It's a hot topic. All parents of deaf children must make the decision. To sign or not to sign, that is the question. I posted back in June about our use of keyword signing. I am truly thankful for the way that sign language has helped to bridge the communication gap for Lucas. And even though Lucas is doing soooooo well with his receptive and expressive spoken language right now, sign language still plays a small role in our daily lives. Here's how:
1. Lucas still signs some words expressively along with his spoken word or approximation. We then know exactly what he's talking about. "Milk", for example, still comes out like "muh" which also sounds like his "more." "Cat", for example, sounds like "at", which also sounds like his "hat." When he signs too, he makes himself clearer, and cuts down on his frustrations.
2. When Lucas takes his ear off and leaves it somewhere (gasp!) or it falls off because the wig tape has lost its stickiness for the day, it comes in handy to be able to sign "where's your CI?" and for him to go and get it. Yes, this one is truly a blessing. It think it's time to invest in some critter clips.
3. Bathtime and I have a love-hate relationship. I love it, because Lucas loves it so much. He would be happy to spend the whole day in the bathtub, in fact. And I hate it, because he can't hear me when I talk to him while bathing. So, when he doesn't have his back to me, I sign to him. These signed expressions can range anywhere from "sit your &@! down" to "you are a fish" to "I love you, my little monkey" to "All done! It's time for bed!" Maybe someday Lucas will get the Nucleus 5 processor, and bathtime can become a richer language experience. But for now, I just get splashed a lot.
4. When it's bedtime, and he hands me his ear, our last parting sentiments are "I love you!" when our signing hands meet in excitement. It's my favorite.
Sign language is not our primary means of communication by any means, but I'm really glad that we've continued with it minimally. However, I am also really thankful that he doesn't have to rely upon it. At this time last year, I'm not quite sure I could have predicted that. M.I.R.A.C.L.E.