Show Me A Sign

Milestones. As parents we watch with eagle eyes for our kids to meet these imaginary deadlines. Rolling over, crawling, walking, talking.

Even though Vista missed her milestones for motor skills (we ended up having to teach her how to roll over and crawl at 14mths) the one that always really concerned us was speech.

The ability to communicate trumps all.

Without this we don’t know if they are hungry, tired, hurt, what they want to play with, what they want from us.

We realized early speech was going to be an issue when at 10 mths she wasn’t chattering and babbling like most kids. Could it have just been that she was a quite child? Perhaps, but parents instinct told us probably not.

We evaluated our options.

We could do nothing and wait and see. We could take her into speech therapy.

We chose option 3. We taught her sign language.

Like any good geeks, we turned to the interwebs for advice, reviews, and inspiration.

We picked up a few recommended baby signs books and had… well lets face it, no success what so ever.

We ended up stumbling onto Signing Time purely by accident and with nothing to lose we picked up the the two Baby Signing Time DVD’s they had. They worked wonders for us. We learned, she learned, and we were able to have, well, if not conversations, at least interaction. Within a week she was able to tell us she wanted a bottle, that she wanted more, and she would point to the puppies and sign ‘dog’ enthusiastically.

300px Signing Time Logo Show Me A Sign
Image via Wikipedia

As Vista got older, she picked up more signs, we picked up more signs. All her doctors and workers agreed that it was a very good thing that we had made the decision to teach her to sign. Without it we would have had a very frustrated child on our hands.

I’ve been see a lot of posts lately from parents who’s kids seem to be taking their own time learning to talk. I always encourage parents to explore their options in a case like that. Signing may not be right for you and your kids. It does take a level of commitment on the part of parents to learn the signs themselves and use them consistently. If you’re willing to do that, you can open a whole new world and you get to learn a second language.

At 2.5yrs now, Vista is a non-stop talker. But when she’s tired, having problems making herself understood, or just feeling shy, she still reverts to signing. We will forever be thankful that we discovered Signing Time.  It has been a sanity saver in our house.

*no part of this post was sponsored, supported, or anything other than just my opinion of what worked for Vista.  YMMV*

 Show Me A Sign
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16 Responses to Show Me A Sign

  • becky says:

    that was a great idea jenn. and i think that if my kids were struggling with talking i’d do that too. i have some friends who’ve taught their kids sign language for various reasons and they’ve always been glad they did!
    .-= becky´s last blog ..My Thanksgiving trip to Ohio =-.

  • Excellent information. I really regret not teaching Jack how to sign. He was not a really good talker until he was almost 5. By three he had some speech but wasn’t a fluent speaker until later. We were all frustrated, mostly him. I knew about signing but just didn’t take the time to do it.
    .-= Kim @ Beautiful Wreck´s last blog ..WeaselMomma Made Me Do This: 25 Things About Me =-.

  • PsychMamma says:

    Signing saved our sanity too! J was a late talker, and signing alleviated a lot of frustration. We used Baby Einstein’s 2 signing movies and a couple books from our library. Some signs we just invented on our own. When J DID start talking, her vocabulary was amazing. Now, she never stops talking. =)

    I’ve heard arguments that signing can lead to later speech, but even if that’s true (I’m doubtful), every example I know = kids with amazing vocabularies, and a jillion stories of averted meltdowns and frustrations.
    .-= PsychMamma´s last blog ..H1N1 Vaccine Info =-.

    Jenn Reply:


    Bil actually wrote a post on Vista’s signing earlier this year (, and I made the same comment in the post – that some people believe it will delay speech. Well, Rachel Coleman (the co-creator of Signing Time) was sweet enough to respond to that comment. She made a good point:

    “… I always share this: Signing delays speech, like crawling delays walking.

    Case in point: when your child waves “bye-bye” for the first time, do you think, “OH NO!!!! Now she will never say it!”

    That would be absurd, and waving “BYE-BYE” is a sign… it is also a “sign” that the spoken word “bye-bye” will soon follow.

    Communication does not delay communication.”

  • drlori71 says:

    Both of my boys were late talkers. My 3 yo is currently in speech therapy but he’s much farther along than his older brother was at that age. My older son didn’t utter a word until 3 1/2. He started Early Intervention around 2. The speech therapist taught him some signs & it was helpful. I do not believe signing delays speech. Since his speech delay was so severe, he was given a picture communication system to express his needs. It was a book of pictures and he would pick pictures & put them in a sentence to express his wants (ie. “I” “want” “juice”). Speech therapy, special education preschool, we did it all. It was unclear if he was delayed due to verbal apraxia or if he was just a natural late talker. By kindergarten his speech was age appropriate. Now he’s 7, is in enrichment and won’t shut up. It’s frustrating for parents with speech delayed children, but my message to them is not to panic, the speech will come with time.

