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Any recommended books, DVDs, websites, etc for parents wanting to use sign language with their (hearing) baby?

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@HedgeMadge: there may not be any difference between "baby" sign language and sign for the deaf, but the resources for teaching a baby versus deaf may be different. –  studiohack Apr 30 '11 at 16:08
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This question on Skeptics.se has some great information, and some discussion on resources. –  Beofett Aug 18 '11 at 13:32

8 Answers 8

We used Signing Time DVDs for our children and it's great. They have Baby Signing Time (which our toddler grew out of pretty quickly), and then just regular Signing Time. A 20-minute DVD is part of our 2-year-old's every-day morning routine, and she loves it. She doesn't think she's learning, she just likes to do Signing Time.

Our local library has quite of few of these DVDs, so we haven't had to buy any--we just cycle through. They are available for purchase online though.

We also use the video dictionaries at aslpro.com a lot, but this is more to help you help your child than to help your child directly.

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We found a book (not sure how widely available) called, not surprisingly, "Baby Sign Language, A Practical Guide to Signing with your Baby" by Alison Mackonochie published in 2008 by Parragon that I would recommend. It has big photos of how to do a fairly comprehensive list of signs. We have tried to teach our son some practical signs as well as some fun signs of things he enjoys so that he is motivated. We started with "More" and "All Done" as well as "Cat" and "Dog" for our family animals that he always seems tickled to see.

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We used and can highly recommend Sing & Sign DVD's - my son loved it.

In the U.K. there are also group meetings and an online resource.

"Sing and Sign's original and unique approach has revolutionised baby signing in this country. Everyone knows nursery rhymes and action songs are great fun and musical activities help stimulate language development. Sing and Sign combines the benefits of both music and baby signing."

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Here in Austria, there is the concept of a community college where the general public can enroll for specific classes on a wide range of topics. One such topic was baby sign language (which is completely different from deaf people's sign language!).

You can also ask your pediatrician or even the local library for references about such classes in your neighborhood.

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Good point. In my case, there don't seem to be any local courses, which is why I'm looking for DVDs or other resources. –  tenpn Mar 31 '11 at 10:05

This site has a video dictionery of ASL signs, but no direction on which ones to start with. I recommend starting with the word "more"/"again".

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Our daughter learned many signs on her own by looking at children's board books that showed the signs. Sometimes we would read the books with her and show her the sign and point to the picture on the page, but most of it she picked up on her own.

We just went to our library and got a few books in the board-books section that dealt with baby signs.

Here are some of them on Amazon:

These aren't really resources for parents to learn the signs - they are meant for the babies - I couldn't tell if that is what you wanted from your question.

I'm sure kids learn in different ways, so what worked for our kid may not work the same for everyone else...

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We used signs from around 6 months. They are from a community course and are baby-suitable adaptations of the German signing language. Here are the ones we use most, in the order in which we introduced them:

  1. Milk: hold a hand in the thumbs-up gesture and then open and close the four fingers several times. This looks like grabbing the bottle.
  2. More: hold one hand in front of you with straight fingers and let the palm face upwards, then point to the palm with the other hand. This means "put more on my plate" even when there is no plate.
  3. Diapers: with both hands and straight fingers, tap your pelvis as if you pat your pockets. This resembles closing the diaper (if the diaper has velcro tape closings).
  4. Tired, sleep: lean your head sideways and rest it on the palm of your flat hand. This looks like putting your head on a pillow (even though babies don't have pillows).
  5. Wash: make fists and rub your chest and tummy, as if you're in the bathtub using a sponge.

This might help you get started. I guess most babies won't manage more than that anyway.

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I thought the milk sign looked up milking a cow! Although many of signs are strange so I suppose I shouldn't ever read too much into them. The signs my son picked up did not have any real coherence to me (besides milk), so I don't think it is a bad idea to introduce more signs (you wouldn't use less words because your baby won't be able to say them). –  Andy W Jul 29 '11 at 20:41

We started with just signing ourselves for awhile. ASLpro was not known to me then, but I've used it since and it is a WONDERFUL resource. I recommend it to you now. At about 5-6 months we introduced "my baby can talk" videos to Alice. When she was about 18 months to two years we added the "Signing Time" Videos, but she still often wanted the "my baby can talk videos". Signing Time is wonderful, but a little fast for the very young.

If you want a list of great words to start with try, I suggest; milk, more, food, and drink first. From there you can add so much more, but there is somewhat of an order that works best that follows how kids learn spoken language as well. Use as much ASL as you can, but they will be most motivated to learn signs for things they need and things they really want. For example, the Baby Einstein videos with sign language include words like Window. I don't know many kids who are all that interested in knowing the word window. Especially when they are often near one to which they can always just point. However, "bear" might be out of sight when little one wants her "bear".

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