This guest blog post is by Jennifer Richards Sanchez and is part of our Making a Difference series.

After the birth of my daughter, Ava-now 20 months old, I was talking with a woman at my work (Becky Sawruck) whose son, Aidan, is hearing impaired. She said that the Signing Time series had made a huge impact on their life and enabled early communication with their son. I think Aiden knew close to two hundred signs by the time he was just two years old. Becky loaned me the Baby Signing Time DVDs to start with and we began watching them when Ava was around 6 months old. We have now collected all but four DVDs between both series, and Ava just soaks it all up with amazing retention. Her favorite DVD is Leah’s Farm 🙂 She insists on fast-forwarding to the songs and grabbing everyone in the room, forcing us all into one big dance off! No one sits it out when that video is on!

I posted my story on the Signing Time Facebook Page because it was so touching:

Today at the Botanic Gardens, my daughter Ava and I met a 5-year-old girl who had a trach (a small tube in her neck through which she breathes due to respiratory failure). Because of the trach, she was unable to speak, but she could SIGN! I am sure Ava was staring at her neck with a confused look on her face and as a result the little girl signed to her mom that Ava was SAD. The mom told the little girl that Ava was not sad, and Ava chimed in by saying “hap” and signing HAPPY. I told them that we were excited to see the flowers and all the water ponds and waterfalls. Ava squealed and signed EXCITED!! The little girl giggled at Ava and her mom said, “You guys must watch Signing Time!”  It was amazing to watch Ava connect with and ‘talk’ to that little girl!

We are hoping to become fluent, keeping sign language as a second language for our family. With that as a goal, we are planning on taking a sign language class at the community college this fall to expand our signing and work on technique and everyday conversation. Watching the DVDs has kept us so motivated! Signing Time has been so motivating that my adult step children watch the videos with Ava when they visit, and two of the kids have enrolled in college sign language classes in order to better communicate with their sister. They also plan on teaching their children to sign in the future.