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on February 15, 2004
Teaches PARENTS how to START signing with their hearing children, ages 6 months to 2 or 3 years. Based on American Sign Language. For children who already know a few signs or who already possess a healthy speaking vocabulary, allow me to suggest "Baby See n Sign" and "Signing Time" instead (click on "see more about me" above for my reviews on these two products). When my son was 11 months old, I received Joseph Garcia's "Sign with your Baby" complete learning kit as a gift; it included a video, book, and laminated quick reference guide. We even ordered an additional quick reference guide for Grandma and Grandpa. After viewing the video a couple of times and reading the book, my husband and I felt informed on the research that supported signing with hearing children; we felt equipped to correctly model the first three signs that we were to introduce (eat, milk, and more); and we knew, in general, how long it would take for our son to reciprocate those first signs. After what seemed like two long months of repetitive signing on Mom and Dad's part, our son began to crudely reproduce the signs on his own. It was so cool to watch!! Again, I turned to Joseph Garcia's "Sign with your Baby" video to choose the next signs I'd introduce (we chose bath, banana, apple, telephone, and juice). It was at this time that I became disappointed with what the product offered. The alphabetical "Sign with your Baby" vocabulary on the video was tedious to fast forward and rewind through, and I felt the vocabulary would've been better presented in categories such as food, animals, everyday verbs, opposites (i.e. big/small, hot/cold), etc.; the alphabetical listing was virtually useless to me and entirely useless to my son because there were no pictures to go along with the signs. And so I went in search of additional resources. After reading EVERY SINGLE review I could find on signing video products at, I decided on "Baby See n Sign" Volume 1 and "Signing Time" Volume 1; I have not been disappointed. These two products are designed to be viewed by parents AND children. To date, my 17-month-old son recognizes about 80 signs and produces about 40 signs with varying accuracy. To recap, Joseph Garcia's "Sign with your Baby" complete learning kit is great for getting parents STARTED with signing, but it falls short of being a useful resource to those who've already started signing or whose children already possess some verbal skills; in this case just check out Garcia's book from the library to learn about the research and methods he addresses in the video. Then invest your money elsewhere, like in "Baby See n Sign" and "Signing Time" videos. ONE FINAL THOUGHT: In one review of Joseph Garcia's "Sign with your Baby," the video is criticized as "something of an infomercial...I expected more actual instruction and demonstration...There should have been more showing and less telling." While I agree to a certain extent with this reviewer, I strongly believe PARENTS should be educated in the research and methods associated with TEACHING a second language. I taught English as second language for many years in Japan; keeping up-to-date on the latest research and employing age-appropriate methods were essential in helping my students master a second language. Of all the signing products I've seen for hearing children, Joseph Garcia presents this aspect best. Good luck to anyone embarking on this adventure; it's a lot of FUN!!!
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on October 6, 2015
I was expecting the dvd to be more alone the lines of a demonstrational sign language dvd. Overall, I was disappointed with the material I received because I already have similar products I am using to teach my daughter sign language.
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on August 21, 2001
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in signing with their baby. It gives you a good start in signing. The book does not show the entire ASL vocabulary, but it is a start. The author encourages you to make up signs that are easy for your baby to learn or just watch your baby make up signs of his/her own. The video is necessary only if you need a visual in learning the signs, otherwise, the book tells you everything you need to know to begin signing with your baby. Just be warned that this is a very long process and you must be patient. I began signing with my baby at 7 1/2 months and she did not sign until 10 1/2 months and she wasn't consistent until she turned 1 year old. Now she signs without a problem and I am able to understand what she wants now. I highly recommend this kit, it is a great resource for any parent.
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on March 12, 2003
I am bilingual (Romanian, English), but my husband only speaks English, so I speak both with our daughter. As bilingual parents know, when they learn two languages at once, kids start talking as late as 3 1/2! This can make for a lot of frustration and temper tantrums when the child cannot make themselves understood. Our daughter is not speaking at 2 1/2 years. We used this system to communicate with her, cutting out some of her frustrations (and cutting out a lot of tantrums). She can make herself understood to us and she doesn't freak out becasue she is frustrated. We started when she was 9 months old, but it can be used at any age. We liked this method because it uses real American Sign Language (ASL) signs.
