If you like Signing Time… I mean, REALLY like Signing Time…

There are very few celebrities we’d be willing to drive 4 hours to see perform in concert.

The woman pictured below might be the only one, actually!

"...and when I use my magic words, my friends know that I'm NICE."

That’s right!

On Saturday, we saw Rachel Coleman, performing Signing Time LIVE in Portland, OR! 

(How jealous are YOU?)

My best friend from college (and room-mate of 2 years), Theresa, and her adorable daughter met us in Portland and joined us for the show.  T. was an early-childhood special education major.

(No, God didn’t give me anything to help me prepare for my role as Matthew’s mother.  Nope.  Nothing at all.)

The show started at 1:30 in the afternoon.  Someone next to us pondered whether it was really a sociology experiment titled, “What happens when 200 toddlers simultaneously miss nap-time?”  Luckily, we had been able to get M & J both down for a morning rest, AND Bubbi and Papa came along for extra help!

Matthew was fascinated.  And, absolutely thrilled to pieces.

Micah really enjoyed the show, too.  It didn’t take him long at all to look through the display of DVDs for sale and pick out the five that we don’t already own (not counting the “Baby Signing Time” series).  I only bought 2 … but Matthew clung to those 2 videos throughout most of the show!

(And, now that he’s watched “Helping Out Around the House,” he signed “Do the dishes,” and said “jish-esh” as I was cleaning up breakfast this morning.)

"Do you feel EXCITED? I'm so EXCITED!"

 

"These are the pets I LOVE."

After the show, we got to meet Rachel.  Micah gave her a big hug and said, “Thank you for helping Matthew learn signs so he can talk to us better.”  I love that kid!

Jesse was at the end of his rope by that time, but we managed to snap a couple pictures anyway.  I was even able to say, “thank you,” and tell her that she had really helped to give Matthew his “wings.”  I was even able to quickly tell her that she was able to comfort Matthew when he was in the hospital or having surgery and nothing else could comfort him.

I can’t say enough good things about the Signing Time series.  The videos are fantastic, and have literally given Matthew the gift of communication.  We had NO idea, when we started this journey with our sweet son, that we would all be learning sign language … or that it would be so much fun!

My first recommendations to parents that contact me with a new diagnosis of Down syndrome are these:  #1: Pray.  Pray a lot, and pray often.  #2: Start learning and using sign language … and do it using Signing Time.  It’s the best.  Don’t bother with the “Baby Einstien” signing videos etc … they’re no good.

For our Matthew, sign language has been incredible.  He can tell us so many things that he otherwise wouldn’t be able to express.  He can let us know what he’s thinking inside that adorable blonde head of his.  And, because he can communicate and interact using sign, other people communicate and interact more with him.

We lost count after Matthew reached 150+ signs.  And, the more he signs, the more he says.  He’ll verbally say more words while watching Signing Time than he did during any of his Speech Therapy sessions.  He’s starting to talk.  Sign language hasn’t delayed his speech, as some worry it will – if anything, it has helped him achieve the skill.

It’s the little things – that aren’t so little when you have a child with special needs and speech delays … like when he sees the “3 FT” sign by the swimming pool at the hotel, and says “eeee! eh-f!”  It’s those things that make this mother’s heart soar.

It has truly been amazing to see how much he can say.  Also, it has been amazing to see little Jesse picking up the signs and using them.  Jesse is saying a few things … a lot of babbling sounds … but will say ma-ma, da-da, pa-pa, etc.  But, he was able to tell Grandpa about the helicopter we saw by signing “helicopter,” and saying “vmmm-vmmm!”  There’s no way he can say “helicopter,” but he can sure sign it!

Yes … we’re big fans.  Really big fans!  Especially Matthew … it’s not hard to tell what his favorite thing is … since he can communicate it quite well using sign as he says “Gieng-gime.”

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3 thoughts on “If you like Signing Time… I mean, REALLY like Signing Time…

  1. Amy,

    Oh yes, we REALLY love Signing Time, too!! Rachel was at our Buddy Walk this past October – SOOO amazing to see her in person. I think I was just as (if not more) excited as both Dylan and Cassidy!

    I just became certified to teach Baby Sign – have you thought about doing something like that? You can read all about it on the ST website. Pretty neat stuff!

    Great pics : ) xo

  2. Love, love, LOVE it! 🙂 I’m so glad sign has been so successful with Matthew (and the other boys). I forget if we’ve talked about this, but I started learning sign when I was in kindergarten–my best friend in kindergarten and first grade was a boy who is deaf. It has always been something I’ve loved, and it’s AMAZING how quickly kids pick up on it.

    I worked in a special ed pre-school in high school, and we used sign with ALL the kids, regardless of their disability, so that they could all–even kids who were non-verbal–communicate with us and each other. Then when I taught in a pre-school in Spokane, we started using sign with the babies right away so they could tell us if they were hungry or thirsty or “all done” or whatever. It’s so awesome. And you’re right, I’ve never seen it delay verbal speech. If anything, I think the ability to communicate increases kids’ desire to be verbal. I love learning and teaching and using sign, and I’m glad you all are having the chance to use it, too! I’m proud of you for being open to it and making that effort. You guys are such great parents.

    I’m so glad you guys came down to meet Matthew’s hero–what an awesome opportunity. And seriously–how sweet is Micah?! 🙂

  3. Amy,
    I too have always loved sign. And, although we now understand most of what Weston has to share, he still remembers his sign from the early years of life. In fact, last night someone mentioned that he not only communicates with the spoken word, but with his whole body. Research shows that signing helps a child’s language development. ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association) is a big supporter of signing to children with difficulties in speech and language. The research has been done – signing is highly recommended for kids like ours.
    Sherri

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