We have worked alongside The Deaf Studies Trust, to develop the following tips and understand exactly how to best start using sign and how to use Where is the Bird? with your child.
Tips for All Families
Open the book fully on a flat surface, like a table.
If possible, either sit side-by-side or facing each other.
Touch the pages. Look at the illustrations together.
Bring the child’s gaze to your face and then make the sign.
Remember children will understand the game before they respond with the sign
Some signs will need two hands, so holding the phone and the baby may be tricky. Try to watch the sign together and remember it. Then put the phone down, regain eye contact with baby, and then make the sign.
If they don't do the sign perfectly, don't worry, be positive and just show them the sign again.
Hearing families with a hearing child
Use the BSL sign whenever you say the word. It will soon feel natural and become habit.
Only sign when your child is looking at you.
Feel free help by guiding your child’s hands and gently forming the sign together.
Hearing families with a deaf child
Visuals cues and gentle touch become more important.
Touch a child’s forearm or shoulder to gain attention. Never touch their head or back.
Deaf children must ‘learn to look’ so they are ready for visual cues.
Deaf parents respond to each eye contact with a sign or visual reinforcement.
Parents may speak and sign together.
Be aware that signs may be more readily received than the spoken word
Like any two languages, the more complex the sentence, the more unlikely that word + signs can be used simultaneously.
Deaf families with a deaf or hearing childs
Deaf parents respond to hearing or deaf children in the same way.
Deaf parents are stricter in waiting for eye contact before signing.
The ideal is that the child be bilingual in BSL and spoken English.
Signing games will be richer in signs in expression and vocabulary.