Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rude Comments About ASL and Baby Signs

Smart Baby Sign Language reader, Monica, asked:

How do you handle people who are negative about signing with your child? I have gotten a rude comment implying that I was looking for attention or sympathy by treating my child as disabled. I was floored.
Wow! I'm a little amazed, too. I had one or two people in my life who were a little concerned that signing with my daughter would delay her speech. But they were never rude or pushy about it. My daughter doesn't understand that when she talks with people on the phone, they can't see her. She often signs and talks while on the phone, which forces me to "translate" to the other person. At times like this I have gotten little comments, like "That's because you teach her sign language." But seriously, that's the worst.

I'm sorry people have been rude to you. I tried to come up with a rude phrase you could sign to the person. The best I could come up with was FOOL. It kind of looks like flicking snot out of your nose at the person. Look it up on IGNORANT is just not as fun to sign.

Now that I've let my vindictive side shine through (or is that more passive-aggressive?), I have a few real-life scenarios that may help you out, depending upon how well you know Ms. Rudeness:

  1. Explain that you want your child to be bilingual and American Sign Language is the fourth most used language in the United States (NICD).
  2. Mention that babies who sign often develop a larger vocabulary and longer sentence length (Baby Signs).
  3. Invite the individual over to your house and let them see first hand how cool baby sign is. Then ask them to babysit!
  4. Tell Ms. Rudeness a cute story about how baby sign has improved your interaction with your child.
  5. Say, "I'm sorry you feel that way," and leave it at that.
  6. No matter what you say to Ms. Rudeness, vent about it to your baby sign language loving friends (online or off).

Hmm...after reading that list again, I think I might need to go look up some more choice words in baby sign language (ASL).


Michele September 28, 2008 at 12:28 PM  

Education is the only thing that helps the ignorant. I always replied with shock to such comments. "You don't know about the benefits of signing with baby? (gasp, followed by a worried expresson!) Here, let me tell ya." I always shared how many words my baby verbally spoke ( she was way ahead) and let them know that signing increased her interest in language and therefore accelerated her spoken language as well aa her ASL. Now, I just direct them to my blog ( or this one)

Holly Tried It September 29, 2008 at 8:53 PM  


You are a genius! That whole shocked bit is perfect. That turns the tables on the whole situation. You become the expert.


Kerry February 14, 2010 at 5:29 PM  

Regarding the "she doesn't understand that people can't see her on the phone".. my older son never signed and does the same thing- "shows" people things while he is on the phone. Definitely not an issue due to signing!

My younger son is much more relaxed and happy when he can communicate (with signs), since he is far too young to speak yet.

2blessed2stress June 28, 2010 at 6:32 PM  

I don’t quite understand why if someone has a different opinion than you, you refer to them as IGNORANT. I came to this site looking for baby signs and was not only shocked but hurt by the comments. I have five kids and have done daycare for over 15 years, my kids that signed for the most part WERE behind on their speech, and for this reason chose NOT to teach my kids sign language as they were growing up. Fast forward to my now 2 year old who has NOT uttered more than 2-3 words in her life, It was recommended that at this point we do look into teaching her some basic signs.... and that’s what I came looking for, not to be called ignorant or "Fool" for feeling it delays their speech (and for the record all 3 of her older sisters talked verbally at 9 months and sentences by a year.... so it's just something in her make up that makes her more quiet than her sisters). I just am appalled that in this day and age, anyone would be so quick to judge others. I would never judge you for choosing your path, so why would you be as snarky to the people who think differently.

MJ August 14, 2010 at 7:50 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
MJ August 14, 2010 at 7:52 PM  

I agree about the rude comments. At the babies and sign language site, it has ways to deal with those who are critical of baby signs:

It is important for us parents to not feel like we have to explain ourselves for our wise decisions, but when we have to, or choose to, it's a good feeling to know that we are not alone.

Thanks so much for posting this and your wonderful blog!


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