Listed below are some stories submitted by parents. These stories highlight the real benefits of signing in the lives of children and their carers. Many thanks to those who shared these amazing insights!
Ethna, Noah's mum:
Lynsey, Emily's mum: Emily's getting really into signing this week. She's not signing spontaneously or to communicate as such but when asked "what's the sign for...?" she can sign baby, bath, more, eat, clean, dirty, change the nappy and sleep. She's so pleased with herself when she does it but will not co-operate and do them on video!!
Emily's started saying "more" today but it sounds like "mo" which we mightn't have figured out what she meant at first but she said it alongside the sign for more which she's been doing for a while so we knew instantly what "mo" meant and a new beaker of juice was fetched!!
Ashleigh, Charlotte and Alex's mum: We had a couple of lovely signing moments this week. Our neighbour’s daughter has special needs and communicates through signing. As we were out playing with her, Charlotte signed bike and Lucy went to fetch her a little tricycle and then Lottie thanked her! Later that evening Charlotte bent down to a poorly Alex and asked him if he would like something to eat and some medicine signing both beautifully! So cute and lovely to see she hasn’t forgotten some of her early signs!
Dawn, Emily's mum: While playing on the floor with Emily (16.5 weeks -almost 4 months) she started getting a bit fed up and gave off a bit. I asked her did she want some milk and signed milk and she gave me the biggest smile and calmed down immediately. It was amazing. She had a good 20min feed. I've only leaned a few signs and have been trying to practice them with her every time. It looks to be paying off. So exciting.
Steph, Sign2Music teacher Comber: I have gorgeous twin girls in class, who are not talking a lot yet, and we had just recently learnt our colours in class. Mum was telling us this morning that she went to the fridge and asked the girls did they want Blueberries or Strawberries to eat the girls signed 'Blue' !! Isn't that just amazing!!? Awh!
Paula, Ross's mum: Ross has started signing bath every night :-)
Nicola, Caoimhe's mum: Shortly after starting baby sign Caoimhe went off her food for a while. She woke up in the middle of the night crying and doing the sign for milk. This was the first sign she used and I thought it was amazing she was able to communicate to me that she was hungry. I gave her a bottle which she drank very quickly and was then happy to go back to sleep.
Caoimhe woke up in the middle of the night crying and I wasn't sure what was wrong. I did the usual, checked her nappy, her temperature and gave her cuddles but she was still very unsettled. Then I realised she kept scratching her hand and pointing to her teeth. The previous week at baby sign we had learnt about being ill and medicine. I realised Caoimhe was asking for medicine (using an adapted sign as the normal sign was too difficult for her at this time) because her teeth were sore. About 5-10 minutes after I had given her the medicine she was much more settled and happy to go back to sleep!
Elaine, Joseph's mum: Joseph was trying to tell me something earlier and I couldn't understand him. He said 'look mummy' and said and signed green then tutted as if I was really stupid.. lol
Paul and Ann, Daire's parents: Daire is using quite a lot of signs, making communication so much easier. He recently learned the sign for 'pig' and the sound it makes when at his cousins birthday party. He was getting tired and signed 'home', 'eat', 'bed' to us, making his wishes very clear! Before we left, his aunt asked if he was going home to bed, doing the 'bed' sign, while making snoring noises. Daire looked at her and did the sign for 'pig'. He obviously thought she was making a pig sound, rather than a snoring sound. When we all went into fits of laughter, he didn't understand what was so funny!!
Lorraine, Heather, Tegan and Rowan's mum: When Heather was little in her cot at night. Often when she'd cry we'd go in and instead of all the guessing is it a feed? does she need changed? etc, she would sign for her duck. It was usually tidied away onto a shelf when she hadn't played with it in the day. So we'd just give her the duck and everyone go back to sleep pretty quickly!
Heather started nursery at about 15/16 months. She was in a highchair at home for meals. After about 2 days Heather refused to go into her highchair at home saying no signing 'chair' and 'baby'. She was telling us she wouldn't go in her chair as high chairs are for babies and she thought she was a bit more grown up as she fed herself at nursery.
