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General News · 31st March 2009
Tanya Henck
Sign Language for Hearing Infants and Toddlers

Doing sign language with hearing children started with a doctor in the late 70’s. He had two deaf patients that were married. When this couple had children they had hearing children. The doctor noticed that the children communicated with sign language far sooner than children started to use spoken language. The concept of signing with infants has grown over the last decade. Many reports from parents express the joy of being able to understand exactly what their child desires. Babies who use sign experience less frustration and therefore crying. I have seen toddlers use signs like ‘stop’ or ‘mad’ with ambitious arm movements when they could have otherwise been ‘acting out’. Babies who use sign typically begin to speak sooner. Signing is a huge benefit for babies learning more than one language as the sign transfers and makes it easier to concept using two words for one thing. In one study, children who used sign as infants and toddlers across the board had a higher IQ by the age of eight. It is suggested that you can start with a couple of simple signs at six months old and expect to see your baby respond around eight months. In the work shop we will go over how to get started, what to expect, and why it is so easy and rewarding. You will go home with a collection of signs to get you started. As co-ordinator of the playgroups in Whaletown and Manson’s I have started to incorporate signing when I communicate with the children. The workshop will be no longer than one hour. Please feel free to bring your child along if needed, however this will not be hands on for the kids. Childcare will also be provided by donation. Fee for the workshop is a suggested sliding scale of $5 to $10.
Registration is necessary as we need a certain number in order to hold the workshop as well as know how much supplies and childcare will be necessary. Call 250-935-0187. I hope you join me on Sunday, April 26th at the Cortes Health Centre.
Tanya Henck