written by Bridget T., Okinawa, Japan
My son, Kaemon, was introduced to baby sign language at 6 1/2 months old. I would teach him the few basic signs I knew here and there. When I realized he was signing “more” at a young age, I decided to continue signing with him. I took my first official baby sign language class in Chatan, Japan when he was 8 1/2 months old.
I was pretty sure that a lot of the screaming my son was doing came from frustration with not being able to communicate his needs to me. Since he didn’t know the words to express what he wanted, we would both become frustrated. Signing has definitely helped him communicate his wants and needs to me as well as to others.
The first two class sessions I took were through a program called Baby Signs. Recently, Tarah Carr, the instructor, joined a new company called Signing Time. Kaemon and I just finished our 4th class with the new Signing Time format. The classes have been GREAT!!! Kaemon loves it and picked up new signs immediately!
The tools and techniques she gives parents are truly amazing and very beneficial to the child and parent. Tarah is very patient and has 2+ years experience teaching, including teaching her own son, Noah. Attending the classes are well worth the money! I am so happy I am doing it again!
Kaemon is now one and a half years old. He is constantly signing and saying new words every day. I was initially debating whether to try the new classes, because my son is beginning to repeat a lot of words we say or that he hears. I was not sure if signing would still benefit him because he had started talking. After doing a little research on the Signing Time FAQ pages, all of my questions were answered and we went ahead and signed up for the classes and I haven’t looked back since. Each class proves to me that he can and will continue to learn new and exciting things to sign. The Signing Time program accommodates children of all ages. I cannot wait for the next class and to see what new things we will learn. It’s so fun, and I have met new friends along the way!
For those of you with iPhones, there are two iPhone Apps that correspond to the Signing Time program and the techniques used in class. If I am out and about somewhere, and need to remember a sign – I can just look it up!
If you have questions about making “signing” a second language for your child, I’d encourage you to check out the FAQs on their website, www.signingtime.com. I’m so thankful that Tarah is certified to teach these classes on island. I HIGHLY recommend trying out these classes and seeing for yourself how your child can benefit!