American Sign Language to the rescue! In New York, a choking woman dialed 911, but was unable to speak. Her three year old daugher, whom she had taught some basic sign language, conveyed her mother's signed plea for help to the operator. This recent news story illustrates just one of many good reasons for teaching your baby as much ASL as you can manage.

Learning another language and culture is a huge benefit. Not only does it broaden your understanding and appreciation, it also increases your brainpower! It would be best, certainly, to teach your children (and yourself) to the point of fluency in ASL—and in several other languages as well. Even a little is much better than none, however. Children can sign before they can speak, and anyone who has experienced the frustration of not know what a screaming baby wants will appreciate this means of communication. Signing does not slow down speech acquisition, but rather accelerates it.
Related links
An article about the research of Marilyn Daniels
(author of Dancing with Words: Signing for Hearing Children's Literacy)

An online ASL dictionary

A personal story

Lex America/HIPPO Family Club
(not ASL, but a family-cenetered approach to language learning based on natural language acquisition)

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, March 1, 2005 at 12:00 pm | Edit
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I had just mentioned to the boys the other day that we should learn a few signs. I told them that there are times I would like to be able to communicate with them without having to shout across the room when we are out in public. Really what I was thinking is that I'd like to say "PAY ATTENTION" when they are at swimming lessons and doing everything but. The website link you gave is great and the boys and I can look at it together. I've made a list of words for us to start with and hopefully we'll add to it as we go along.

Posted by DSTB on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 at 3:31 pm
That's wonderful! If you have any grammar questions, please ask me! For example, in ASL you would not sign "pay attention", you would simpley sign "attention" while keeping eye contact with the person you are giving the command to. Knowing the grammar helps make communication more effecient since signing with English grammar is long and tedious. Have fun!

Posted by Janet on Thursday, March 03, 2005 at 9:32 pm

Thank you for sharing those links. My children just began picking up ASL from a PBS show, and are really learning so much, that we have decided to learn ASL as a family, and make it a second language at home. The "ASL Dictionary" link will really help me as our vocabulary increases! I appreciate you sharing your information!

Posted by Sunny on Thursday, March 06, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Thanks for letting me know it was useful. Best wishes for your family adventure!

Posted by SursumCorda on Thursday, March 06, 2008 at 12:57 pm