Sign Language HELP!

Updated on April 09, 2011
A.H. asks from New Bavaria, OH
15 answers

We just found out my 20 month old niece can't hear much if anything. My sister is going through all the dr appts and options....what good resources are out there for learning sign language? Websits, books....I am really looking for printable flashcards. Where should I start?

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answers from Columbus on

You have a lot of great responses. I would recommend Signing Time as well. Great videos except the very first one is ... well ... it is the first one and it looks like it is. The rest of them are excellent!

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answers from Jacksonville on

I'm Deaf myself, and the mother of a deaf daughter. Find out if there is an early intervention program. There should be sign language resources through them, but also it depends on where you live. Check if there is a sign class in town.

The "Baby Sign" books are total BS. DON'T buy these. They change the signs "to make it easier" for the baby. PM if you want - I can help find more resources.

I should also add, I recommend speech therapy to go along with signs. There will be those who say it can't be done, that it has to be one or the other (but again, BS. I'm living proof of that). Best of luck!

Also, I live in a town with a big deaf community, so it's easier to find resources here. I'm also majoring in Deaf Education, and I can find more info for you through that.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

For yourself, I recommend hitting up your local community college and sign up for an ASL class. Taking a class where you can sign with others is a little easier than trying to learn from a video, also you will get a text book so you can look up specific signs you want to learn. Best of luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Our speech therepist recommended Joseph Garcia's book/DVD. She said it was wonderful. Our son is speech delayed, and we opted to just use a few signs and keep talking to him. Anyway, we've heard good things about Garcia.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

start with not isolated her from other kids, she will learn how to read lips alot faster that way. you could try either the americans with disabities website, and look under deafness and or hard of hearing could go to your local book store and find books on sign language. how well she will do really depends on her and how well she handles the problem. a disability is just an opportunity in an ugly suit( yes, boys and girls i can say that, i am disabled, big whoop). is there a family history of hearing problems ? or an injury or infection ? is the hearing loss more pronounced on one side or the other ? lots of information, lots of questions, just take your time and tackle it one at a time
K. h.



answers from Indianapolis on

Please take a look at Signing Time dvds- they are the most accurate of ASL signs in videos- DEF not the Baby Sign books.

I also wanted to encourage your family to seek out First Steps/Early Interventions in that state your niece is in- they will be able to evaluate the toddler and send out a developmental therapist to teach signs to the parents and toddler for effective communication.

Please also take a look at to see what some members of the Deaf community are saying about Deaf culture as a language minority and how we cherish our language and culture. We don't want to be fixed or have a cure for our Deafness. I know that every parent wishes to have good communication with their child- I do hope that your sister and family are open minded to consider learning sign language to communicate with the child. This would go a long way for the education and social aspects of living with a Deaf child within a hearing family. 90% of Deaf children are born to hearing parents. If you have any questions- feel free to get in touch with me. Thanks!



answers from Jacksonville on

My sons is speech delayed and we are learning signs with him. We use the Signing Time and Baby Signing times dvd's. You can check them out at the library. My son loves to watch the dvd's.


answers from Columbus on

I would not recommend getting any 'baby' sign instruction, as many of these are simplified signs and not real ASL signs, which could hinder the child's language development in the long run. I second the responder who suggested taking some classes at the local college. I was learning sign on my own and was doing relatively well (I thought) but when I signed up for a class at the college, I learned SO much faster, and it was a lot easier because I had the instructor there to ask if I was doing something correctly which saved quite a bit of time...learning on your own, you can never be quite sure, the videos aren't 3-D and neither are the books, an instructor can go up to you and manipulate your hand into the correct position FOR you :) Good luck to you and yours!



answers from Dayton on

We used Baby Einsteins whe the boys were young for the basic signs just to communicate for basic needs. The boys and I loved them. There is the basic signing but a lot of other videos go thru around the town and such.

Good luck and God Bless.



answers from Cincinnati on

First, I'm glad to hear you are looking into sign and not just running straight to cochlear implants.
I don't know about flashcards, but I use an online dictionary at
I would also recommend googling asl classes in your city.
Good luck!


answers from Provo on

Signing time dvd's are great! And the tunes are nice and catchy for you to listen to.
I would start pointing to different items and show her the sign for them, and just keep repeating theses signs. I would also suggest finding a hard of hearing/deaf community. Our local college has a lot of ASL teachers and so going to them for help is a great start if you have the same programs near you.



answers from Atlanta on

In my ASL classes in college, we used for over half the curriculum. The website has free lessons, as well as some classes you can pay for (I think...) I Ashley's comment that the baby sign books are BS. Your niece needs to learn the correct way to sign so she can interact with others. We don't use alternative words, why would we use alternative signs? (getting off my soapbox now :) Best of luck!



answers from Toledo on

Signing Time Videos are available at your local library so you do not have to purchase them and they are based on the ASL.



answers from Chicago on

I think the best thing to do would be for the adults who are primarily in her life to take sign language courses to educate yourself in signing, and then teach her how to sign at this early age. The sooner she can communicate with everyone the better for her.

Also Baby Einstein makes a DVD called First Signs with Marlee Matlin. It's a great video that will capture the attention of a toddler and teach her through pictures/animation and repetition how to do about 20 basic signs.



answers from Huntsville on

The Signing Time! DVD series are created by a family with a deaf daughter (Leah). VERY easy to learn from. My daughter loves watching it!

You can also look for a Signing Time Academy class near you!

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