  • cindy w says:

    We LOVE Signing Time! It’s such a great series, and really did help Catie learn to talk a lot faster than she was doing on her own. Example: we lived in the sticks for Catie’s first 18 months, and there were 2 cows in the pasture across the street from us, and I kept showing them to her and trying to teach her how to say “cow” for ages, to no avail. Then we got the “Leah’s Farm” Signing Time DVD, and no lie, THE NEXT DAY she saw them and said, “COW! MOOOO!!!”

    And in case you didn’t know, the woman who does the videos, Rachel Coleman, is on Twitter – she’s @ST_Rachel. I got to meet her when she was here for our local Down’s Syndrome Buddy Walk fundraiser. She is seriously awesome.
    .-= cindy w´s last blog ..Hungry Eyes* =-.

  • Lisa says:

    Signing can save the sanity of both parent and child :) My daughter has always been a talker but I still taught her sign language as well because it made it easier for her to get her point across. When she was really little, and couldn’t use actual words, the signing was a godsend. Now, at 2, she talks all the time but still uses her signs to help her communicate. I would totally recommend it to any new parent.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Someone’s Missing =-.

  • jenn- this is such great information and i’m so glad you posted about it. back in our days of having jackson in the hospital with his feeding issues and therapists a plenty, i remember being on information overload. we saw a few speech therapists who at the time thought jackson wasn’t eating because of motor planning problems (idiots). of course the issue of speech itself came up, but since jackson was only 4-5 months old. paul and i were totally stumped as to why we were even being spoken to about speech delays when all we wanted was for our son to eat. of course now in hindsight i can see and respect why we were told about sign language as a possible method of communication, should speech come to be an issue. obviously our magoo has absolutely NO problem communicating his needs to us (or telling us who we are shopping for) but i’m still glad you posted this. i find myself more and more grateful for the opinions and insights of parents than i do of books or even doctors for that matter. besides, now you have a bilingual child!!! :)
    .-= nic @mybottlesup´s last blog ..getting in the spirit via a cold, snow and FEETIES!!! =-.

  • Heather says:

    Signing Time allowed Jack to communicate with us at all…we’re such proud ST fans! I had no idea you were! We’re like tied together for eternity now! xoxoxox
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Tales from the GI office… =-.

    Jenn Reply:


    We are HUGE ST fans. V even has the ST app on the iTouch and loves it.

  • Glad to hear we played some part in saving a mommy’s sanity. That’s good enough for me:)

    I too hear from a lot of parents worried that their kid is a late talker and some of them are hesitant to sign, worrying that it might delay speech even more. <—-Simply not true. All children begin communicating with sign. (They all sign "bye-bye" before ever saying it.)

    Besides, speech is a skill it's one way of communicating. Communication does not inhibit communication:)

    Nice job following your instincts.

    Thanks for sharing about Signing Time!
    ~Rachel Coleman

    Jenn Reply:


    Thank you for commenting on that. When we started signing with Vista I was really amazed at the misinformation out there. We had a lot of people tell us that we were doing more harm than good and were shocked when we told them that we had the full support of all her specialist in signing with her.

    It’s too bad we don’t see learning shows, like Signing Time on our Canadian kids station, Treehouse. Much more valuable than shows like the Wonder Pets, in my opinion.

  • Baby, baby, baby signing time! Sigh. I miss those vids, and c lo does too. Thanks for reminding me to add them to my christmas list.

    oh ya. and? you are a kick ass momma.

    .-= Sara @heartmychloe´s last blog ..A rose by any other name… =-.

  • Tracey says:

    We too had a really positive experience with Signing Time. My daughter started signing at 9 months and I found it a godsend. Even when she started talking (early, a lot, and very well, to all the naysayers) she still used signs when she was upset, shy, or just very emphatic! The benefits from her learning sign were such that everyone who saw her use them asked about them and now all my friends and family who have new babies have asked for their own copies of Signing Time.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Get the word out!

  • Lauren @lausie18 says:

    Yay! As a speech therapist, I am so happy to read this post. I’m a huge proponent of using sign language with all children. So glad you’ve had such great success. Signing Time is loved at our house, too!

  • Kellee says:

    Well, as I started reading this post, my initial response was… well I plan on teaching my kid(s) to sign as a matter of course, having no clue that is where you were going with this. I’m glad you found something that worked for you, and I’m even more certain that this is something I’m interested in. Awesome! :)
    .-= Kellee´s last blog ..WTF Friday: High Heels on Wheels =-.

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