can Sign!!!! It’s like a chant because it is true!

I love to see little ones signing! It is astonishing at an early age when they have not formed communication (speech skills) but they can gesture (sign) word to express how they feel.

I am a child of deaf adults and I learned to sign at an early age. I remember signing more than I talked. As a matter of fact, I learned speech from my close family members, t.v. and the radio. I always tease thank goodness the radio and t.v. shows were a lot better at that time, who only knows what I may have learned if I listened to what was on t.v. today. Anything I needed I had to sign to communicate with my parents and siblings. I did not appreciate it as much as I do now. When I gave birth to my first child her grandmother taught her the signs she knows and still remembers at eighteen years old. I am thankful to my mom for giving us a gift that has benefited us in so many ways and moreover a gift that no one can take away. When my mom passed, she stopped signing as it was difficult for her to do without thinking about her grandmother. However, when you put her in a signing environment the signs flow from her hands as if it were yesterday. This proved to me firsthand that once you teach children they retain it especially if your routinely use sign language in their daily lives.

In general it has been said that children who learn sign langauge early on have less issues when comes to frustration, temper tantrums and aggressive behaviors. It also helps increases interaction between parents, educators and children.  Children also build self-esteem by making them feel capable and proud they are able to communicate. If we can start our children off on the right foot why not?

One of the best gifts to give our children and help them start off on the right foot with academics and training for future employment is the gift of being bilingual. There are several commonly used languages in our great country English of course next is Spanish and after that is American Sign Language as other languages rise and become more common, our children need to be bilingual in one of these languages, any popular language. I cannot think of a time where being bilingual has not been a benefit to me or my oldest daughter.  Teach your children ASL from birth and start them on the path to bilingual success.

There are resources below to continue your reading about the benefits of sign language and children.

Benefits of children learning sign language

Baby Signs

The benefits of sign language for all children

Benefits of Signing with your Child

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One of my students shared this story with me and my heart was saddened but I understood. This is a must read it is short but it made me think of how much I missed my twin brother. There were so many things in life we did together and when he passed away I did feel a part of me change and I always feel as though a part of me is missing.

In Belgium a set of 45-year-old twins who were deaf and becoming legally blind decided to end their lives together at a hospital, they felt they could not live the rest of their lives without being able to see each other.

Each us have our opinions of what we would and would not do. However, as individuals we have the right to make our own decisions. It is sad for a person to end their life but it reminded me of the bond between siblings. Also, that these twins were bonded by their multiple disabilities and had made a life together that they could not see living apart or without sight.

I think of how some siblings cannot be in the same room together. My thought is to appreciate the people in your life and the bonds you have created you never know when a decision or act may change your lives. A simple I am thinking of you or forgiving a situation to re-connect with family is all it may take. When we don’t have anyone else it is said we will always have family.

A link to the article is below:

Faced with blindness deaf twins choose euthanasia

The first experience of a mother and child is the flutter of movement in our stomach. At that point we realize that we are carrying life is in us and we are now responsible for another human being and within a matter of months he or she will be cradled in our arms. We look forward to perfection as we imagine ourselves counting all ten fingers and all ten toes, looking at eyes as wide as if they are smiling at us because they are familiar with our presence. When the time comes and we deliver our bundle of joy and perfection we can’t wait to teach them everything we know and have experienced so they can grow into the perfect healthy being.

Some people may think to themselves “I would never expect perfection just healthy” but what does healthy entail? All ten fingers and toes? Both eyes,hearing, a strong heart and lungs, and a sound and capable mind?
What happens when something is not healthy, normal or perfect like we want? How do we feel and what do we do?

The first moment your realize that your child does not respond to sound and may be deaf, what do you do? Create the sound again to be sure, think a hundred thoughts of what “if’s” or call your physician? You want to know what’s going on and when you find out your greatest fear/concern of your child being deaf is confirmed, you are speechless and cannot understand what happened. If you have never experienced deafness, the language and culture your mind is wondering what is it and what does it involve.

This may not be the experience for every parent but a number of parents have experienced this and looked to guidance for this situation. Deafness is not a disabling, limiting or negative experience with the right tools children can grow into the perfect and healthy beings you seek to raise.

Being deaf may be a challenge at times but not an obstacle that can’t be overcome. When you first find out your child may be deaf it is best to see an audiologist. However, commonplace now is for infants to undergo a hearing test for early detection of hearing loss. After the audiogram confirms the amount of hearing loss and the amount of what can be heard a decision may need to be made. Sometimes the hearing loss can be assisted with the use of hearing aids, or partially restored with a cochlear implant and the other end of the spectrum it may be too great of a loss and not be able to be restored. I am not a doctor but sharing information that I have encountered. It always best to seek a professional opinion as this blog is for basic informational purposes.

When you find out your child has a hearing loss seek all opportunities that may be best for your child however do not forget about seeking professionals in the Deaf community. The Deaf community can be one of your greatest resources. You can learn about the opportunities available to your child academically and socially, the language and culture. Sometimes parents listen to only one side “the medical side” and forget to listen to the “deaf side”. Your child can live in both worlds. Communication is key! No matter what it is important to find a way to interact with your child rather you focus on speech classes or sign language your child will need consistent interaction with language. I think it is great to teach children both speech and sign language but the choice has to what is best for your family.

There are mainstreamed school where they attend classes with their hearing counterparts and residential/day schools with programs geared for the deaf population. Employment opportunities are available to deaf individuals and it has been shown that there are successful deaf individuals activities, educators, lawyers, entrepreneurs and more…these individuals had support, faith and belief that they could be do what they put their mind to and they have accomplished greatness.

If you are seeking additional resources your local social service agency, medical organization and education system should be able to give your resources to point you in the right direction.

The thought for this blog is to remember that we love our children unconditionally and despite the challenges we may encounter we seek the best for them and encourage them to be their best. Always think of the word “ability” instead of “disability”.

“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.” Lady Bird Johnson, former U.S. first lady