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on February 8, 2003
It just made perfect sense to my wife and I that a child's motor skills develop before their vocal chords are ready to speak. We have also always suspected that children are far more capable than we as jaded adults may give them credit. So we felt it was worth the small investment of time and money to see how this worked out and give our kid every opportunity to excel as much as she wished. Who were we to hold her back?
Boy are we glad we made that decision.
Our daughter began "speaking" in sign at 8 months with "milk" as her first sign. This was two months after we began showing her the sign each time we handed her a milk bottle. Sometimes we'd forget, but most of the time we'd remember. It got easier each time. We worked on around three signs at a time and once she saw that she could do "milk" she seemed to do the other signs we would teach her with greater ease each time.
By around 18 months, we counted around 50 signs that she could do.
This didn't seem to slow her verbal skills at all (as some contend). In fact, I would guess it sped them up if anything. She was speaking verbally at 10 months with "dada" and "doggie", words like that. Now she is a complete chatterbox (25 months).
My personal opinion is that adults typically assume that because a child can't demonstrate otherwise, they "don't understand" what we are saying,. Ask a stroke survivor what it's like to think with complete clarity but not be able to physically speak the thought intelligibly. Is that so different from being a child who's vocal chords haven't developed?
We have never made that assumption with our daughter. She's now 25 months and we have friends who think our kid is from another planet, she is so advanced in her verbal and motor skills. I attribute a lot of this to Joseph Garcia's book and the work we did with her, and our lack of assumption that it should be otherwise.
Do your child a favor and give him/her environment he/she needs to develop the right skills. Even if he/she doesn't go as fast as another child, it doesn't invalidate the fact that a child needs that kind of environment since, for all you know, it might have taken even longer without this kind of constant mental stimulation.
Best of luck!
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on August 7, 2002
First, understand that I think the concept of teaching your baby to communicate through sign language is wonderful. I've started to sign with my 6 month old son, and I hope my actions pay off. But Garcia's kit, while helpful, is a lot of money for a skimpy product. The video has many scenes of children signing, which while cute and encouraging, is not that necessary. The advice is just as easily conveyed in prose, and the visual index, which shows you how to correctly form signs, is not that important as long as you're consistant with the signs that you teach your baby. I can't imagine why you would need to view it more than once. The book itself is surprisingly skimpy, and repeats the instructions in the video. It contains about 40 pages of text, and the remainder is sign diagrams. And I imagine you could reproduce your own reference chart, if you needed it.
[Price] is a lot of money for many new families. If you get this as a gift, great. Otherwise, you might want to do what I did - check the video out from your local library, and purchase the book used.
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on March 23, 2002
I recieved this kit as a present when my son was two months old, and started using a core set of signs pretty soon afterwards. The video is very useful for picking up a few quick signs to memorize. Gabriel showed that he recognized the signs starting around 4 months - before he recognized most of the associated words. For example, if you showed him "milk" when he was hungry, he would get all excited! It was very cute. Signing "more" would calm him a bit when he was clamoring for more food, etc.
He is now 9 months old, and has just started using some of the signs himself, most notably "up", "more", and "hop" (it's how he asks to get into the baby jumper).
I would say this was very useful and fun, and did not cost much effort on our part. I think that two underplayed benefits of baby signing are: 1) the baby understanding you a long time before s/he can talk back and 2) the ability you for you and your spouse to communicate silently about the baby (i.e. asking your spouse to "change" the kid, without having to shout it across the room).
I am looking forward to much more "chatting" with my baby as he gets better hand control and learns more signs....
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on March 17, 2002
The concept of using American Sign Language with preverbal children is so amazing. Offering them a manual LANGUAGE to communicate with, not only provides them with a basis for a second (or third) language, but gives them the ability to communicate with others that know American Sign Language, too.
My son is 16 months old and has so many signs I have lost count. He also has more spoken words than many babies his age, which I attribute to his knowledge of ASL. He learns new words ans signs everyday! He is so much less frustrated than many of his peers. He tells me stories about his day in a combination of words and signs. I have a window into his mind that I wouldn't have if he didn't know ASL. This is so incredible, I can't imagine life without this type of back and forth communication with him.
