Laura, at age 7

When Laura was three, she began attending a preschool in which 15-20% of the student population was comprised of children with special needs. One of her friends had Cerebral Palsy and did not have speech. She required aids to hear, and couldn’t always wear them. Another one of Laura’s friends had Down Syndrome, and he relied on signing to communicate back then.

Because it was important to Laura to communicate with her friends, she demanded to learn sign language. Once she’d exhausted the vocabulary of her preschool teachers and friends’ moms, Laura’s demand for more words led me to a series of DVDs from Signing Time!

Signing Time! DVDs (and books and music) are available over at Amazon, of course, but check out the Signing Time! website. The story of how Signing Time! came about will put a lump in your throat and a smile on your face for the rest of the day.

Here’s a little excerpt to get you started:

In December of 1996, Rachel Coleman and her husband Aaron welcomed their first daughter Leah into the world. At the time, Rachel was writing music and performing with her folk rock band. They would take young Leah to band practices and concerts and were amazed that she was able to sleep in spite of the loud music. When she was fourteen months old, they discovered why: Leah is profoundly deaf.

Can you imagine being a musician and your child is born deaf? What was this mother’s response? Signing Time! And in so doing, her outreach was global. I encourage you to read their inspiring story.

When Laura was four she began taking weekly sign language classes, which she continues to this day. Last night, Laura performed in a concert. So, yeah, I’m a proud mama and am including a short video clip. But proud mama or not, sign language is a beautiful thing to watch.

37 comments on “Signs of Love”

  1. How long have I known you? I knew that Laura had some experience with sign language but never understood the level of commitment that the both of you share in this regard. What a wonderful thing to share with your daughter. What a wonderful gift for Laura to have.

    Why do I feel like less of a parent?

  2. What a great video! And how wonderfully special Laura is to be so dedicated to doing sign language!
    And yeah, you go right ahead and be a ‘proud mama’…that is well-deserved!

    Issei likes sign language so will go to those sites with him and see what he thinks!!
    This was so nice.

  3. Awww… now I feel like I’ve failed my kids somehow. Your daughter is really cute AND she cares about people and causes. We got cute, but we don’t have any of that caring stuff….

  4. I tell you Cheri, that is one special kid! I think most kids have a natural inclination toward learning other languages- including sign. But for a child to be that interested is pretty amazing.

  5. I hold a special place in my heart for kids like Laura. When kids are able to be empathetic to the needs of another child and go beyond being nice to learn how to truly relate to them, that tells me that they are truly amazing.

    Good on you and her for going beyond.

  6. She’s a cutie patootie, that’s for sure! But her dedication to communicate with her friends and her amazing capacity to do so is inspiring and beautiful!

    Lovely video!

    Made my morning much brighter!

  7. Believe it or not, I gave my daughter a computer CD-ROM and book on signing years ago because she was so interested in it. I was, too. She did such a great job with it. Now my son is learning. I love the site you just recommended. I think I might have to invest a little so he can pursue this even more.

    Wonderful gift you gave your child and what a great kid she’s turned out to be.

    Da Goddess

  8. Diego and I watch Signing Time sometimes. I agree that it is very well done, and I love the story behind it.

    After a few episodes, I realized that I was recognizing a lot of the outdoor segments. That’s because it is filmed in the town where I grew up, in Utah Valley!

  9. That was so lovely.

    (I learned sign language when I was younger, and loved it. It’s so expressive. And Zack went to a similar preschool; it was such a gift.)

    Your daughter is beautiful.

  10. That is very sweet. What a wonderful skill to have, too! What a great start in life, being around children with disabilities when you’re young enough not to know that this is not ‘normal.’ Cool!

  11. I always cry at signing children in performances. Always. And this time, I almost did, until… I was distracted by the lady in the blue coat, and her head. 🙂

    Way to go sweet Laura.

  12. That’s incredible! I started signing to my 17 month old when she was 6 months old. She now signs: more, finished, milk, food, bath, please, bye and thank you. I really should keep her going with it, and I’d love to learn more too. We have a deaf school in our small town, so there’s alot of deaf people. I think it would be great for her (and our family) for her to continue with it.

  13. I can tell in the watching that Laura really feels the experience. She isn’t just going through the motions; it means a lot to her.
    You have every right to be a proud mama! I can only wish that my children had that empathetic spirit.

    (I signed with my youngest, but sadly, we dropped it as he learned to communicate with words.)

  14. Your daughter is beautiful inside and out, and I love how you filmed her throughout the song and ignored the other stuff going on on stage. Good for you.

  15. WOW…what a beautiful child you have.
    My baby (15 months) has downs syndrome, we are working on sign w/ her now..but she is still abit delayed. She is a joy to us & her siblings, etc…to know that others can have compassion & “relate” is so nice.

  16. Great video and pic!!

    And you KNOW how I feel about ST!! 🙂 🙂

    I’m still trying to get my daughter into a hard-of-hearing classroom (she would be a “peer”). Wish me luck!

  17. A friend of mine introduced me to Signing Time a while back. It is a lovely show. She is friends with Rachel, and it is an amazingly inspiring story.

  18. Great that she has a desire to communicate with others!

    My immediate and extended family are musicians and very talented vocally. So I know what it must have been like to have a deaf child like me.

    My mom has always tried hard to incorporate music into our lives and I went on to dance for a professional ballet company for several years. So… it’s not just “disabled”… but “differently-abled”! 🙂
    (and someday in Heaven I’ll be able to sing harmony with my family!)

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