Signed Vocabulary

This is currently her biggest category but used very selectively. It appears to me generally, her mum increasingly and very rarely the school! Picked her up from school on her birthday and she signed “Daddy” “cake” and “home” – all of which are very secure and unremarkable signs – and the school were blown away! Obviously the sentence was “Daddy, take my cake home!”


Starting with the basics and Proper Nouns

“Daddy” has become very consistently used, usually as part of a command. Usually to get up and entertain her.

“Mummy” she understands but I’ve yet to see her use it.

“D” for Daisy – we use the fingerspelling sign for D as an abbreviation for her name, both in signing and verbally now. She uses it to signify herself too.

“Girl” is a new sign – used to differentiate between her boy and girl elephants!

“Baby” is used pretty much only in imaginative play as she swaddled one or another of her toys.

“Home” or “House” is fairly secure now.

Ironically, as it is July, “Santa” is developing… well, we are fingerspelling “S” for Santa. That is thanks to a new-found joy in the book “Stick Man”. But my mission over the next year is to get her able to have a conversation with Santa, come December so this is a good first step!

Let’s move onto animals:

On Saturday 3rd June, we took her to see Beauty and the Beast. Today, 48 hours after we last signed it, we were driving past the cinema where we saw it and she was sat in the back of the car and signed “Beast” or, perhaps more generically, “Animal”.

“Elephant” has come from a set of knitted woollen elephants she received as a gift this week… which prompted a renewed interest in the Large family series of books by Jill Murphy particularly Five Minutes Peace.




“Dragon” is increasingly secure but very similar to snake!

“Fox” – thank you to Coralie Bickford-Smith’s The Fox and The Star

“Mouse”, “Owl” and “Snake” – as well as “Fox” all came from The Gruffalo.

“Pig” has been used fairly frequently, thanks to Peppa Pig!

Monkey is becoming secure now as a request for her “That’s Not My Monkey” or “Monkey Puzzle” books.

“Frog” came from her Dear Zoo book and her That’s Not My… series, which includes a frog one.

“Bunny” and “rabbit” has come the The Fox and The Star.

“Hamster” is used to identify both the real pet hamster and her toy plastic one.


Places now include


“Cinema” – which is also used as a general “film” sign.



“Swimming Pool”

And, staying outside, we have:

“Tree” which she has started using and manages to differentiate from a very similar “cinema”!!



In terms of daily routines, we have arguments over the following

“Bed” and “Bath”. When I tell her it’s time for bed, she’ll sign for bath. I’d say she also does it vice versa but she doesn’t. Not because she can’t but because she loves her baths! Addendum to the above, we have had a few occasions when she has signed for “bed” rather than bath to have an early night.
Toilet” has come via Makaton as we trained her to use it.
“Wash hands” has, for obvious reasons, come along with “Toilet” and is distinct from her sign for “Bath”.
“Roundabout” she signed today – 3rd June – to signify a play park. Interestingly, I’ve never used the sign with her and whilst it is a fairly literal sign, she used it exactly right, supported with the words “round round”.

“Shoe” was one of her first words she learned to understand in a sentence: where are your shoes? Now it’s a very secure sign, although she extends it too far and her hand travels up her whole arm! For her variation to mean “Shoes off”, see here.

“Hat” has come out recently thanks to a renewed interest in Room On The Broom.

“Car” is now secure, often linked with the owner of the car: “Daddy’s car” and “Mummy’s car”… I am slightly concerned that she has stopped referring to my car as “Daddy’s” but as “Daisy’s”….

Food is important for me, so her food nouns include the following:


“Biscuit” was used beautifully clearly today – 1st June 2017 – as I came up with a couple of biscuits! That is, for me, fairly good evidence.

“Cake” came for Daisy’s mum during a trip to Costa on 6th June 2017, albeit signed onto the palm of her hand rather than the back. “Chocolate” is also often linked to the word “cake”!

“Toast” / “Bread” came out today as we were arguing about whether she was going to eat the creamy porridge I’d made her or not!


“Milk” is used consistently now. She always has a cup of warm milk before bed – always has done – and now is asking for more milk once she’s in bed. It seems rude not to let her!

“Juice” and “Cup” are used generally to show that she’s thirsty.

“Ice cream” is a sign she’s known for ages – I signed it without saying anything at lunchtime and she bolted straight to the freezer. There was actually ice cream there; I’m not that mean! This evening – 2nd June – she signed it herself to ask for some. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any at that point!

Other nouns include

“Ghost” somewhat bizarrely. See here for details.


“Love” although it’s generally only used in one ritualistic context: the Daddy loves Daisy; Daisy loves Daddy adjacency pair.

“Up” and “Down” which are not technically verbs but which she uses as verbs and generally imperatives: “Get up!” And “Get down”. There is a range of circumstances in which she uses them to mean various “Get up,” “Pick me up,” and “Pick that up,” often referring to a toy, a stool or a table she’s knocked over.

“Wonder” is used albeit only in the context of single Twinkle Twinkle Little Star so may be more ritualistic than semantic.

“Walk” came out today – 1st June 2017 – for the first time whilst sitting in MacDonald’s in Salisbury. It seemed to be her way of bringing the somewhat unappetizing pleasures of McDonald’s to an end.

“Swim” was used today – 2nd June 2017 – possibly as a verb, or a noun “Swimming”. It is very close to her sign for bath which is understandable. But she did collect her swimming costume. And later went to the bathroom having signed “Bath”. So I think she understands the difference.


“Hungry” and “Tasty” she uses the same sign for, rubbing her belly.

“Finished” was a godsend to use with her: shed accept that her time at the park was over once you’d signed “Finished”. She does occasionally use it herself now in combination with bed, usually. Increasingly now, she is using the “finished” sign – generally when she is having her hair washed and she’s not in the mood. This has now been applied to her in the following contexts: when she has finished eating and when she has finished on the toilet.

“Good” is starting to come with a lot of work at the moment (July ’17). I really want her to be able to communicate her feelings – hence why I have put that as a success criteria on her ECHP application. Thanks to The Fox And The Star, where “even when the rain fell, Fox felt fine,” it’s starting to come. Although she is struggling to close her fist and get her thumb up: random finger or fingers often poke out! For an update on this sign, see here.

“Poorly” and “tired”, the little fingers trailing down her chest, has come out this holiday as well.

“Please” “Thank you” and “Sorry” have all come in a flurry over August and September.

Determiners and Pronouns

“More” was her very first word. I can distinctly remember the day. It was coming up to Easter last year, 2016, and a gorgeous day. We were walking back from Morrison’s and had a bag of mini eggs. She had one and obviously wanted another so I put another one in my hand and signed “more” before opening it; then made her sign the same. She was doing it spontaneously before we finished the pack! “More” is now commonly linked to “Chocolate” and “Biscuit”.

“Me” “I” and “You” are fairly secure. I did notice, tonight – June 2017 – that she was signing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and pointed to herself for “You” because I’d pointed to her for “You” but then corrected herself and pointed to me. So there seems to be a genuine understanding of the words.

Questions seem to be a new category coming out this holiday (August 2017), which bodes well for her developing curiosity about the world.