The Adoption Transition to Parenting: Learning English and Signing Time videos

March 11, 2013 § 2 Comments

Our first kid was 5 years old when we became parents. Obviously, this isn’t typical and so we had to do some not-so-typical parenting. Here is one of our experiences from transitioning to being parents:

When Nathaniel came home in June of last year, he spoke very little English and we spoke very little Nyanja. As you can probably hear from the videos I have posted, his English has improved tremendously. One of the things I credit this to is his Signing Time videos.

Nathaniel was very sensitive to being overstimulated during his first month at home. We couldn’t even go to a restaurant or grocery store without him crying and feeling overwhelmed. Ben and I were also very tired at first and needed some reprieve at home. Signing Time was the perfect answer. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a low-key children’s program that teaches children sign language along with the object/feeling/person, and has memorable songs and fun activities during the show. It was great for teaching Nathaniel English because he heard the word, saw the sign, and saw the object with multiple examples. It engaged him in a way that was not overwhelming.

In case you are unfamiliar, sign language is now commonly used with babies for communication before they are physically able to speak. It is also used for children with physical or intellectual disabilities who have difficulties in using speech, such as Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, speech delays, autism, etc. Because many of our friends and the children around us use sign as well for various reasons, it made it very useful for Ben and I to pick up as well. At our home church, you will often find a number of us signing the hymns and worship songs.

I love using sign with Nathaniel at home, in church, or when I need to correct him quietly. I can easily look at him across the room and ask him to stop, come, sit with Mama, eat, etc. He will also tell me that he wants water, food, the toilet, etc. Because of the weakness and stiffness in Nathaniel’s arm, he does modify some of the signs slightly. I will often hear him singing songs he’s learned on the show.

One of the other reasons that I love Signing Time is that I really respect Rachel Coleman, one of the co-creators of the show (her blog HERE). She is a mom to Leah, who is deaf, and Lucy who has spina bifida and doesn’t walk. Rachel determined that she didn’t want Lucy to miss out on things simply because she couldn’t walk and would still “child wear” Lucy even as she got older and heavier. One post on her blog talks about on the blog talks about Lucy being 11 years old, 50 lbs, and still being worn by her parents. This is awesome and shows such strength and perseverance for your child. We wore Nathaniel a lot during his first 6 months at home. He only weighed 38 lbs and I would tired very quickly. Rachel and her husband’s commitment to be Lucy’s legs is commendable and inspiring.

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§ 2 Responses to The Adoption Transition to Parenting: Learning English and Signing Time videos

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