The emergence of communicative gestures

Five month old baby Juli began to pat hard with her hand sometimes when she became excited or anxious (or whatever it was). But, a new development emerged that I began to notice a new milestone: communicative patting. Prior to this, she also vocalized "maaa maaa" in the past weeks.

In five months from manual cooing to nonverbal body language to gazing and reaching as a form of communication, now Juli communicated by patting hard with her hand on my arm when she wanted to go there or to reach something closer.

It's amazing how these communicative things can communicate so much information without any words.

To determine whether Juli actually communicated by patting, I took her to small works of art that I knew she loved so much looking at these works of mine.

Juli tapped hard on my arm till I moved her closer to the images. She stopped tapping when the artwork was close enough to look at.

Then I pulled her down. She tapped on my arm again. It went on again and again.

In the following weeks, Juli babbled her hands to get attention when she was in the rocker. She had been doing this for weeks. (m6w5)

Just for fun: handshake

To follow up with Juli's learning from last week, I wanted to see if Juli remembered the handshake.

Video clip: Juli responded to the mother's offer to handshake.

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.