Several years ago before the birth of my own children, I ran across an old friend and her then eight month old baby, Aubrey. Aubrey was a beautiful read headed, blue-eyed cutie who was sitting happily in the grocery cart and using her tiny hands to sign words. At first I felt a bit shy to ask why the baby was signing as I had imagined ASL (American Sign Language) was used only by the Deaf. As I spent more time around Aubrey, I quickly realized there was great advantage in being able to communicate basic needs and wants before she was able to speak words. Aubrey’s ASL sings included words such as “eat’ “all done” “more” “milk” and “no”, simple signs that made a world of difference. Today Aubrey is a happy and smart second grader who is reading much higher than her grade level, whether this is an after affect of early communicating or great parenting, I can not say for sure, but it is most likely a combination of the two.
When I came across the book Easy Guide To Basic Baby Sign Language by J.R Cagle, I was immediately curious, my own baby is now an 18 month old toddler who has no problem communicating her needs but I wondered if it were not too late to teach both of my girls, ages 5 and 18 months and myself basic ASL.
The book is broken into 13 chapters, three of which are dedicated to teaching parents; The History of Baby Sign Language, The Benefits of Baby Sign Language and Helpful Hints to Getting Started. The remaining ten chapters are dedicated to basic ASL signs for; food, family, animals, the body, manners, bed time and playtime to name a few with each sign being both explained and illustrated. The layout of the book is very simple, uncluttered and easy to navigate which to me is one of the most important aspects of any guide.
Author J.R. Cagle set out to write a Baby Sign Language book and wrote an excellent ASL beginners book for all children and their parents. I plan to use the book to teach myself and my two girls basic ASL words. Although both my little girls are highly verbal, there is a great feeling of satisfaction in learning a new language, and there will be an even greater sense of accomplishment if one day we are lucky enough to meet a friend who is fluent in ASL.
I initially heard about baby signing many years ago through the course of conversation. Later, I had friends and family use it with their children, and I was amazed watching the communication take place. The topic fascinated me because of what I saw and the benefits including early communication, confidence building, the creation of stronger bonds and improvements in communication skills. I knew that if I ever had children I would want to use this tool, and as I began to read the top selling books I noticed a few issues that frustrated me:
- Mixed signs: Some books had a mixture of homemade and ASL signs or ASL and BSL (British Sign Language) signs.
- Indexes: Some books did not have indexes at all which makes is cumbersome to access information.
- Images: Some of the images in other books simply quite frankly looked scary.
This book was designed specifically for busy parents. When our little girl was born, she wasn’t sleeping which meant we weren’t either. Any time that we could find was incredibly rare and precious to us. Reading a book about anything was down to necessity. I knew that other parents were in the same boat, and any thing I could do to make the information more easily accessible would be appreciated.
The book is available on Amazon, iTunes, Nook and Kobo. Here are links:
Thank you J.R Cagle and congratulations on a great book!by