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.

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Good!

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!

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

A couple of days ago, whilst reading Coralie Bickford-Smith’s gorgeous The Fox and The Star – when did books get so good looking? – we were merrily signing Fox and Star for obvious reasons and, on the page where Fox looks up and sees a sky full of stars – which always elicits a “Yay!” from her, so there’s some sense of following a narrative going on. –  

fox and star stars

Anyway, at this page, I started singing and signing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It seemed an obvious thing to do. Despite my singing voice.

But Daisy joined in! Certainly the signing and some humming along to the melody. FABULOUS!

I asked her, “Do you sing that at school?”

“Yeah,” she replied.

BRILLIANT!!

So, as you do, we repeated the song over and over. Tried to do it to an audience of one – her mum – the following day without success.

But here’s the thing.

We went on a road trip the next day. Yesterday. And tried to get her to sing-sign again. Again without success. But, being, generally, an idiot, I mused later “I wonder if we could get her to sign with her feet….”

This was perhaps at nine in the morning.

At seven at night, book number three was again The Fox and The Star after The Gruffalo’s Child and The Highway Rat. Again, we reached the skyful of stars and signed Twinkle Twinkle… and she stuck her foot out! Clenching and unclenching her toes to make a star sign, tapping her head with her big toe like a contortionist to wonder. 

Either she heard my earlier comment, understood it, remembered it ten hours later and responded when the context invited it… or she is just as bonkers as her dad!

fox adn star