Toddler listening in sign language through peripheral vision

I first noticed about Juli's skill in peripheral vision far long way back before she turned age one. From time to time, she showed her comprehension by answering my question without looking at me.

I didn't pay much attention before until now. As I was reading with Juli, I noticed that Juli looked at the pages most of the time while I signed. It was not unusual.

Often I let Juli tell the stories but I decided to ask questions. She answered my questions without looking at me directly. It demonstrates her strong skill of peripheral vision.

Sharp vision

Not only I know Juli has a sharp peripheral vision; that is, she responded or reproduced what one signed without looking directly, but she also has a sharp vision.

For example, a couple of weeks ago (1;4,3), Juli rode in her stroller as I walked on the sidewalk along the houses. She observed things in the environment and suddenly uttered ladybug with excitment.

My first thought was that how could one notice a ladybug somewhere like noticing a pin in a haysack (okay, a bit more impossible than finding a ladybug in grass). Or, I thought, was it from her memory?

Juli then pointed in the direction that I turned around and looked around. Ah! There was a ladybug stake in the greenery at a medium distance.

Another day, I secretly put my glasses on the top of a big television, partly out of sight, in the family room. Juli played around for a bit while and excitedly pointed at the glasses and produced glasses.

Her ability to communicate helps me see how she can see well and how details she can observe or notice something in the middle of a visually noisy environment.

ASL language development

The following referential words that Juli has used this week: stand, bye-bye, cereal, bee, ladybug, bug, camera, vacuum done, some more shown in the video above, and some reguarly used ASL words.

Juli often used bye-bye both in real situations, in storytelling, and in pretend play. The ASL phrase friend bye-bye was a common utterance. "Bye-bye" could mean "gone" in Juli's expression.

In pretend play, standing outside the backyard, Juli waved bye-bye to me before entering backyard and closing the gate door.

Another, she waved bye-bye to her grandfather through videophone before she left. Also she waved "bye-bye" as the friend Rene got in his truck and was about to leave.

Through the toddler's lens

Juli tapped on me to get my attention and pointed in the direction. She uttered bug. I simply nodded. She insisted and finally took my hand and led me to the fireplace. I looked at the dark fireplace. Huh?

Moments later, Juli again got my attention and uttered bug. Seeing that I didn't get it, she led my hand to the fireplace again.

I looked harder at the fireplace. I saw nothing. But, somehow I lifted up and leaned over only to realize I noticed a dark dead bumblebee inside the fireplace. Juli felt satisfied with the "Aha!" look on my face.

For the rest of this week, Juli still talked about the bug in the fireplace.

This documentation project follows a baby's language acquisition, literacy development, and phonological acquisition in sign language, specifically ASL, week by week from gazing at birth to manual babbling, to first words just before the first birthday in a natural native-ASL environment and visual culture.

The second-year and third-year documentation continues to follow the same child's language and phonological acquisition and literacy development in ASL on a weekly basis from the one-word stage to two-word and multiple utterances.

The documentary continues to follow the same child's ASL language and literacy development on a regular basis from age three to four. It surveys ASL phonological acquisition and more complex utterances.

These posts on ASL-English bilingualism, language acquisition, and bilingual education may be of an interest for parents who raise a bilingual-bimodal child in ASL (or another signed language) and English (or another written and/or spoken language of its respective) as well as informative and educational for ASL specialists, educators, and professionals.