Alan (my husband) called me at work to tell me he and heather had had an argument- she was just about 14 months. Alan was telling her to come to the car and she started signing for her bike. We said no and she stomped and said no no no signing 'bike' all the time lol!
I taught her the sign for 'help' quite early on. When she was only saying a few words I heard this little upset "help" shout from her room and went in to find her with both legs over the edge of the cot rail and her hands parallel dangling there! Terrifying, but I am so glad I taught her that sign so she could use it appropriately at that moment.
....Deirdre, a new reason why I'm glad to sign with my babies, was just about to settle Rowan for her last feed before bedtime and she kept touching her nose. I asked what's wrong and very clearly she signed "pea" and touched her nose again. Sure enough there it was- a pea from tonights tea! Cue us and a straw...lol!:)
Sarah, Caitlin's mum: A great moment happened on Monday when returning from a storytime session with a new book ‘Curly’s Friends’. Caitlin pointed at the picture on the front (Curly is a pig) and said pig whilst signing pig very clearly! First time she has been known to say or sign the word and she did it at the same on Monday (just short of 16 months old) – not life changing event but great step forward and significant for me and Caitlin!
Aideen, Olivia's mum: Yesterday Olivia told me she was hungry by doing the sign for eat. Fantastic after just 2 classes! This was an exciting milestone being able to communicate with my baby. Thanks Deirdre, we look forward to our next session.
Edel, Luke's mum: Luke has a bad cough and cold (am sure you heard him barking yesterday at class!). He coughs so much sometimes he is sick and so hasn't been eating much. Well today I had to go out and left him with Granny and Granda and came home to them telling me there was something wrong with his stomach as he was crying and rubbing his stomach with both hands. After initially thinking 'oh no what next?' I realised he was rubbing his stomach and crying up to the cupboard where I keep all his snacks/biscuits etc. Turns out he was doing the sign for hungry (his version). Poor wee man was starving because he has been coughing up his food and bottles!!! I hope I'm right and he doesn't have a sore stomach. When I fed him he WAS starving! He is also sleeping lots at the minute and does the sign for sleep when he wants to have a nap. So I think he has got used to this walking business and is starting to do some new signs.
Katja, Hannah's mum: I was caught up in a huge queue in the Tesco petrol station. Hannah was left in her car seat and I could see her from where I was queuing. I saw that she climbed into the drivers seat and started fiddling with the controls and all kinds of things. Had I left the queue I might have had to join it again at the back and I was in a hurry - but I didn't want her to loosen the handbreak or pull anything off! Thankfully I managed to catch her eye and signed frantically "Behave yourself, don't touch!! Go and sit down and put your seatbelt on!" which she duly did, much to the amazement of the other people in the queue...:-)
Deirdre, Cara's mum: I had been breastfeeding Cara but was in the process of weaning her, so had introduced a bottle/cup. When I was putting her to bed I was breast feeding as normal but had brought some milk in her cup to give her after as I knew she would need more. She was getting quite upset as I was feeding her. I signed 'milk' and she signed 'no milk'! I lifted her cup and she signed 'milk' back and drunk most of it. I repeated this several times with the same result! I was delighted about this not only because she used the signs, but it shows how intelligent a child of nearly 9 months is.
When Cara started to speak she called a plane a 'peen'. One night she kept saying 'peen outside' and I was asking 'what's outside?', as I couldn't understand her. She started getting frustrated, then thought about it, and said 'peen outside' again, while signing 'plane'. I got it then and we were both happy!!
Cara's granny looks after her and her baby cousin who signs. She signs to him all the time and actually tells her granny signs when she forgets them!!
Before Cara could speak (when she was about 10 months) I was reading a book to her. It was about a giant and I was happily reading exactly what was on the page. However, every time I turned the page Cara did the sign for 'hat'. I was confused until I noticed that there was a little tiny mouse - yes, with a hat on!- on every page. Cara was not really interested in the main story, but where the mouse was going to pop up next. It really gave me an insight into her mind!
