A little more than a year ago, I found msyelf speaking to a woman at the mall who had a special needs child. She gave me a lot of tips and advice for speech delays. The one that struck out the most to me was about sign language. She advised me to use it sparingly, lest my daughter resort to it instead of vocal speech. I thought she sounded absolutely right, I would not let Katy take the easy way out.
But recently, Katy has developed quite a good sign language vocabulary (is that even how you say it). Her therapists and I have taught her a few basic words ("eat," "drink," "ouch," "ball," "give me," etc.) I can see Katy's excitement when she can communicate something to me, even if its not via words.
Today, she was watching a baby Einstein video that she hasn't watched in months. Its called "Baby Wordsworth" and it teaches all the basic vocabulary having to do with the house. Whats more, they put a person signing the word as it is spoken, illustrated and written.
Katy was so excited that she litterally tripped over and fell! The people were signing the very same words she already knew. They signed "blanket" and she signed "blanket." They signed "tree" and she signed "tree." She was so wild with excitement that she began to twirl and run through the house as she watched and participated with the video, each time running to me so that I could see that she understood.
I was floored with exitement. Suddenly, my daughter could talk to me! I decided that night to scrap the whole "make her use her voice" plan. Katy has been trapped in herself for long enough, and if she wants to kick off with sign language, so be it.