Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ring? Wing? Oh.... SWING!

Just the other day Amberly showed me a picture she had drawn and described what it was. Mind you, she is not quite 4 and she can at times create a good scribble of a picture that is clear only to her. "Mom, look it's a ring" I hear her say. She gets disgruntled, "No, a wing!" I do not quite hear what she is trying to pronounce still, but kneel down so I can give her my full attention, baby in arm, "Honey, tell me again what it is." I would hate to have 3 wrong attempts because by then she gives up. Lucky for me, she knows I often ask her the question "do you have a sign for it?" and without my prompting she showed me her version of SWING and I then could make out more readily the picture she had drawn.

Many preschool children have a hard time pronouncing S's and F at the beginning of a word. This is most commonly the problem when I don't understand Amberly. Otherwise she talks very well, grammar and pronunciation, and asks questions about new words or uses of words she has never heard before. She is great at language, but still I have to slow down to better understand her when S or F is at the beginning of the word. I know that if she did not have a sign for many of these situations, her sensitivity would create more of a shell around her in regards to not being understood by her OWN MOTHER!

Remembering to blog this situation is a feat in itself. Thinking of a way the next day to help Amberly work on her "S" sound was a major accomplishment. We practiced hissing like a snake while we were drawing by ourselves and doing stickers (her favorite quiet time activity). I asked her if she could use that sound to say SUN or SLIDE. It was just a couple of attempts and she loved that I clearly heard her say these words without asking her what she said. When Dad got home from work I asked Amberly to talk to him about going to "practice" (she just started soccer this fall) and she said SOCCER clear as day!

Box of crayons..... $2
Package of Sticker sheets..... $4
Soccer ball..... $15
Look on my daughter's face when her Daddy understood her saying Soccer..... priceless!

Joann Woolley is owner and instructor of Sign4Baby in San Diego teaching parents how to communicate with their pre-verbal baby using American Sign Language. With her in depth knowledge of ASL as her first language she takes you beyond just the basics in signing, also filling your parenting tool belt with parenting tips and tricks coupled with signing as a great boundary teaching tool for toddlers. Want to know which signs most parents start with but gets them stuck in the mud? I'll send you that hundred dollar tip for FREE.

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