Monday, February 24, 2014

A Few Common Questions

What is Signing Smart?

Signing Smart is a research-proven approach developed by two Ph.D.s in Developmental Psychology who have years of experience signing with their own children, as well as with the thousands of families that have been a part of Signing Smart programs. It is a strategy-based approach to signing with hearing infants and toddlers that is fun, simple, and successful. The program was developed by Michelle Anthony, M.A., Ph.D., and Reyna Lindert, Ph.D. who met while pursuing their doctorates in Developmental Psychology at the University of California at Berkeley. Each having a young child, the pair searched the available infant / toddler sign language resources to find one to use with their own families. However, they soon realized that nothing available gave parents the tools to easily integrate signing into their hectic and varied lives. From there, Signing Smart was born!

The goal in creating Signing Smart was to do more than simply teach parents and caregivers a handful of useful signs. Rather, Doctors Anthony and Lindert have sought to help enrich what parents are already doing with their babies, using American Sign Language as the medium. Signing Smart meets the needs of parents and other caregivers who are looking for ways not only to stimulate development and learning in young children, but also to help foster communication and intimacy between parents/caregivers and children. All of the Signing Smart materials are developed with real-time parenting in mind, and they are designed to allow Signing Smart to be something that enriches what parents and caregivers are already doing, as opposed to something that takes over family life.

What is the Signing Smart Beginner Play class? 

The Signing Smart Beginner Play Class series meets for 45 - 60 minutes each week for 10 weeks. Parent(s) and their child aged 6 months - 2 years attend together in a a playful environment where parents or caregivers and their hearing children learn ASL signs and research-proven Signing Smart Strategies while playing and interacting. Activities include gross motor play, large and small group interactions, reading, singing, and much more! These developmentally-based activities help to foster intimacy and communication between babies/toddlers and their parents by facilitating both linguistic and cognitive development, building conceptual understanding, memory, and vocabulary.

The classes are great for families new to signing with their babies as well as for those who have already started. More than simply teaching "routine" signs, the classes are full of both useful signs and ones that are most motivating to your child.

In the Signing Smart Beginner Play Class Series, you will learn the Signing Smart Start as well as how many and which signs to use throughout your signing journey. You will also learn Signing Smart Interaction Strategies, how to bring signs into your child's world, how to recognize and respond to your child's early signs, and other ways of making signing simple, fun, and successful. To top it off, you will learn relevant developmental information related to sign, word, cognitive, and emotional development-all while playing and interacting!

I can't commit to 10 weeks, is there a quicker way to learn the Signing Smart strategies? 

For those who would prefer to learn the simple, successful Signing Smart strategies without attending a short class each week, I suggest the Beginner Workshop for Parents, Grandparents, Caregivers, etc. This 3-hour workshop is designed specifically for adult learners and is intended for those for new to signing with their baby as well as for those who have already gotten started and are looking for support during the early phases. More than just motivating parents to sign, this workshop helps parents develop a plan for successfully signing with research-proven Signing Smart strategies and techniques. You will learn the Signing Smart Start - how many and which signs to use in the early stages - as well as how to build up your signs as time goes on. In addition, you will learn to create interactions in which your infant or toddler most easily learns signs, how to bring signs into your child's world, and how to recognize your child's first signs.

Through instructor presentation, interactive activities and discussion, and video examples, you will learn over 35 ASL signs, as well as tools, strategies, and resources that will enable you to experience the success of Signing Smart from the very first day. The workshop is perfect for expectant parents as well as those with children from birth through 2 years of age.

I've seen other "baby signing" programs. Why should I choose Signing Smart?

Here is why I chose Signing Smart for my family.

Additionally, there are many compelling reasons to use a proven plan and a set of strategies to allow signing with your infant or toddler to be something you integrate into your life, as opposed to something that takes over it! Many other programs stress there are many compelling reasons to use a proven plan and a set of strategies to allow signing with your infant or toddler to be something you integrate into your life, as opposed to something that takes over it! Here are some other reasons I think you should make Signing Smart a part of YOUR family.

My son/daughter is already 12 (or 14, or 18, etc.) months old, isn't it too late to start signing with him/her? 

Absolutely not! Research has shown that children not exposed to American Sign Langue until preschool still reap the benefits. In fact, studies have shown that children who used ASL as infants, toddlers, and/or preschoolers perform better in elementary school than their non signers, especially in the areas of literacy and language.

Also, "The Myth of the First Five Words" applies to this situation. In short, for a good amount of time, children are often more difficult to understand after they have a sizable vocabulary than when they only speak a hand full of words.

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