by Jen de Azevedo
Jen is the Marketing Director and Project Manager at the Two Little Hands office. She taught her baby sign language at a young age, and then continued with all three boys. We asked her to share her story with you, and how using sign language with her kids made a huge difference in their lives.
Shortly after my first son was born, I got a phone call from my cousin telling me they’d just found out their little girl was deaf. Of course, our family rallied around and told them we were there to support and take this journey with them. We decided to learn sign language so we could communicate with our little cousin who was newly diagnosed as “profoundly deaf”, and we had the best intentions! Unfortunately, having our own families and commitments, along with finding a place where we could learn ASL that wouldn’t cost a lot and take a ton of time (or bore us to tears) proved difficult. Our good intentions turned out to be just that…intentions.
When my cousin finally got fed up with our undelivered promises to better communicate with her daughter, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She went to work and created an easy, entertaining way for us to learn her daughter’s language.
That phone call I received happened 19 years ago. Rachel Coleman is my cousin, and her daughter, Leah, was the reason a better way to learn American Sign Language – Signing Time – was created.
Signing Time has been on PBS, NickJr, received countless awards, and has been nominated for an EMMY. Every day we receive phone calls, e-mails, and letters from families of children with Down syndrome, autism, and speech apraxia, as well as from families of children with hearing impairments, telling us about the positive impact Signing Time has had on their family.
Baby Signing Time was instrumental in helping my youngest son transition smoothly when I had to go back to work. My mother watched him for me while I worked, and I remember one afternoon when I went to pick him up. My mom came running to the door shouting, “This baby sign language is amazing! He just signed “more cracker” and I knew exactly what he wanted!” Needless to say… tantrums weren’t an issue in my house. I also felt a little better knowing my son could tell everyone what he wanted and how he was feeling, even when I wasn’t there.
The bottom line is this…if you don’t have Signing Time, get it. I give it as a gift at every baby shower and birthday party. And when my kids have kids…it will still have a place in my home.