February 29, 2008

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Talking with fingers


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Although Ethan cannot really speak in proper words yet, his communication skills in terms of signing has improved tremendously due to frequent exposure to the Baby Einstein DVD that incorporates signing, My Favorite Places.  He will now eagerly await the part in the program where the instructor or kid makes the sign for the appropriate word and often, he will sign the word even before the word appears on the screen.

As a kiasu concerned mommy who only wants the best for her child, I must admit that I am a tad worried that Ethan is experiencing speech delay.  They are some friends of mine who offer some form of consolidation and reassurance in that their own sons also went through the exact same phase.  It truly appears though that Ethan has lots to say, but it’s just that we cannot yet make head or tail out of what he is saying.  He understands what we say and can respond correctly, but when he needs to say something, he prefers to point or to lead us to what he wants to do.  For example, he will *throw* our hand at the fridge when he wants us to open it, or he will *throw* my hand at the milk bottle when he wants a feed.

I’ve also contacted a speech therapist in KL who recommended that we visit a local speech therapist in Penang.  I am hesitant because I do not wish to subject Ethan to (maybe) weekly therapy sessions.  If I can help it, that is.  Another suggestion brought forward, also by our pediatrician, is to expose him to as many of his peers as much as possible.  So we are currently looking into options for this as well.

Nevertheless, his ability to imitate and sign has spurred me to purchase a baby signing book and DVD.  Coincidentally, a few weeks ago, Pete’s good friend’s sister contacted me (blogging has many advantages you know!) and told me about her unique site, Baby Signs Malaysia.  She assured me that allowing and teaching Ethan to sign will not impair his ability to acquire speech, but on the contrary it would probably pave the way for him.  Just like crawling comes before walking, signing will come naturally before talking.  So I purchased the I Can Sign! Animals book + DVD from her last week (it was on offer at RM40; regular retail price RM60).  It contains a board book and a 20-minute DVD which teaches the baby the signs used for 6 animals, namely dog, bird, fish, cat, monkey and turtle.  I was excited to share this with Ethan, and when I did that evening, he was glued to the TV for the entire duration.  I know he loves animals so this was the perfect DVD for him.  He didn’t take to the signs at first but when I showed him the DVD again the next evening, I was delighted that he could sign dog, cat, bird and monkey.  Sometimes he still needs to be prompted, but to me this was definitely an achievement in itself.

I also bought My First Spoken Words: Babies, which introduces six words too, by playing the word as the baby turns the page.  Ethan took one look at this book, flipped it open and did some fiddling with it, and after a minute, we discovered to our horror that there was no more sound coming out from it!  We had to purposely drop the book on the floor to trigger the sound mechanism again.  SIGH.

Anyway, I really hope that Ethan will complement his signing with his talking soon.  I can’t wait to engage in conversation with this chatterbox of mine!

 

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