Helping Hands from a Big Brother (Sign Language & Cerebral Palsy)

by Jennifer Mitchell
(St. Louis, MO)

I have three boys, ages 12 years, 10 years and 6 months. I used basic signs with the 2 older boys when they were little with some success.

My oldest son has Cerebral Palsy and can't speak well; he is only able to say a few words like "more," "Daddy," and so on.

I have always told him, "If you can't say it, sign it!" Yet even that is hard to do much of the time because of his tight muscles.

Now that the 6-month old is starting to use language like lifting his arms up, reaching his hands out for objects and fussing, I asked my husband and older sons to start using "real" sign language with him.

At a baseball game last week, my mother-in-law was giving the baby some soft pretzel to gum on. The baby was fussing when it was almost gone and I said, "Gee, what do you think he wants?"

Right away 12-year old gathered his energy, brought his arms together and signed, "More! More!" and we all laughed! (But the baby only got one more piece!)

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