Many people have asked me if I knew American Sign Language (ASL) before Basia was born and they often ask me how I know so much. The answer is I started learning the same time my baby did.
I figured that the best time to learn anything is probably while your baby is growing. You essentially are learning at the same pace she and therefore it should be much easier.
I started learning/ teaching Basia at about 2 weeks after her birth. It was more to get myself in the habit of using ASL & Baby Sign, so when it came time for her to be able to comprehend (approx 6months), I would already be much more fluid.
How Do I Start?
Often times I think people are overwhelmed when learning a new language. They feel like they suddenly need to somehow know everything. Fret not because there IS a secret to grasping a language without blowing up your brain.
The best thing when learning a language is to take “baby steps,” and we never take the time to think about what that means but it means exactly that. Learn at the pace of a baby. This means a couple words a day and practicing them over and over again.
This is how I framed my learning system. Most parents will quickly discover that there are a few words they tend to say over and over again.
Step 1. Everyday pick 1-3 words that you catch yourself repeating. Eg “mommy, daddy, milk.”
Step 2. Research how to make these signs via Handspeak.com The ASL APP Babysongstv.com or PocketPreschool on YouTube or SignSchool app. I like to be respectful of the language so I always cross reference multiple resources. There are different ways to sign the same word and sometimes people show gestures or slang rather than the correct sign, you wouldn’t want someone butchering your mother tongue so it’s important to apply the same respect to ASL.
Step 3. Use the ASL often! This is key! If you want your child to communicate with you, you need to teach them how by communicating often! Whenever your baby makes eye contact with you sign your name or designation. Eg “mommy” I always Sign “hi or hello it’s mommy.”
5 key signs To Start