Thank Goodness We Are Signing!!

If you have been reading along for a while, you know that I have been using sign language with my son Ev, almost 16 months. In fact, I have been teaching BOTH my kids sign language since Christmas (while refreshing my own skills in the process!). We have been having SO MUCH FUN! I can’t tell you how many times a day my daughter will say “Mommy, what’s the sign for ______?”

I have known the many benefits of teaching babies and toddlers sign language since graduate school when I wrote a paper on the very subject. I then experienced those benefits when I taught my daughter E sign when she was a baby. She was able to communicate to me through sign before she had the motor ability to communicate using speech. Soon she started speaking and she slowly stopped using her signs (until now, as she has learned a ton the last few months!)

But I have to tell you all how thankful I am that I made the decision to do teach my son Ev sign language. At {almost} 16 months, he only has a few words: that, what’s that, bye-bye and on a few occasions has said Dada and again.

Yes the son of the speech pathologist is not much of a talker 😉

My little Ev is a smart cookie. He can follow commands, understands routines, and points at E V E R Y T H I N G and then looks to me like “Isn’t that awesome mommy??” His physical development has been strong from early on. From head control to sitting up to crawling, climbing and walking…he has always been on the early side. He is social and flirts with the ladies in the check out lanes at the grocery store.

But he doesn’t talk.

Ev signing "hat"

Just now though, as I am sitting here typing this out on my lap top, Ev went to the cupboard, grabbed a carton of granola, brought it to me and signed “more please.” At dinner tonight, I gave him a sandwich and he looked at me  as if I forgot something and signed “strawberry” (his favorite food!) The other night we passed a dog on the street and he pointed at it and then signed “dog.” And, for many many months he has looked at me with those sweet brown eyes and opened and closed his tiny fist to sign “milk” to let me know he wanted to nurse.

Yes, my kid doesn’t talk yet but he can communicate. Thanks to sign language!

Have you been thinking of doing sign language with your infant, toddler, or child? Well stay tuned because I plan on doing more posts about sign language in the month of May! More about why I recommend using sign language with little ones, how to pick the signs to use, tips on how to learn sign language yourself, why I recommend using American Sign Language rather than made up signs, and more! I even have some iPhone app recommendations and other resources I will share with you this month! I’m so excited to share all this with you!



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  1. says

    My 17 month old has basically zero words and is FINALLY showing more interest in signing. Yay!! This weekend she has learned more words then she had in the 7+ months I’ve been trying to teach her sign language. Shows you that no matter what your plan is, they will decide. :) I’m so happy though that she is using the signs, makes life just a little easier.
    Jessica @ Preserving Life’s Moments recently posted..Celebrating Women FairMy Profile

  2. says

    We are signing and I simply LOVE it! The other day someone told me that babies can’t actually understand something like signing…. tell that to my son who toddles up to me and signs book then holds up a book…. or when I tell him “no, that’s not for babies” and he pouts and signs “please”. Yes, he’s only 15 months old, but he knows what he’s saying. :)

    • Katie says

      Christine, people are VERY ignorant about signing. Sigh. As an SLP I have had to educate, educate, educate as it is often something I will recommend to some of my speech delayed clients also. LOVE that your little guy is communicating!!

  3. Amy Poore says

    I really look forward to reding your posts on the topic. My LO is 3.5 months so I know we need to get on it! I only now. Few signs I got from a baby signing book. Your tips/ advise will be appreciated.

  4. Jessica Martin says

    My husband and I have been talking about teaching our son to sign, so I am definitely interested!

  5. says

    We have been signing with our son since he was 6 months old. he started responding with signs around 9 months. He’s now 2.5 and we have gone through highs and lows. When he started talking, he stopped signing as much, but in the last few months, we’ve been teaching him more and more, and he catches on so fast! There’s nothing like the pride in his face when he figures out a sign ( it took him months to figure out “dog” and then all of a sudden he got it! ). My parents love it because as a baby he could let them know what he wanted, rather than crying in frustration because he couldn’t communicate his needs to them!!! Keep it up! Even as they talk, it’s great for them to know, you never know when they’ll need it!
    ashley recently posted..Heart AcheMy Profile

  6. Heather says

    My son is 19 mo old and we started signing around 9-10 mo. He still loves to do some signs…milk, more, please, (cracker, water, cup, dog, bird), and a few others still linger….BUT…he is SUCH a talker that he has pushed most of what he did learn already on the way side. :-(

    • Katie says

      Heather my daughter dropped her signs once she started talking! And you know that your signing to him may have actually contributed to his strong verbal skills! There is some research to support this.

    • Katie says

      Rachel I’d love to link up, thanks for the invite! And as far as ASL any time is a good time!

  7. Nuria says

    Your son has more words than mine did at that age. My son is 26 months and we can count about the words total. Very frustrating. He is currently in speech therapy with little progress. Thank Goodness for signing. That is how we know that he is very smart. Otherwise we would have one frustrated little boy. At 18 months he had over 150 signs. He knew the entire Baby Digning Time series and the Signing Time series. We love our signs.

    • Katie says

      Nuria, I am so happy your son has had his signs to communicate! I hope he starts to make some steady progress soon. I imagine it is frustrating right now!

  8. says

    Katie, My 23-month old son walked very early and has always shown signs of a competent, bright baby. But, at 18 months he said three words: momma, dadda, and boo. I was sure that we would need to have speech therapy very soon! We were signing with him and he communicated wonderfully…he just did not talk! Something clicked about three weeks later, though, and at 19 months he said 8 words. Since, he’s been adding words daily. This week he started using complete sentences. His vocabulary is well over a couple hundred. If it hadn’t been for signs, though, we would have had about 10 very frustrating months! My daughter really enjoys learning ASL too. I’m a huge advocate for signing, and I’m looking forward to your series in May! (sorry this is so long…I just read your post and loved it and wanted to join the conversation!)
    Carla recently posted..Teach Me Tuesday (5-1-12)My Profile

    • Katie says

      Carla I LOVE these stories! Your little guy was simply developing on his OWN timeline. I am so glad ASL helped you along! I have a feeling one day it will “click” for Ev too. Ev is also a pretty independent little guy..he sees his big sister doing things and thinks he can do it all so he honestly doesn’t need speech a ton right now. He communicates GREAT without it. The speech will come!