Beautiful, heartwarming moments can be shared in any language, including sign language. Mom Shari Joy McMahon had posted a video on Facebook of her daughter, Aria, who is deaf; she is on the lap of her grandma, Pamela, who is also deaf.
In the video, Grandma Pamela is teaching the then 9-week-old Aria how to sign. For a few precious minutes, the baby is completely engaged and entranced with her lola. She watches her lola intently as Pamela moves her hands in conversation. Every now and then, Aria breaks into a big, beguiling, and adorably toothless smile.
When Aria starts to laugh, Mom Shari shared that Lola Pamela is saying, “I’m funny? Grandma. Can you sign Grandma? Oh, you’re so funny!” reported Mirror. Grandma helped her with the gestures by taking her hand, and at one point in the video, Aria even seems to be trying to mimic her by waving her arms on her own.
Even with just the video, which has since gone viral after being shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page, it’s clear that the pair’s hearts are connected to each other -- mom thinks so, too. “Aria and I have moved out of state so they haven’t seen each other since the video,” Shari told Scary Mommy. “They have a special bond and my mom misses her so much.”
“[Aria] is fifth generation deaf in our family. Almost every member of our family is deaf,” added Shari. “Aria is almost 5 months old now and she hasn’t been signing lately but always ‘listens’ intently to people signing to her.”
Grandma Pamela uses American Sign Language (ASL) in the video, but a lot of babies are also taught baby signing while they still can’t talk yet but already have developed enough motor skills to carry out simple gestures.
Unlike ASL, a legitimate language with set gestures, with baby signing, you can make up your own hand movements that you and your baby can use to communicate to each other. Baby signs parents often teach their children include: milk, drink, eat, daddy, mommy, please, thank you, and words related to going to the bathroom.
Children can be expected to sign back around 6 months and up, Sharon Galang, an Independent Certified Instructor of the Baby Signs, told Smartparenting.com.ph in an article. Parents can still use it up to 3 years of age when a child doesn’t yet speak clearly.
Research shows that teaching pre-verbal babies to use signs enhances early communication and actually facilitates verbal language development. So don't forget to accompany your signs with clearly spoken words.