Communication…. there are so many ways of communicating, our voice, body language, our eyes… **wink…wink** and our hands. If you take away communication, it can leave isolation, anger and frustration. We learned through our older boys the benefits of ASL (American Sign Language) and what a great support it is for little one to communicate.
Our oldest son Kaison was born with a Cleft Palate. With Cleft palate some sounds are hard to pronounce, making it difficult for others to understand. Before being introduced to ASL by Easter Seals, Kaison did a lot of head nods and ALWAYS pointed at what he wanted. At times, the head nods and pointing did not work…. Oh boy…. we were in a pickle with him. He was so dependent on his old habits it took a lot of practice, consistency and patience to get him to cooperate.
Less than a year later Our 2nd son Mikel had a speech delay. Mind you he did NOT have cleft lip or palate. He just did not want to talk. Till now we don’t know what delayed him because he was such a bright lil guy and he still is. We wondered if his speech delay had to do with Kaison and his speech. Wish we used it sooner, it was madness before then. We had the screams and the tantrum fits when he couldn’t express himself. He would get so frustrated with everyone. Once we started using ASL to communicate Mikel had calmed down a bit. Not long after starting Pre-K Mikel started to talk non-stop. I guess he needed to be around children who he can relate to.
Seven years later our youngest came a long… I thought to myself “I got this, I am starting young this time around.” I introduced signing to Kylan when he started to eat food (about 7 months old). I felt it was a perfect time to get him started. During every feed or snack time I’d sign “Eat” so he’d associate the sign “eat” to feeding time. Then as we are feeding I’d give him a bite, wait till he is done before giving him more I’d ask “More” and I would sign at the same time. He picked up on it quick. He then learned to sign “drink” and we progressed as the days went one. Little ones pick up on things quick, that’s why they imitate older kids so well. They are always watching and learning. I encourage parents to learn just the simple signs to teach little ones with a Cleft or without. It is a great bridge for communication. Trust me on this! What harm could it do? Want to learn the basics? Check out my post of “11 ASL signs for your 6-month old+.” Till then…
Keep smiling & have a blessed day!