I had a strange coincidence happen to me. My little one is getting frustrated because he can't always communicate. He looks at me and motions and makes sounds and sometimes I just can't figure out what he wants. So, we started doing a little sign language. He is now doing "more" and I am trying to teach "thank you" and "bath."
I am in the midst of all this and I get this email:
"I highly recommend a show called "Signing Time with Alex and Leah". I think it would be a good interview too. Leah was born deaf and her Mom, Rachel started this show with her sister so other people could communicate with her daughter. Their second daughter has a learning difference too. This show has helped our son who couldn't hear for two years build his receptive language along with Speech Therapy. It has also taught both of our kids sign language along with communication skills. The show is on PBS sometimes but people can also buy the DVDs. Some school districts use it to help kids with learning differences too. "~Pam
Pam has no affiliation with this company. She says she just wants other parents to know this resource exists.
I called our local PBS station, WTVP, and found out Signing Time will no longer be on the air as of this September! That was disappointing, so I called and interviewed the host and co-creator Rachael Coleman. She said the show will stop airing nationwide!
Rachael says she and her sister Emili created the show because Rachael's 11-year-old daughter, Leah, is deaf. Alex is her cousin. He learned sign language at an early age so he could communicate with Leah. Rachael said, "We saw the benefits of learning sign at about a year and half. My daughter was telling me "I want some goldfish. Thank you very much" when other kids were just pointing and gesturing."
Rachael has another daughter, Lucy, who has spina bifida, cerebral palsy and mental retardation. She was told her daughter would never communicate, but she has learned to sign! "It's a second language, an important skill. Even if your child is in elementary school, it might benefit them. They can see the letters on their hands. It really is like a super learning tool. Kids with learning disabilities, like autism have had great success with sign language. There is a place for sign language in every home," said Rachael.
Rachael and Emili created "Signing Time with Alex and Leah" because they wanted other parents to have the same, great experience with their kids. "They will learn the words. They just won't point and wine before they learn to talk. That leads to fewer tantrums and wining as toddlers," said Rachael. The two women are not rich, but they funded this project themselves! They have made two seasons, 26 episodes. They actually pay to have the program run on PBS. "I love that I am helping these families, but we pay to put the show on the air. We do not get paid. It is an important contribution. We did the second 13 episodes for about a million dollars in loans. As we came upon the third season, I am at an interesting crossroad, " said Rachael. She was assured an investor would see the show and sign on as a sponsor, but that hasn't happened, so the show is ending for now. Rachael did say this may not be the end of the show, but she can't go in to detail just yet.
WTVP in Peoria, Illinois airs "Signing Time with Alex and Leah" at 2p.m. on Sundays. You can purchase the shows on-line at SigningTime.com.
Rachael said, "There is no perfect time for you to start teaching your kids sign. If you didn't start when they were brand new, that's fine. When you're child starts pointing, that is not too late." I am thinking about it. It sounds like it would benefit my family. (if I can get my husband and babysitter to continue signing when I'm not home!)
And here are some pictures you can print out and use sign language to describe.
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