The beauty of sign language

Because my children are deaf, chances are they are going to be behind academically compared to non deaf children of their age. This is fine. One, because they are deaf. And two, because I didn’t have any academic aspirations for them anyway. I’m one of those ‘as long as they’re happy’ mothers.

However, saying that, I am about to be one of those ‘my child is a genius and much cleverer than anyone else’s child’ mothers. I am sorry and please bare with me.

Sign language is freaking awesome. Awesome because it allows my children to communicate. But also awesome because it would allow any child to communicate before they can speak. It’s as simple as the fact that the muscles in the hands and arms are bigger than the muscles in the mouth.

So, right now, Harriet’s friends are starting to speak. Except they aren’t. They are frustrated and cross and throwing tantrums left, right and centre. They have maybe one or two words. Harriet has over 20. Don’t get me wrong, she had no qualms about throwing herself on the floor and busting out a tantrum if it suits her. And she can point and whine with the best of them. But she can ask for food, or drink, she can name the animals in the park.

Right now, she’s ahead of the game and ahead of her peers.

And, while I’m only concerned that she’s happy, I’m also a little bit smug about how clever and capable she is. Sorry.

image

Harriet’s words:
Fish
Bird
Duck
Chicken
Dog
Horse
Pig
Cow
Cat
Come
Ready
Daddy
Bath
Sleep
Hello/ bye bye
Please / thank you
Eat / food
Train
Baby
William
Bottle
Mine
Apple

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4 thoughts on “The beauty of sign language

  1. Love this!!
    We’re trying to teach Hugo signing too but it’s tough going. The hardest part is getting him to look at me when I’m doing a sign. If he doesn’t look then how will he ever learn the sign? Grrrrr!

    1. We have that problem too! If they don’t look they don’t get any language! Harriet’s picked it up much quicker than Will did I think because now we’re doing it around the house, to each other etc. That old classic learning technique of modeling. If they see you do it, they will do it too! Xx

  2. Hi, I’ve just found your blog and I wanted to just say that your children won’t necessarily be less academically gifted simply because they are deaf. There are many factors that will determine their academic prowess, but deafness should not be one of them. I am profoundly deaf and was partially/severely deaf as a child. I went to a Grammar school and University and most of the deaf people I know went to Grammar school too. Deaf people are the same as hearing people and come in all shapes and sizes intelligence wise!
    You are doing a fab job teaching your children to sign, it is the most important thing that you can do for them. If they are able to learn to speak later on it will be because they can sign. Signing will equip them with the confidence they will need to navigate the hearing world. I wasn’t taught sign as a child and learning it as an adult has proved more of a struggle for me. Signing will also give them the deaf identity that is so important to deaf people. The fact that your little girl is already signing over 20 words proves that she is already way ahead of other hearing children her age who have limited vocabulary and proves that she is far from academically gifted.

    1. Thanks for your comment, it’s much appreciated. I love hearing from deaf grown ups. It’s not that I think my kids are any less clever because they are deaf, quite the opposite. But statistically, deaf kids aren’t doing so well in school results. That’s all I meant. X

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