GENERAL QUESTIONS aka FAQs ABOUT SIGN LANGUAGE and SERVICES OFFERED by SIGNING FAMILIES
See below for info about BABY SIGN
I want to learn sign language, but I am not sure where to begin?
I often suggest to start with the alphabet and numbers 0-10. Then decide why you are learning to sign? To communicate with a child? A student? Help in a classroom? This will guide which vocabulary you should learn first, after the very basics.
How to learn vocabulary?
A good dictionary (including those online), apps, and videos are very important to learn. Plus, classes with teachers who are fluent in sign language. Most of all, immerse yourself with local activities where people use sign language. Such as sign language events offered within the Deaf community. Meet-up and other networking sites may help direct you to places where groups gather for sign language instruction and practice!
My child is homeschooled? Do you offer suggestions or a curriculum?
I can develop a set of lessons for a homeschool network. I do not have one readily “available” for purchase as each child or adult learner is different. Please use the CONTACT form for more information.
Do you offer CEU or College Credits for your courses?
Do you offer interpreter services?
No I do not. Signing Families and other endeavors do not allow me the time to be a contract or staff interpreter. I have interpreted in the past and would recommend connecting with an agency that uses certified interpreters.
Are you hearing or Deaf?
I am hearing, but have over 35 years experience with sign language and involvement within the Deaf community. I have authored many articles and a thesis about sign language and Deaf education. In addition, I have been a teacher of sign language for over two decades, including in higher education programs. I often am asked to contribute to books, articles and other sign language endeavors.
Why are you focused on sign language for novice learners?
I recognize that learning sign language can be a challenge. That is why I want to offer quality learning opportunities to people new to this beautiful visual language. I especially am focused on our community responders – as arming them with sign language knowledge can ultimately help save lives or give assistance when time is of the essence.
What about teaching to sign language to those who don’t have any deaf or hard of hearing loved ones?
I know that sign language is now one of the most used languages in the United States and a communication system for hearing people with unique challenges, such as Down Syndrome or Autism.
BABY SIGN LANGUAGE
When should I start baby signs in my home?
Ideally, baby signing could begin when the child is a newborn. However, many professionals advise actively signing to your baby beginning at six months. Baby signing does not mean that you sign every word you say. You need only sign.
Will teaching my baby sign language prevent my child from speaking?
No! In fact research has proven that teaching young babies and toddlers sign language skills helps to promote all language skills (spoken and signed!) Children have a great propensity for being multi-lingual. There are many good web sites that explain the various research conducted on babies and sign language. Feel free to visit the link section of our web site to direct you to more information
Is Baby Sign Language and American Sign Language the same?
No again! There exists an important difference between American Sign Language and baby sign language. American Sign Language ( ASL) is a language that has its’ own vocabulary, grammatical system and cultural/historical background. ASL is sometimes used in conjunction with voice which is a total communication method. ASL also involves the usage of numbers, idioms, and a manual alphabet to spell words or use abbreviations, etc. ASL is a language in its’ own right. ASL is used in the United States and parts of Canada. Other countries, such as England or Mexico, use their own sign language system that is different in many ways to ASL
Baby sign language is used to augment speech development in hearing children. If a baby is born deaf to hearing or deaf parents then this professional would recommend highly the use of ASL in the family and not just baby signing.
Who should learn baby sign language?
Anyone who has a regular contact with your child should learn baby signs. If there are two parents in the home then both parents should learn. If the child spends a considerable amount of time with a caregiver or grandparent then it would be recommended for them to learn as well. Our DVD is available to purchase separately for people interested in sharing baby sign with their caregivers. We also are able to teach families and caregivers at separate times.
When should my baby start to sign back to me?
Development of sign language often occurs prior to the first spoken word. If sign language has been used on a daily basis since 6-8 months then you may see your baby sign at about 10 months( sometimes earlier). Keep in mind that all children reach developmental milestones at their own pace, thus, first signs ( like first words and first steps) will vary from child to child
In our home we are bi-lingual. Will introducing a third language, signs, confuse our baby?
No! We have had several families who spoke two languages in their home and were very successful with using baby signs as well. Again, children have a great capacity to learn languages!
When should we stop using sign language?
The answer to this question varies from family to family. In the Sattler household signing is still used to communicate across a crowded room without shouting! Parents often use sign language as a way to communicate to their children in situations when speaking is not appropriate- such as during a school concert or in a church.
This may seem silly… but, may I teach my dog sign language too?
Yes! Dogs respond to hand commands and teaching them a few signs is easy and fun. We recommend that you start with SIT, STAY and WAIT! However, don’t expect your dogs to sign back to you! ( If they do, please send us the video or photo!!)