Let me respond to what Nonna has posted about using sign language at an early age. My own children are a few years older than Nonna’s and she and her husband, Larry, are their godparents. I grew up with Larry, but didn’t meet Nonna until college. Aren’t life’s twists amazing! At the time her son Jim was born, we lived very close to each other in Erie, PA. Once it was determined that he was profoundly deaf, intervention and the long road advocating for her son began. All family and friends were encouraged to begin to learn simple signs. We were given signs to convey our names. My family’s were initials M, J, and A off the top of the head. Not sure why??
As Nonna indicated, her youngest son, Sam, could sign before he could talk. As the boys got older, they became very proficient and even developed a signing short hand. This lead to some interesting situations, especially when I needed help signing or interpreting. I found that things I asked Sam to interpret were being signed just the opposite. “Get out of the pool.” was signed “Stay in the pool!” and “No more fooling around, go to sleep!” became “We can PLAY!!”
At the school where I am currently teaching we have a very unique program called PLUS – Positive Learning Utilizing Strategies for students with identified learning disabilities. Our sixth grade teacher has introduced finger spelling as a means for the students to practice their Spelling Words in a tactile way. They love signing to each other and, hopefully, we will see improvement in their assessments. I'll keep you posted.
I have to add to Mémé's story about my boys... In Tucson, a deaf person can get into a movie for half price. So the boys decided that Jim would wear one hearing aid and Sam would wear the other one when they went to the theater... need I say more...