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It's hard for me to think of a specific instance in which a tantrum has been deterred with signing, although I'm sure it happens for us everyday. Miles is 2.4 years old and still replaces the first letter in most words with the letter "d", so "big" is "dig" and it can be truly frustrating for me and for him when I can't understand him. So we sign.

"Juice" sounds like "shoes"- "baby" and "peepee" sound the same, there are a ton of words he can't clearly say, but he can sign. He'll sign while he's talking so I know what he's saying. I honestly didn't think I would need or use sign that much, except for fun, after he started talking- but it has truly been a lifesaver. He has a huge signing vocabulary thanks to Joann's classes. Before things even need to escalate into frustration, I can say, "I don't know what you are saying, can you sign it?" and he usually can sign a few words to let me know he hears a helicopter, or whatever.

I can feel really good when I hear research about bilingual babies having a benefit in other learning areas. Because I know he is learning true ASL and not baby sign. I am teaching him to be bilingual. He will use sign for the rest of his life, as will I.

I also want to say, I signed before I took Joann's class and I thought I could teach Miles on my own. But he wasn't taking to it. Once we started the classes and Joann opened my eyes to HOW to teach him and WHAT to teach him he started signing immediately. I am so grateful that we took her class. I can't imagine how difficult it would be for me to understand him without sign.

Wendy Kwansy, San Diego

I absolutely KNOW that signing has saved us tantrums. Carter is slowly starting to talk, but still doesn't communicate verbally much. He was completely done the other day and tired, crabby, hot......he was standing in the kitchen by the refrigerator moaning, groaning and crying because I wouldn't open the refrigerator. He likes to stand in the fridge and take inventory of everything, looking at it, removing it, shaking it and I didn't feel like it. I had told him no. He finally signed "open" and I said no....then he signed "eat" and "cheese" . I said ohhhh, you're hungry. He started his crazy giggling which means mama understood him. I got him cheese and off he went, happy. Not really a tantrum, but he was able to make himself understood.

Also, he says "juice", "shoe" and "zoo" and they all sound EXACTLY alike. Sometimes he just says them out of the blue and I have no clue what he means...but he knows the sign for each of them and I say, show me the sign, so he does and then we know what in the heck he means!

Wendy T., San Diego
Prior to sign language at 9 months Molly would cry to let me know she wanted milk. She never cried for food, just milk. After she learned the sign I can clearly remember the day when she just scooted over to me, grabbed the bag of my pant leg and when I looked gave me the milk sign. She started doing that at night too so I knew just what she wanted and she left the crying behind. After that success she started trying to communicate more and cry less when she wanted something.

"Not for baby". This was a big one and I think a lifesaver when she started to get into everything around 9-10 months. She learned quickly what she couldn't touch and she understood. She would sometimes scoot over to something like the water cooler and look at me and give me the sign "not for baby". Then she would move on. To this day (she is 22 months) she is pretty good about not touching stuff she is not supposed to. I still use "not for baby" but I switch it up with "not for Molly" or "that's so and so's". As a result I have not had to resort to putting away all the breakables in the house or getting oven guards. She's never broken anything. Occasionally she likes to test me (well, she is approaching 2) but she doesn't have tantrums when I say "not for Molly". In fact I've noticed that the tantrums are much more associated with the word "no". I think it just comes out more harsh and she responds to that with upset.
I personally can say that your sign language class offers much more that just teaching a child sign language. You can learn that off a DVD. What it offers is real-life scenarios in how to use sign language to communicate with your baby in order to reduce their stress and frustration as well as yours. I feel like if I had not taken the sign language classes I would not be the mom I am today. My daughter and I share a very special bond and I enjoy every day and every hour I have with her. I am not frustrated by her and she is for the most part not frustrated with me (except when I have to say no of course :-)). I think the class really trained me in methods for gentle teaching and discipline and working with my child rather than being at the effect of tantrums and upset

Luana, Del Cerro

"Our daughter just did her first sign...Daddy! She is 5 months old. Joann taught us how to sign and let us know that persistance is key."

Melissa and Danny, San Diego

"Although my son didn't pick up signing right away, I stuck with it and all of a sudden he was able to communicate with me that he wanted "more", to "eat", or needed some "milk". He was less frustrated because I was able to show him that I could understand what he was saying. It was exciting that to add other words he recognized, like "dog", and a special bonus when he learned manners like, "please" and "thank you". Baby signing is a rewarding way to communicate with your baby at a much earlier age - and it helps you understand the babbles as they become words because there is a sign associated to it."

Candy, Oklahoma
" I was having BIG problems with our son throwing his bowls, cups, food, etc off his high-chair at meals. I introduced 'all done', in a different context and within a few hours, he used it at the highchair. I immediately took him out of the chair. No spaghetti on the floor! Just like that, the problem was eliminated! From then on, he would sign 'all done' and give me a chance to respond before throwing the contents of his tray on the floor."

Lisa, San Diego

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