Monday, February 25, 2013

A Little Bit About Signing Time

I talk about Signing Time a lot here on the blog, and every week I get emails asking questions about this mysterious "Signing Time" that equals chocolate on Addison's list of favorite things.

Signing Time is a DVD series created by a mom who has a daughter who is deaf. This mom (Rachel Coleman) was concerned that her daughter's peers didn't have a fun, easy way to learn the language that her daughter (Leah) depended on, so Rachel created a way.

Signing Time features Rachel as the narrator, Leah (her daughter), Alex (her nephew), and Hopkins (an animated green frog).

Sometimes the screen shots are animated, sometimes not, sometimes they flash through a whole gallery of babies/children doing the sign being taught, sometimes they just focus on Alex, Leah, and Rachel. The kicker for us (that got Addison so hooked) is that Rachel is an amazing composer. She writes all the songs that she sings on each DVD.

In each segment she teaches a few new signs, and then she sings a song using all of those signs. These songs are simple, witty, fun, and super catchy. (Sometimes I lay awake at night with snippets going through my head on loop).

When Addison was about a year old, a friend of my mother's actually gave us quite a number of these DVDs. These DVDs are a little spendy (between $15-$20 a piece), so this act of kindness was huge to us.

Addison has never wanted to watch Sesame Street, any animated Disney DVDs, Barney, Mickey Mouse Club, or Dora. All she will watch longer for thirty seconds is Signing Time. Now she will climb up onto the couch, pull up a warm blanket, and sign along with the DVD all the way through (while requesting that snacks be brought to her here).

She learns best through repetition (and music), and these DVDs give her that while providing me a bit of a break.

A few months after she started watching them, Aaron and I were talking about a mouse up in the attic. I looked over at Addison who was signing something really passionately. I had to look up the sign because I didn't know what it was, and sure enough "MOUSE". A sign that never once had we tried to teach her but she learned from the DVD and then participated in our conversation. LOVE.

Some of our best mother/daughter moments have started with us sitting on that couch together, watching, signing, and singing along with the DVD and knowing what the other one is saying because we have Rachel as our translator.

At first I wasn't sure if I wanted Carter to learn Signing Time since I had heard rumors of children having delayed speech because they relied on sign instead of working on speech. But after watching him 1. pick it up anyway (from Addison) and 2. verbalize speech right along with it- I really don't think that is true. Carter has a really good friend (hi Zoe!) who has also learned a lot of sign language during her first year, and her speech wasn't delayed one bit. I'm calling it: rumor with no truth behind it.

The biggest question I get is which DVD to start with. This is tricky because your child might have a different favorite than mine. But out of all of the Playtime Signs, First Signs, etc ones- Addison's current favorite is Signing Time! Volume 10: My Day. This has taught her the signs for the routine that we do every day. "Wake up" "Get dressed" "Comb hair" "Brush Teeth""Time to Play" "Take a bath" "Go to sleep" etc. And of course there are rockin' songs to go along with it all.
Also, the Signing Time! Volume 12: Time to Eat is a favorite. There is a "silly pizza" song that your child may or may not request to watch one billion times.

Of course you could always start with the Baby Signing Time Volume 2: Here I Go DVD (also Volume 1). My kids aren't babies anymore, yet they still LOVE these. This one teaches basic signs such as "more", "eat", "shoe", "play","doll", "car". (While I type this, the kids are watching this:)
Potty Time - Dvd/CD is being watch around here a LOT lately. It makes flushing and wiping sound like a day at Disney. Seriously. The songs are kind of hysterical out of context, but the kids are captivated by them, and Addison has become obsessed with spending a lot of time on the potty and pretending to wipe. I'll take it.
And last but not least, another favorite is Signing Time Volume 4: Family, Feelings & Fun DVD . I requested this one for Christmas for the kids because we wanted to work on emotions with Addison. "Are you sad?" "Mad?" "Happy?" This is a really fun one, and covers a wide variety of topics (once again, with amazing songs)
We have not watched all the DVDs, we are not experts on this system, and this is not a sponsored post by Signing Time. I've just gotten so many questions on this lately, I thought I would share what has been big at this house.

Also:
1. The DVDs are short (30ish minutes). Don't expect an hour and a half long program even though the price might make you think that's what's coming. I like the shortness of them because it keeps me from letting the kids spend a whole morning/afternoon in front of the TV.

2. I have NO IDEA why Rachel puts colored stickers on her fingers. I have asked friends who are interpreters and they say this is not standard practice. I assume it's to help clarify which fingers she is using per sign? But I really don't know, and I am very curious.

3. These DVDs have truly provided a fun, easy way for Addison to learn sign language (and the rest of us too), so that when she chooses to, she can communicate ten times more than what she is able to verbalize. Signing Time has been a life saver around here. Although it hasn't solved all of our communication struggles, it has definitely helped fill in some of the gaps.

4. Even if your child doesn't have speech delays, this is a great way for your child to learn to communicate with someone who does. Addison's friends love to watch Signing Time with her. It is heartwarming to see their interest in something that is so important to Addison. (Also, I think the way the DVDs are put together help with this interest. Seriously, they're really well done and capture the attention of a small child quite brilliantly)

5. Rachel does live concerts. We have never been to one, but it is on our bucket list. Have any of you gone to these live concerts? Was it good?

I know that a lot of you already are into Signing Time with your kids (which DVD is your child's favorite?). But to those of you who don't and were perhaps confused at my frequent references, I hope that this clears a few things up.

If you have any additional questions- leave them in the comment section, and even if it's not from one of the DVDs that I have watched or is something that I know, probably someone else who reads this blog can help since I know a lot of you also use Signing Time with your kids.




Disclaimer: I am not paid to write this post and all opinions are my own, but I am an Amazon associate so if you purchase a DVD through one of these links, I do earn a small percentage.
Like peanut butter on the fingers of a curious toddler, this post is begging to be shared.

2 comments:

Leah said...

One of the special features on at least 1 disc tasks about the finger stickers. It's what I had guessed. It helps to see what each of her fingers are doing when making the signs. This it's so funny. I was thinking if doing a post on signing time this week especially after a week of round the clock episodes since were all sick. We are total st junkies.we've even give to a live show. Way before Cora was really old enough to care much.

Leah said...

One of the special features on at least 1 disc tasks about the finger stickers. It's what I had guessed. It helps to see what each of her fingers are doing when making the signs. This it's so funny. I was thinking if doing a post on signing time this week especially after a week of round the clock episodes since were all sick. We are total st junkies.we've even give to a live show. Way before Cora was really old enough to care much.

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