I am a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing babies and their families. I have seen first hand how empowering ASL is not only for hearing impaired children, but for their hearing siblings as well. I had always planned on signing with my own children and was so excited when the SIGN with your BABY program came out, because it gives parents with no prior knowledge of sign language an easily accesible way to learn and incorporate signing into their everyday activities. I recommend it to ALL parents.
I believe so strongly in giving babies a way to communicate all that they know as early as possible that I started teaching ASL to other moms in our Mommy and Me groups and have become a Presenter for the SWYB program. This kit gives parents (and caregivers) the tools they need to give their baby a way to tell them all the amazing things they are thinking. It is so easy to learn a few signs a week and add more as you get comfortable. The video has precious examples of babies signing, testimony from signing parents, and clear examples of the various signs. If you are interested in signing with your baby, give them the gift of language - use ASL. It is an investment in their childhood and their future well worth making.
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on March 15, 2002
I have to share our excitement about our experience with the Sign With Your Baby program. We decided to try it for fun and what fun it has been! Our daughter began signing at 9 mos. (Her first sign was "more" as she tasted her first jello!) She was communicating in 2-3 word signs (more eat, yes milk, yes bath, help down) by the time she was 11 mos. old and we were having a blast. My husband was worried about learning all the signs and doing them "correctly", but we decided to just do our best and keep the goal on communicating with our daughter, not just to our daughter. Once she figured out that we understood what she was signing she was off to the races! At 11 mos. old, we would introduce a sign and within 24 hours she was excitedly reproducing the sign for us. It never seemed challenging or like work for us. It was always fun.
This program provided us with everything we needed. The video was a good overview and introduction and allowed us to see what it was all about. The book was a reference we referred to whenever we wanted to teach her a new sign, although we did use some signs which she made up on her own. The reference card was a lifesaver at Nana and Papa's house or whenever we had a babysitter. We kept it in her diaperbag to let others know what she was trying to say. They were all amazed at how young she was and how she was letting them know exactly what she needed.
My husband and I would try to pick a different sign each week to focus on. One week when our daughter was 12 mos. old, my husband set out a bird feeder, so he showed our daughter the sign for bird. Within 24 hours she was signing bird. Another day a squirrel ran through our backyard and our daughter was excitedly trying to tell us something, we looked out and saw the squirrel. All we had to do was look in the book and show her the squirrel sign. She signed squirrel to us for a week telling us that she wanted to talk about the squirrel that ran through our yard. Between the ages of 11 - 18 months she learned and used over 65 signs. She even made up some signs of her own for thngs like her "silkies" blanket and Big Bird. (She make the bird sign with her arm raised up above her head). Before visiting a zoo on a family vacation, we picked three new animal signs to show her and then watched her eyes light up as she was able to sign to us when she saw those animals. It was absolutely amazing the communication that was occurring. Her verbal language has developed more rapidly than her peers, and we can only attribute it to the fact that she has been successfully communicating with us since she was 9 mos. old. We no longer need to use signs, but have added signing song books to our collections so we can keep signing together. She is now 2 1/2 and loves to sign her ABCs and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. She even uses her signs to communicate with her 14 month old cousin (who also uses signs.) We always recommend this kit to friends with babies and even toddlers. Our pediatrician is in strong support of signing and is amazed at how our daughter's verbal skills are advanced due to the signing. We give this kit as a gift to all our friends as baby gifts when they become parents.
Sign on!
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on March 15, 2002
A friend in America sent me this way back in June '99 as I couldn't find it over here in the UK and from day one I loved it! My daughter was 7 months old at the time and as a busy mum I didn't really have time to sit down and read a huge book or trawl the internet looking for information. I read the book in an evening and because it is divided into little sections I found it easy to pick up and read little snippets in a quiet five mins after that. Despite the fact that it was obviously written for an American market I found the humour funny and all in all found the book to be a light yet informative read. The video was aimed at parents I thought but my daughter loved to watch the sign demonstrations at the end and would happily copy them. As for the reference guide, it was a godsend for when others were watching her because they could see what signs she knew. As I found out more I discovered that the concept of signing with hearing babies wasn't necesserarily a new one but what Joseph Garcia appears to have done is taken a brilliant idea and packaged it in such a way as to appeal to a particular market. You have everything you need to get you started and it's based on ASL which gives you so much scope to develop sign as a second language in the future. I recommend it to everyone! (For any UK readers, there is a BSL version available now)
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