Learning Sign Language?

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September 28, 2010

Woman Teaching Sign LanguageMy friend asked me this question: A child is born to a deaf dad and hearing mom. Which is more important? That they learn sign language before English? Or learn both at their own pace?


This family has 2 little boys. One is almost 3 years old and the other will be 1. Both parents sign.
Thanks ahead of time.

By Keeper from Blue Ridge Mts., NC


September 30, 20100 found this helpful

I taught my daughter some sign language starting at 10 months. Granted, we didn't continue using it once she started talking, but children are quick to pick it up and associate it with the spoken word. Never too early to start.


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September 30, 20100 found this helpful

Babies can learn sign language before they can talk. It is never too early and it will benifit the communication between the child and father.


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September 30, 20100 found this helpful

It's never too early! I think it would be really good to teach both at the same time. I recently read an interesting article about how the brain develops and thinks in terms of communication. If not deaf when we learn to speak our communication is processed in the brain verbally but if deaf it's visually.


(I read the article because one of my two best friends from childhood was born deaf and she verified that she processes visually first. She learned visually first). In my humble opinion, a child who learns both at the same time has a huge advantage. :-)

September 30, 20100 found this helpful

The child should learn both at once. The child will understand speaking and signing at the same time, but will sign on his own before speaking.

October 1, 20100 found this helpful

Children are hardwired to pick up any language that is used around them, so they will grow up naturally bilingual-- lucky kids!


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October 1, 20100 found this helpful

Thank you for all your great replies.

October 2, 20100 found this helpful

They have researched signing with "babies", yes that's right, and they learned that babies could communicate basic things like hunger, or toilet training, etc. when they signed. My son learned to read best when he was engaged in signing while reading aloud.


They should start signing as soon as the child understands, it will not impede their speaking in anyway, but may allow them to express themselves better and earlier. Good luck.

October 2, 20100 found this helpful

I work with special needs preschoolers. We teach sign along with spoken language, whether their needs are speech or not.
I think it is very liberating for a child to be bilingual. So from the perspective of communicating with a parent let alone a peer it is huge for this child to have spoken language as well as a second language of sign.

April 20, 20140 found this helpful

Sign language interpreter here. I think that kids should learn as soon as they're born. Hearing parents speak to their children as soon as they're born, so why not sign to them?


I've seen many of my Deaf friends who are parents do this, whether the parents are both Deaf or hearing and Deaf.


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June 15, 20160 found this helpful

Absolutely learn simultaneously. The brain soaks up multiple languages easily when you are young. There is a neurological window from birth to about age 9 during which it is easiest to acquire new languages.

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August 15, 2007

I am getting ready for Christmas. I would like to present O Holy Night in sign language to my family for their gift. It would be free pretty much if I could find the words that I could print on printer. Does anyone know how I could do that? I do have a sign language book but then I would have to use a copier. I just see that as very difficult. Thanks in advance.

Sandy from Baltimore, MD


August 17, 20070 found this helpful

Hi there! That's a great idea!

Just type them up using a sign language font instead of regular words.

There are some great ones located here:



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August 17, 20070 found this helpful

here's videos

August 17, 20070 found this helpful

Make an "original" of what you want using a copier & the sign language images from your book, if you cannot find the sign language images online to insert into your text or a translator program to print the sign words for you. Then scan the "original" into your computer & print them.

By ruthvaleygal (Guest Post)
August 17, 20070 found this helpful

There is a website where you can get the sheet music to just about any song. Not sure of the exact website, but you could google Sheet music and get it I think.


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August 18, 20070 found this helpful

The problem with just copying the hand signs is they may not be a true representation of the word. An example: If you want to convey the word "job," it would be spelled, J-O-B. But its hand sign is very different--it is only one sign, not the three individual signs for the letters. True signing has individual signs that carry the meaning of specific words, so one rarely spells words out. If you spelled out each individual word, it would be inaccurate signing.


The construction of phrases isn't the English form either. It is actually the French form, where the noun comes last. Example: If you want to ask someone their name, you would not spell out "w-h-a-t i-s y-o-u-r n-a-m-e?" or sign, "What is your name?", but rather give the three individual signs for "you-name-what."

Signing changes in differing geographic locations too, although the signs may be related to each other. To make matters worse, people use different types of signs depending on how they were raised. Some methods of signing are totally different, making communication difficult to impossible for even experienced signers. Your best bet would be to use standard American Sign Language.

By (Guest Post)
August 20, 20070 found this helpful

As a sign language interpreter I recommend to first know what from of signing they use, such as a.s.l. or e s.l. and then go look it up on the American sign language website.
good luck


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August 20, 20070 found this helpful

Sandy here. I would like this to be very simple. this is not going to be presented to deaf people. I would just like to do something special. I am sort of familiar with asl. so I figure that is what I would use. I used to dance in a church group. physically I am unable to do that right now but I could sign. I have tried going to the website at oregon university. I find lots of descriptions but nothing on how to type out the pictures.

By odellcouch2006 (Guest Post)
November 26, 20070 found this helpful

We are getting ready for Christmas at our church and we were wanting to present the song we three kings in sign language, but havent been able to find it. If you have a version that is free, that I can print off, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.

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