Can you "hear" me now - Using Sign Language With Babies

by Lori Lasday
(Maplewood, NJ USA)

My sister is hearing impaired and has begun signing with her children from the day they were born.

At the age of about 18 months, my niece (my sister's first child) tottered into me and said what sounded like, "wawul."

I made the sign for water and asked, "water?" She signed and said, "no!" Signing milk, I asked, "bottle?" More emphatically she signed back and shouted, "NO!" Again she said "wawul" and I felt helpless.

Taking her hand and escorting her to my sister in the other room. I requested that she tell her mom what she wanted. She then took my sister's face in her hands and with her lips directly in front of my sister's eyes she said, "popsicle."

I laugh and asked her, "popsicle?" She signed yes and then signed orange. I have learned to always sign when I want to be sure of what she wants and have taught many young parents and early childhood educators to learn and use sign language.

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