When we received the diagnosis of Down Syndrome after my son Robert was born we were inundated with information. One piece of advice that was given to us was to accept that he would not hit his milestones along with other children, but he would get there eventually on his own time. At 6 months of age he started at his Early Intervention Center, and they stressed the importance of sign language. We are so grateful that we started this right away. He was able to use signs before many of the other kids were talking. He could share with us when he wanted to “eat”, “drink”, or if he needed “more”. By signing we avoided many meltdowns that can occur when a child is not being understood.
Around the time Robert turned four, the first Signing Time DVDs were released. Before then, we only had one VHS tape that was geared towards adults. From the first moment of putting on “My First Signs” Robert was hooked. He was immediately engaged by the music, colorful backgrounds and, most importantly, Leah and Alex. Here were kids, using sign language! I also enjoyed it as a Mom. Kids’ music can get a little silly, but Rachel has a knack for writing music that is enjoyable to parents. “In A House” and “Shine” are two of my favorites.
Robert is now 12 and still using a combination of sign language, limited verbal words and a communication device to get his point across. He has spent his school years in a public school in a general education setting. We have been so fortunate to be at a school where they welcomed us in and let us teach his classmates sign language, starting in Kindergarten. Signing Time products have been a huge hit with the students. Robert loves to show his friends “Silly Pizza Song”. His friends love learning sign language along with him using the DVDs. I love that Signing Time keeps coming out with new products and keeps them to a theme!
Our family enjoys signing so much that at the beginning of the summer my youngest son, Max asked “Why don’t you teach sign language?” I have thought of this over the years but once he mentioned it I logged on to Signing Time and much to my delight saw the posting for becoming a Signing Time Academy Instructor! By the end of the summer my “Starter Kit” arrived in the mail. Robert could not contain himself. He thought the package was an early birthday/Christmas gift for him. To celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month I will be teaching my first class, starting on October 4th with my son Robert as my assistant.
Signing Time has made the process of learning a second language fun for all! I’m so glad this was introduced to us early on.
Mom to two wonderful boys Robert (12-DS) and Max (10-Asperger’s)