Saturday, February 19, 2011

Signing Time with Henry

It's been fascinating to see a world of communication open up for Henry.  We've been using American Sign Language with him (ASL), and he's adept at getting his wants met through sign -- eat, milk, more, water, all done.

We signed with the girls, and our oldest, Isabella, took to it well.  Our middle child was more interested in moving than signing, but she still would sign for some things.  But unlike our girls, Henry at age 2 is still delayed verbally (as is typical with kids with Down syndrome).  So signing, plus loud yells and claps, is his main way of communicating with us.

Henry loves the Signing Time videos and even has his own sign to request them.  Isabella signs with him constantly, which helps, as repetition is important to reinforce the signs.  Bella wanted to learn even more beyond the Signing Time videos, and so she and I signed up for a local sign language class for homeschoolers.  She's doing so well and is signing sentences.  I can sign my name. :)

I know that not everyone agrees that signing is right for kids with DS.  Some people worry that signs will delay speech.  I'm not an expert, just a mom, but I believe in doing what works for you and your family.  Signing is working with Henry, and so we will use it.  We always say the word and try to reinforce the sound, not just the sign.  He is starting to make sounds related to the signs, like saying "duh" when he signs "done." This, to me, is progress! 

It's also fun to use signs with the girls.  They can quietly communicate with me -- potty, more, let's go, etc. -- without being overly distracting.  Of course, this can backfire, such as when Isabella kept signing "I'm bored" when we were listening to someone give a speech lately.  Oh well.  I'd rather know what she's thinking -- and the other kids, too -- than be left out.  So, we welcome signs and would love to hear from others about their "signing" experiences!


Unfortunately, my videos of Henry signing are not uploading today, and so I'll leave you with a few pics of the guy just for fun!

Loving his 2nd birthday cake!

Very protective of his Elmo

Cruising the gate in the family room

Happy time with daddy


  1. Glad you are signing with him. In my 30+ years of experience in Early Intervention all the children with DS whose parents signed with them started talking much earlier than those who were not exposed to signs!I use signs simultaneously in my EI class and it really helps the comprehension and language development!!!Can't wait to see him signing!!!

  2. I am a fan of signing. I don't have a child with DS, but my C was a late talker, and when she finally started talking at 22 months, she knew and used 80 signs. While her expressive speech (talking) was late, her receptive speech (understanding) was off the charts, and I think signing was a big part of that! So while the experts don't agree, this mom says have at it! If he is using words and understanding, and you two are communicating, how can that be a bad thing? Speech will come. Until that you have COMMUNICATION, and that is a blessed thing!