Tag Archives: ASL

2011 changes part 1

2011…A new year, a new start.  🙂  With luck, and pray, 2011 is to be a year of BIG changes for our family.  Only time will tell, but I am full of anticipation and thus energy and have to do something.

A mood of anticipation drives me well; it embodies me to make changes, get off my butt and challenges me.  This list is not exhaustive, some ideas are still too fluid in my mind to express, and some will develop out of other changes; but these are the basic, starter set, a jumping off point.

The first goal of 2011, while by no means a BIG difference from 2010 is more a “push into growing”.  In truth, many of the other ‘changes” could be seen a sub-set of this umbrella “change”.  Most change is growth and it is a slow process; but it can be encouraged and “pushed”.  My first goal for 2011 is a more structured day / more intentional approach to school.  These are not exactly the same thing, but they are still hard to totally separate.  The boys are so young, and so “school” is either all of our day, or no part of our day – based on how you want to view it.  For example we read at least twice a day, that is either “school time” or not depending on how you frame it, but it is a core of our day.  Thus, I am not going to split hairs on the “more structured day” vs. “the more intentional approach to school” goal(s). 

Mainly we need a more structured approach to our time; we just are not getting done all I’d like to see done.  The boys are not getting all the opportunities I’d like to be able to “expose them to”.  It is all momma, lazy momma.  As the boys’ age I feel (personally) that we need a day with a bit more meat to it; especially as we face the fact that Big Brother will be legally kindergarten age in the fall.  (not that we are worried about THAT, but it is a ‘milestone’ to be aware of).  Also the are both blooming right now;  and I really know  in my heart I should be feeding the growth more than I am.  This is a wok in progress and I realize it is 95% momma; not the boys.

Changes in the works:

Little’s ST

Little will be going to classroom 2x a week.  This fall semester he attended the local school district’s preschool one day a week for 2 hours.  His speech delay is effecting his communication much more than Big Brother’s delay has ever effected him.  Thus the decision was made to put Little Brother in the classroom 2x a week, 2 hours each time, to allow him more time with the SLP and also to allow him more time with the Special Education teacher on communication skills.  This is a trial.  Monday is the new day; Monday and Thursday’s from 8:30 to 10:30.  we will have to see how this goes before we decide for sure to keep it (frankly I am still on the fence about the boys being in the local pre-school at all, not the team, our team is great, but there are issues and on a fundamental level I am still troubled by it).  

Little Brother is also going to have a full, private, speech and communication assessment at Childserve where Big Brother goes to OT).  we held off till he vas three for this assessment despite the fact there is no question he is delayed (maybe more so than Big Brother as far as communication is considered); but under three it seems a bit silly to try too much assessment; I knew he simply would not cooperate and so nothing would be gained. 


Daily (6 days a week goal) practice.  We are going to work on mastery of the material I have and that the local library has.  I talked some about this here.  I am also going to make tiles (3 inch by 3 inch) of all the ASL letter signs (we already have tiles like that of all the written letters, both capital and lower case) to add to our letter collection.  Then we can all practice out ASL alphabet in memory and matching games like we currently work on capital and low case matches and sound matches. 

 see part 2 here


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12.29.10 (ASL and Bible)

I am trying to slowly craft a better daily routine and “schedule” for us. (it is one of my Home and Schooling Goals for 2011)

Today we took some time for ASL practice; this needs to be a daily activity.  I have a couple of books (had many more but got rid of all but the good ones) and a couple of sets of flash cards.  I decided that I am going to work the flash card sets over and over till we achieve mastery.  Today we worked on Beginners Series – Animals & Colors  Next we’ll do:  ASL Flashcards: Beginners Series – Objects & EmotionsThe Library here also has two more sets of the flashcards, I think:  ASL Flashcards: Beginners Series – Family/Clothing/Toileting and ASL Flashcards: Beginners Series – Actions & Opposites.  After that I will go though my fav book (Teach Your Tot to Sign: The Parents’ Guide to American Sign Language – it is the best easy reference of signs, it is decently compete though still lacking, it is the best of the “useable” versions I have found) and make my own flash cards – copy the page and laminate – in sets of 10 or 20 and push on to mastery of those.  I have been trying to use more ASL in our daily life but I guess I need a plan to keep myself on it.  With a plan of things I intend for us to master (flashcards, etc) then there is something for us to sit down with each day and practice and that makes sure momma will get it done. 

I am still disappointed that Big Brother is not better at the signs he has known since he was 2 and 3 years old (such as colors and some of the animals); I have to wonder if he lacks the fine motor skill (either as a factor of age in general, or because some of him skills are behind).  I am having a bit of a challenge keeping him motivated to demonstrate the signs correctly (not lazy) and actually learn the new ones.  I am keeping after it as I still intend ASL to be a second language for the family.  Also the flashcards are a great practice for both boys’ speech and Big Brother reading.  Little Brother really seems to enjoy the practice time and seems to really get a kick out of getting them correct and learning them.  Big Brother did ask to do the second set of flash cards after we did the first. 

So out of the set we are currently working on mastery of (Animals & Colors) 

Signs Little Brother remembered all on his own:

  • Squirrel
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Cow (tried to say too)
  • Monkey
  • Rabbit

Signs he mimicked very well:

  • Orange
  • Brown (tried to SAY too)
  • White
  • Color
  • Mouse


3 he is not really even able to try:

  • Worm
  • Dog
  • Fish

And then there is snake – when I ask him, or show him – he just says NO – so that is that. 

The there 13 signs in the set he mimics but not as well.

Big Brother has learned all these at one time, though some we never used enough to active total mastery of (hippo and worm for example), but I am pushing him to remember what he “knows” and learn the rest. 

As action two of the “molding a new routine” we started reading Big Brother’s Bible today.  I asked Big Brother if he though we’d be able to read the Bible in a year, before Jesus’ birthday next year, or even before his birthday next year.  He did not think so “too many words and I don’t think you can read them all” (thanks, kid).  But then after we read Genesis 1 and 2 I asked him if he wanted to stop or read Chapter 3; he told me he wanted to read it all today “to see if we can read all the pages in one day”.  So I don’t know a good amount of the time, what he is thinking.  When we got to chapter 3 of Genesis wanted to stop. “don’t read this part, I don’t like this part”, I asked if he doesn’t like the part where Adam and Eve get in trouble, and he said “no it makes me feel sad”.

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the ABC’s

Yesterday the boys and I spent longer than I expected practice our ASL: and momma did not even initiate the practice!!  We all had fun.   Little Brother has recently actually started mimicking signs and really showing an interest in communication with sign.  This is really an exciting thing for us; Big brother always had a great ASL vocabulary.  25 signs at 20 months and it just kept going.  I am ashamed that I recently realized he is loosing some of it and not adding as much to now that he can speak quite well.  Bad momma.  ALS in this house was never intended to be a simple bridge as some family choose to use it, merely to help a young child communicate till their speech catches up their understanding and needs.  We have always intended ASL to eventually be a second language for our family.  Granted we have started with random vocabulary and no grammar, but the intent has never been to simply use a few basic signs for a few years and then move on.  I realize I have got to get Big Brother more and more new voc.  To that end, I have started to add in more ASL practice time for all of us and I am strongly encouraging Big Brother to demonstrate the signs for Little Brother.  Not only will it really help Little Brother add to his collection but it will reinforce Biog Brother’s and continues adding to his of vocabulary.  

Until recently Little Brother showed no interest, did not engage in mimicking signs or using them.  Even the most basic MORE, PLEASE, ALL DONE, and so on he rarely used and did not put effort in to the correct formation of.  (Even now his form on MORE is not correct and he will not even try HELP).  So for Little to finally be interested in sign is really refreshing.  Little can now mimic all the color signs, though BLUE is still the only one he produces independently, but then blueberries are a vital element of his diet.  So we practiced colors. 

Big Brother, on his own, found the ASL ABC poster and brought it out of the closet and was sitting alone trying to make all the letter signs (some he know and can’t do, some like the P he still really struggles to ‘create’ and can’t remember).  All by himself, sitting in the bedroom alone.  Momma vas so proud.  So we took it out to the living room and did it together.  Big and I practiced the entire alphabet at least 2x fully, in order, and put extra time in on some of the letter formations.  The most exciting aspect of the practice time was Little Brother.  He joined us, as he normally does in the middle of everything.  I repeatedly had to drag him off the poster so anyone could see the letters and sings.  He was paying close attention trying to mimic several of the letter signs. 

Then I was quizzing Big Brother on his letters (“find me the lower case Q”) mainly looking at the less common letters or the letters where the lowercase is a lot different than the capital.  Little Brother started pointing out the letters called out, right along with his Big Brother.  SMILE.  So momma started calling out one letter for each boy, turns.  Now neither of them are good at that.  Even Big Brother, on a topic that is a no-brainer for him any more (colors, bigger or smaller for example) can’t resist jumping in to answer questions asked of Little.  Almost frustrating, trying to practice colors or body parts with Little brother (just past 3) and having Big Brother (5!!!) shout out the answers.  Anyway I got him to slow down and let Little choose first.  Over the course of the game, Little Brother correctly identified, located, all 26 letters at least twice!!! 

Big Brother and I will go though alphabet again this week – upper case and lower case on individual tiles, and verify but I feel confident to say Big Brother knows all his letters in both forms and the basic Phocis sound tied to them (such as C = cat sound; or G = the goat sound).  I want to get the tiles out this week and check once more, but I am confident he is there.  I can’t run Little Brother though the tiles like I can Big since he doesn’t have the language, but I will try to assess in a big more structured way where he stands on letter recognition this week too.


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