Thursday, August 23, 2007

Signing to our kids......

When I started on this journey I never thought that signing would play such a huge roll in Rhett's life. Signing has been a huge bridge in the comminuctaion gap that comes from having a child with Trisomy 21.

Rhett will be two in just over a month, and although he can speak some words, they are in his own way, and you have to be with him on a daily basis to understand what he is saying. Out of the 15 or so words that he says the only ones that are understandable to everyone he meets are Hi, Bye, Mom, Dad, Elmo, and La La La.

We have been working with Rhett on getting him to say the word as he signs it. Alot of people don't understand signs either, so I figure if he says it and signs it at the same time, well someone is bound to pick up on what he is saying.

Rhett has just amazed me with the signs that he as learned in the past week or two. He is now using them in the right ways too, like he will sign and say more and then sign crackers. When you ask him what do we say if we want more of something, he will sign and say please....(peeeezzzeeeee).

It amazes me that I can actually have a conversation with him, and he totaly gets it. If we had not started signing with him, I would probably think that he is much farther behind than he is. He understands so much and if it were not for signing he would not be able to comminucate to me just how smart he is and how much he comprehends about his surroundings.

We are working on animal sounds right now, and I cannot wait for him to learn more signs to go along with the sounds. We just got a book on animal signs, and it teaches the signs of all amials from a dog to a turkey. He seems to really have taken to farm animals and I am thinking that the Fisher Price Farm is going to be a wonderful birthday gift for him.

I know I have gone on and on about Signing Time! before, and I really truly belive that it is one of the best products out there to help your children learn to sign. The songs are so cute, and Rhett relates to them so much. Baby Signing Time! volumes one and two are the ones that we watch the most. They have the everyday signs that he uses.

We sit down together at least twice a day, and watch them. I sing the songs to him, and we do the signs. He loves it, and so do I.

Chloee watches alot of it as well, she likes the older DVD's, and has learned so much. This helps Rhett so much when his brothers and sister sign to him and make him sign back to them before he gets what he wants. (They will say you want the ball, then say please, so he will sign ball, please)

We took Chloee in for her kindergarten testing on Tuesday. Her teacher worked for ten years with special needs children, and was so excited to have Chloee in her class. She told her that she must be a very special big sister to get a brother like Rhett. Then she asked me if we were doing signs with him, and Chloee ran over to his stroller and started saying Rhett sign mom! She went on and on with him until they both had done all of the signs that he knew.

It is amazing to me that my 5 year old knows which signs he knows and which ones he doesn't. When we first walked into the classroom her teacher asked her what her name was and Chloee started to spell her name, and signed the letters as she spelled them. I thought her teacher was going to fall on the floor.

Whenever I meet a family that has a new child with a little something extra, I always have to put my plug in for signing. It has made such a huge difference in our lives. If you have a baby with Down Syndrome work with them on signing, even if it seems slow at first, all of the sudden one day it will all take off, and you will be so glad that you did it!


Kei said...

Yay Rhett!!! And Chloee!! You have a very smart mommy, having you learn to sign, especially using Signing Time! our favorite!

Jessica said...

WTG Rhett & Chloee! I majored in ASL in college for 3 years so signing is no problem for me and Joey seems to understand the things I sign but we still have yet to see a sign well, I take that back, we think he's finally starting to sign "more" so keep your fingers crossed!!

Jodie said...

Amen my friend! I love that we have this way of communicating with Tyler. And Emmalee signs with us and him too which is amazing. I love watching the two of them sign to each other. Tyler's pre-school teaches a signing class and we are so excited to take it this fall. It will help us all!! Keep up the good work, Rhett.

Contact: Carey, said...

Pam, would you quit seeking attention? What's this big thing about signing? You attention getter!

hahaha, just kidding, I know that's mean. I really do love the signing stuff too! Gosh it's a live saver...Chelsea why are you screaming? What do you want? (she signs milk) Oh! a drink of milk, gotcha! Whew! Keep it up mama!

Nicole said...

Awesome job big boy! Signing IS a life saver. Rhett is my featured friend this week. I stole a picture...pop in to see! HUGS, Nicole