Pointing to self and people
Earlier at 12 months (week 4) I noticed that Juli had pointed to herself with an index finger sometimes, especially when reading that specific book with her.
The video clip above (from 12 months old, week 3) shows Juli pointing to herself. I had been pointing to her when reading that book with her several times.
The 13-month-old baby, sitting in her high chair, listened, while I signed ix-me mother love you juli [Mother (me) loves you, Juli]. Juli turned around and pointed to the picture of herself on the refrigerator. Then, she pointed to herself. Did I believe what I saw? She pointed to herself when I pointed to her.
Sure enough, next day or two at the ASL Mother Goose playgroup, an ASL-speaking teacher "Nyla" signed to Juli Mother love you Juli. Father love you Juli. Who juli?. Juli pointed to herself with a grin. She again pointed to herself.
A week later, Grandma Z pointed to a couple of photographs of Juli and asked who?. Juli pointed to herself. This took place at Grandma's home.
On that same day, Juli later pointed to the same pictures and pointed to herself. It occurred more than a few times. Likewise for the photographs of herself on the fridge at Grandma Z's home.
Pointing at people
Fast forward, 15-months-old Juli's father turned on TV and booted up a PS3. As soon as the screen revealed a background picture of Juli and her mother myself. Juli excitedly pointed to the screen and pointed to herself, identifying herself in the photograph (background screen).
Then, Juli pointed at the screen and produced mother ("A" handshape). She turned her gaze at me who observed from the kitchen and pointed at me excitedly.
What followed was that she pointed at me and then herself repeating a few times as in "you and me". Throughout this session, she pointed with a straight arm, very clearly pointing.
At this stage, her pointing at people is very clear, unmistaken. But, it is a pre-linguistic gestural communication. I'm very curious about how it will transition into a linguistic pronominal symbol during the two-word stage of language development.
Acquisition of pointing in sign language
Two research studies show a different result about a period between age 1 and 18 months in gestural pointing and linguistic pointing. In one study (Dr. Petitto), pointing to people may drop at the stage between age one and 18 months.
But, a research study in Greek Sign Language shows that there is a smooth transition from pointing (as a prelinguistic gesture) to linguistic (pronominal) pointing without dropping.
Juli's case falls within the similar study as that of the Greek Sign Langauge. But, a number of subjects in these studies is very small. It may not reflect a larger population of infants exposed to native signing environment.
Anne Baker, Bencie Woll. Sign language acquisition. Pp 41-43.
Marianna Hatzopoulou. "The Emergence of Pronominal Pointing in Greek Sign Language." http://access.uoa.gr/gw2011/proceedingsFiles/GW2011_31.pdf
Dr. Laura Pettito. "On the autonomy of language and gesture: Evidence from the acquisition of personal pronouns in American Sign Language" http://petitto.gallaudet.edu/~petitto/archive/Cognition1987.pdf
Toddler's favorite "no"
I turned and caught Juli as she was about to pull the drawer of a desk. I told no with shaking head and serious look. She stood unmoved and looked at me with a non-stop grin.
I remained serious for some long seconds before breaking a bit smile. She left the drawer. A few seconds later, I turned to check on her again and caught her, what it appeared was that she looked at her hand and attempted to produce no.
In the same sitting, I came cross a milestone noting that "adopts 'no' as his favorite word" at around 15 months. That helps confirm my perception of what I was just seeing. This milestone may be coming soon. To this date, Juli has never shaked her head (a gesture for "no"). We'll see which ASL word "no" or gesture "shaking-head" comes naturally for her.
"Is she hearing or deaf?
Juli walked out of the library room into the hallway on her own. I rushed picking up my bag, coat, library books, and all. As soon I caught up, a woman stood there noticing Juli was almost alone.
As soon as I picked her up, Juli friendly talked with the stranger in signlan -- she pointed and produced drive-car. The woman delightfully responded oh! yes, drive-car.
The woman asked me, "Is she hearing or deaf?" That's the problem -- phonocentrism and audism. If I were answering "deaf", she would use ASL but if she were hearing, she would use spoken English.
I replied that ASL is her first language. I expected one to use ASL with her, especially around with me or Ameslan people, unless one doesn't know ASL.
It's not a question of which signlan or speech to use based on one's hearing status. It's a question of what language to use to respect people in their own community or space.
Introducing the shapes
Lately Juli has expressed an interest in shapes in the picture book. I also introduced a few alphabetical letters (both written and manual).
Videoclips: Interactions with the toddler teach some colors, numbers, shapes, and objects.