I’m sure there’s a pronoun and auxiliary verb being used in this video…. “I’m clean” for “cleaning”.

I am not, however, entirely sure that her treatment of the car is right!



The latest Portage visit suggested that using language – signed or spoken – to choose between options was Daisy’s next step to reinforce that language can give her ownership and control over her world.

So currently, the bedtime routine now includes her choosing which order to get her toys: dog or bear; boy elephant or girl elephant; big bear or little bear; cat or elephant.

She is doing well with it, just about geting the idea of choosing. Last night, she did leap from bed and take one of the toys from my hand and I was about to tell her that she had to use signs, but then she put another toy into my empty hand, ran back to bed and waited to be given the choice!

She also copied beautifully the signs for both the question “What does Daisy want?” and the reply “Daisy wants… please”.

We have also transferred the game to the bathroom where I ask her whether she wants the pink or blue soap.

We’ve not had the “want” sign spontaneously yet but, for the previous two years, I’ve yearned for her to be able to tell Santa what she wants for Christmas and – provided Santa can sign – we’re nearly there this year!!

Linking Words and Names

This seems to be a huge step forward: Daisy is now choosing her books at bedtime by name! Not always the name the author chose, mind you, but still a name that makes perfect sense!

The Fox and The Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith – by far her favourite book – has tbe privelege of getting its proper name as she signs Fox and Star.

Julia Donaldson is a little more individual: The Gruffalo is generally “Mouse, Fox, G” because we use the ‘G’ fingerspelling for “Gruffalo”; and Room on the Broom is “Hat, Cat, Dog”.

Where The Wild Things Are has become “Where Animals”; The Hungry Caterpillar loses its protagonist and has become just “Hungry”!

The film Zootropolis is “Fox amd Rabbit film”.

I’m no speech and language or languahe acquisition or signing expert but knowing that things have names and an identity seems a really good thing in terms of her understanding the world – a necessary step to developing a theory of mind, which I’m pretty sure she already has – and in using language to gain a level of control over the world and make choices.

Also, there has been an increasing confidence in signing and this linking of signs in the last few days shows to me, again, an intuitive playful understanding of the power of language.


I’ve wondered for a while whether Daisy would end up reading and writing before her speech came on. She is so interested in books and this blog shows how many of her words have come from her reading stories. Often at night time, ill read her a story and find her ten minutes later ‘reading’ the same or another book to her teddies.

She is certainly aware that some shapes convey meaning: she’ll trace the letters of logos on a t-shirt or on ky car or on shop signs. I prepared a lot of letter / phoneme cards and phonics matchibg games but she seems to prefer finding writing in the wild, as it were. 

And she got very excited on Father’s Day because she’d recognised a “D” on a World’s Best Dad medal. 

Which isn’t surprising: the sign we use for her name is the fingerspelling of “D” which looks like, well, a D.

But today, she was on my laptop and I typed her name and she spent ages carefully finding and pressing the right letters to copy it. Correctly, I might add. And this afternoon she found my post-its and board pen and unprompted, unsupervised wrote this

And to me – as a very proud and biased Daddy – looks like a very clear and carefully crafted ‘D’.

Shoes Off

A simple quick post here.

Daisy knows and has known the BSL sign for shoes for ages. It’s familiar, secure, both used and understood. 

Admittedly, her dominant hand slips of her secondary hand, wrist, forearm, elbow and half way up her upper arm, but the meaning is clear.

She also much prefers being barefoot – possibly something else inherited or learned from me. I took her to the park yesterday and as we approached she tugged my arm and did the shoe sign in reverse. Her secondary hand over her primary one, slipped off and away. A very clear “Can I take my shoes off, please, Daddy?” question.

I have no idea how to actually formally sign that question but she found a way to ask it!

The Ghost Game

Is four too young to introduce a child to the conventions of the Gothic fiction genre?

Daisy has recently discovered the joys of the torch app on a mobile. She’ll turn it on and illuminate stuff and zoom in on it to inspect it – careers in the police or science – possibly both in forensics- beckon perhaps. 

She’s also become taken with the idea of torchlit baths with my phone propped up in the corner! The other day, I was giving her a bath like that – the first time she did it – and my wife walked in. First thought wasn’t “Oh, the bulbs gone in the light,” it was “Oh for heaven’s sake, what are you two up to now?” as she turned the lights back on.

Anyway, in addition to torchlit baths, I’ve also shown her that she can make the light red by putting her finger over it. Instantly fascinated. And as the bath runs, we now have the Ghost Game: she’ll cover the torch and I’ll approach going “woooooo!” and as I get nearer she’ll whip her finger off, brandish the white light at me and I’ll shrink back รก la Peter Cushing. And the the cycle continues. And she swaps roles, being the ghost as well. 

She is so going to thank me in ten years when she reads The Red Room!

And now she’s started signing for the game by using the actions of the ghost – accompanied by a “WoooOOOoo” – which is pretty much the ghost sign in BSL.


I have waited so long for this sign. For Daisy to use language – signed or otherwise – for communication rather than transaction. Currently, pretty much all her language is about transaction: getting stuff she wants done. 

It’s because of this that – in the tumbleweed moment at our meeting with the Educational Psychologist when she asked what outcomes we wanted – I asked that “to express her feelings and emotions” be used at her desired EHCP outcome. 

And, as is typical of her, after months of using the sign and modelling it – particularly with the help of The Fox And The Star, which tells us that “Even when the rain fell, Fox felt fine…”, suddenly she uses it spontaneously and entirely appropriately in a completely different context. In this case, whilst getting into the bath. One foot in, one foot out, she looked at me, looked at her hands and very carefully, very deliberately raised her thumbs. 

A minute later, the ‘good’ sign was linked to other signs: bath good, daddy good, Daisy good….

This morning, I asked if she was good and she shook her head. In fairness, it was very early and she did appear to be in a somewhat grumpy mood. But, when she found my laptop and we put Frozen on, we had another little happy squeal, a finger pointed to the screen and the “good” sign returned!

And it is the cutest sign ever!


It’s one of those difficult milestones for Daisy: does she know when she has been to toilet?

How do you know this when the child in question is non-verbal? She had never come to us in the past distressed because her nappy was full but that doesn’t mean she didn’t know….

But now we can confidently say “yes” to this question.

When she has gone, she will sometimes come up to us, point to the nappy and blow a big fat raspberry to say that she has gone! Ppphhhtthhhhpppp! Not really a word, not a sign, but certainly enough to make herself understood.

If asked then, “Have you done a poo?” she will reply “Yes,” and always be right. Sometimes she makes the noise but, when asked, say “no,” which generally means she’s had a good fart and wanted to share that news!