When Cara was 3 she got locked in her car seat in the car with the keys in the ignition and radio on (faulty central locking!). This was very frightening - the choices were to break the window or go to pick up spares key (taking an hour). We opted for the latter and I had the task of keeping her calm and occupied for an hour. THANK GOODNESS FOR SIGNING!!!! I couldn't hear her so we communicated via sign, with her making up signs and miming/acting when she didn't know. After an hour we got the keys and the door opened. PHEW!!!
Before her daddy put Cara to bed last night she was trying to whisper something and I couldn't hear her. She then signed I LOVE YOU MORE DADDY, her way of telling me she loves me more than daddy without him knowing. So cute!
Was very pleased when one of the mums from Cara's Playgroup told her that her son had showed her some signs when he went home after last weeks class. Children teaching their parents....love it!
Alison, Toby's mum: When I went on the Sign2Music teacher training course, Toby my 2 year old was home with Lee (his Dad, my husband!). On my return Lee said to ask Toby where I have been. So I asked him and he said and signed "Mummy on a horse!!" ... Lee had told him I was on a "course" which he translated as "horse"... Very cute and it is now a family joke when either of us go to work, Toby laughs and says and sign "you going on a horse!!
How much pleasure I am having with Toby signing at the moment!!! He is loving "reading" books and has even started telling me what emotion the characters are feeling. Happy Helicopter and sad Helicopter etc... We were reading the story of Noahs Ark and he spotted the fish in the water who had alarmed expressions on their faces and he signed to me "fish scared!" it's so lovely to see into their wee minds and see the story through your eyes!! Also now when he's watching cartoons he is signing to his brother Dylan, sooo cute. The other day he came up to me signing (and saying) that he was "scared" and then signing the sign for "monkey" so I asked him to show me and it turned out there was a character called the "Grumpy" wizard and he was nasty and trying to stop all the music. So Toby was scared of him, but I couldn't work out why he had signed monkey and then I twigged "Monkey" and "Grumpy" sound alike and he either thought they were calling him monkey or he was doing a sound-a-like sign lol so he had been signing "Scared Grumpy (monkey)" lol!! Finally, (for fear of being a mother bore) we were heading to toddlers this morning and he was telling me he was going to paint and he was signing that he was going to paint a "red boat" and "blue sea" and a "yellow moon!!"....
Toby is 3.5, a fluent speaker but his BSL vocab is still useful. He said "when I put my hand on my teddies head it is 'deam'", I said "Awh that's nice he's having a dream".. No mummy 'deam' , he looked at me exasperated then signed 'green' and said "that 'deam' mummy!!!" lol his jumper was green and the colour was reflecting on his hand. When he put his hand on his teddy it went green!! Silly mummy!
Dawn, Danny's mum: Signing comes in useful in McDonalds with my 5 & 9 year old. They always start fighting when I am queueing over whose sitting next to me, who's getting napkins, sauce etc. I just catch their eye and sign stop it sit down now your being naughty, etc. IT WORKS.
My youngest Danny has just turned six and now in year 1. He finished reception in July knowing all of his high frequency words, spelling ones such as cat, dog, pig, when etc, and reading very well. Now he has moved up his spellings are really hard. Last night he wrote them out a few times but kept forgetting how they read. Tonight we sat down again and he wrote them out again a few times. I suggested he tried to spell them after looking at them to see what he knew.
He was very frustrated and couldn't do it so I made him fingerspell them whilst looking at the words. Then I did it again with him. Then I covered them up and asked him if he could remember how to fingerspell the new words. He only got all of them right in the first go apart from one letter in the word black. I was totally blown away! I am over the moon and he is so happy and pleased with himself.When Danny was about 11mths we were at the table eating Sunday lunch. There was only salt and pepper on the table but Dan signed "ketchup". He hadn't done it before then but had obviously seen all of his brothers use it and feed him it in large amounts through the week! We fell about laughing.
When he was approx 13mths and Dad was looking after him, he had been signing to Steve "video" all the time and pointing at TV. Steve didn't know what he meant, but Dan wanted his video of Thomas the tank rewinding.
Roisin, Oscar's mum: