11 months old, week 1
Juli walked with one-handed support.
Responding to simple requests
Juli responded to some simple requests:
(1) At a playgroup, the worker offered Juli a choice and asked her which yogurt or apple sauce she wanted. Juli pointed at the yogurt container.
(2) As Juli was about to drop the cellphone, I quickly intervened and asked her to give me the cellphone. She handed it to me.
(3) "Kiss mother, please." Juli gave me a kiss.
Gaze-pointing and understanding
(m12w2) Not only responding to simple requests indicated Juli's understanding and receptive skill, but also her eye gazing also showed her understanding of what I said in ASL. That is, she could understand more than she could express, like most infants in speech language.
The car passed by somehow loudly while Juli was in highchair. I uttered car/drive, cl-car-pass-by. Juli imitated the movement of the classifier (open hand that moves horizontally a couple of times) at the same time, interesting, she produced a th-raspberry (that she often did with the firetruck).
A few minutes or so later, I mentioned car/drive, cl-car-pass-by. Juli suddenly turned her around and looked. Oops, I replied nothing, nothing now.
Another time Juli pointed to the blue flowers and looked at me. I uttered flower. Juli's eyes lit up and she suddenly turned her head and gazed at the artificial yellow daffodils.
(m12w3) Juli's father held her in his arms when we were in the family room. I mentioned that Juli probably needed to drink water. Juli quickly turned her gaze toward the kitchen room.
Whenever I mentioned outside cold, Juli often turned to look out a window.
Juli turned to look at the Christmas tree often when I mentioned Christmas tree. Even whenever Juli's grandpa K mentioned Christmas tree on videophone, Juli turned her gaze to the tree.
These are just a few examples of many. Receptive skill and understanding could reveal through Juli's gaze-pointing.
Does the brain prefer speech over signlan?
Despite the fact that signed languages are real human languages and linguistics support that, a common phonocentric view and attitude remain.
For example: "Spoken language is fundamentally 'better" than signed language; sign language is inferior to speech."
In her Montreal-based research, Petitto has studied children acquiring spoken languages (English or French) and other children acquiriing signed language (ASL or LSQ) from birth to 36 months old.
The findings from her studies show a clear result as quotes:
"Deaf children, who are exposed to signed languages from birth, acquire these languages on an identical maturational time course as hearing children acquire spoken languages" from the syllabic babbling stage to first word stage to first two-word stage and beyond.
Petitto also further points that the claim from some researchers that "first signs" are acquired earlier than spoken words is "wholly unfounded."
Furthermore from her research, "hearing children, who are exposed exclusively to signed languages from birth through early childhood, achieve each and every linguistic milestone in signed language on the identical time course as has been observed for hearing children acquiring spoken language and deaf children acquiring signed language."
Petitto concludes that the differences of language acquisition and linguistic milestones between spoken and signed language were "no greater than the differences between language acquisition of one spoken language (e.g. French) versus another (e.g. Italian)".
These studies basically verify that the human brain has no favor for speech over signlan. "Speech and sound are not critical to human language acquisition."
They challenge the old phonocentric notion of speech as superior to other modality.
References + strongly recommended reading
Laura Ann Petitto. "On the biological, environmental and neurogenetic factors determining early language acquisition: evidence from signed and spoken languages."
Juli, who has been bilingual-bimodal since birth, demonstrates the same linguistic milestones from babbling to first words in both signlan (ASL) and speech (English or sometimes Dene).
By Marion, August 21, 2011.
My daughter is Deaf in a hearing family. She has been learning sign since she was 11 months old!
1. When my daughter was 3 and a half, my husband said to me, "I'd like to talk to you about your speeding!" "What?" "Tasha signed: "Daddy drives the red car slow. Mommy drives the blue car FAST!".
2. Tasha signed to me that I should pet the neighbour's dog (she's 4.5 now). "Feel nice, mommy? Do you like it? Isn't it soft?" I signed back that yes, the dog was very nice. She then signed to me, "Okay! Now we can go get a dog tomorrow!".
She's just amazing... and so funny! "If you make this face (pleading look), they give you more candy at Halloween."
BTW The Cochlear Implant never worked. We no longer try to use it.
"Signing is WONDERFUL. Watch my Tasha in action at 3 at Deaf Children's Society of B.C. (Canada). Tasha is the little blonde star of the show! :-)
Got a story to tell your experience and share it with others? Send an email to Handspeak. I'd love to hear about it, too.
"My son is now one year old. About two months ago, I looked up the sign for 'medicine' because he had been given an antibiotic for his cold, and I wanted to describe it in ASL for him. Well, I showed it to him only about three times. Two months passed, and he got a sinus infection. I was talking to him about taking his medicine. when I said 'medicine,' he made this sign I didn't recognize. He put one finger on the middle of his other palm. I thought it was kind of funny that he did it every time I said 'medicine' but that he must have made it up because I couldn't place it. just to be sure, though, I looked up the sign for medicine again. It's the truth, my one year old son remembered the sign for medicine that I showed him only three times, two months ago, and I didn't!! I guess us human beings are amazing creatures. We are never too old to stop learning, and never too young to teach! I am grateful for the wonderful resources (such as your site!!) that have allowed me to learn ASL so that i can teach it to my son. It's altered my perspective in so many magical ways! thanks for everything!" -- Aleta. May 6, 2003.