Little Hands Baby Sign, I'm a parent just like you
Hello! My name is Kathryn and I am Little Hands Baby Sign. First and foremost I am proud Mama to Sam who is 4 and Amy who is 2. Home is Brentford in West London.
Why set up Little Hands Baby Sign?
Before starting our family, I worked in the deaf community for nearly 10 years. I learned British Sign Language and worked with a range of deaf adults and children.
When our son came along in 2013, we decided that I would stay at home with him and I have been busy ever since playing peekaboo, feeding, cleaning up baby food, changing nappies, washing, playing games, going to the park, pointing out planes, trucks, buses, singing songs and watching Thomas the Tank Engine. You know how it is!
As Sam grew and became more independent I started to want something for myself, and I decided to use all the skills I had from my ‘working’ life to set up Little Hands Baby Sign. It’s was scary and exciting and I was nervous, but it was great to be my own boss.
We launched Little Hands in September 2015 and had a fantastic time meeting local parents and families all who wanted to sign. We learnt so much together, not just everyday helpful signs for the family, but also cheeky signs for mums like ‘wine’ and ‘chocolate’! I also made some wonderful friends, who I still see regularly and treasure dearly.
We then took a little break as we welcomed our daughter Amy in 2016. She is wonderful and completes our little family, but my my my she has been a terrible sleeper. So, Little Hands has taken a longer break than expected, but I’m finally getting some sleep and I’m very excited to be relaunching our classes in 2018!
How do you know British Sign Language?
Before having children, I worked within the deaf community for nearly 10 years; first at Action on Hearing Loss and then at the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS). I have worked with a huge range of professional deaf adults and amazing deaf children all of whom use a range of communication methods. I learnt British Sign Language (BSL) slowly and over several years and I am very proud to say that I gained my Level 6 NVQ in British Sign Language in 2010. This means I have equivalent to a degree in BSL and I worked really hard for it. I am also a semi trained English/BSL interpreter, and one day I will go and get my final training stripes.
BSL is a wonderful and complex language. It has its own grammar and structure and is simply beautiful. It is a living language with a vibrant and active community. At Little Hands Baby Sign we use BSL in our classes and I will show you how to use it with your baby or child.
Do you sign with your children?
Yes! Of course! We started using signs with Sam when he was about 9 months old and with Amy from birth. They are little sponges and have absorbed all the signs we show them. It has not stopped them from talking at all, far from it. Signing gave them a way to ‘talk’ to us from early on and they have loved the independence and voice it has given them.
Sam was all about transport, his favourite signs were ‘train’ and ‘car‘ and ‘plane’ – the joy of growing up in the flight path! Sam enjoyed signing and was good at using ‘more‘, ‘please‘ and ‘thank you‘. But Amy is my little singing protege, she has been exposed to signing from the word go and was happily signing ‘more’ from about 5/6months old – see her little video! She has gained in confidence and is an excellent communicator. She easily has about 50 signs now, she’s all about animals and giraffe was one of her first signs, followed by cat, owl, dog, fish, bird, monkey, elephant…… the list goes on. It’s also been very special watching Sam teach her signs, namely ‘dinosaur’ but also really lovely signs like butterfly. Watching her sign as encouraged Sam to relearn signs and more complex signs. We now to have this lovely little code language we use together.
My husband and I introduced signs one at a time trying to make sure they could see a picture or the object we were talking about so they could link the sign to it. We didn’t get much back from them for a while, but we kept using the same signs and then they understood and signed back to us. Sometimes the signs are really subtle and not very clear, but they are definitely there. The look on their faces when they realise you understand and give them what they ask for is very special. Amy is now saying new words daily, but she still signs to show us what she wants. Signing has made communication so much easier in our house and even Grandma and Grandad sign with us now!
I hope this gives you an idea of who we are, but please come along to one of our classes and find out more!
Kathryn, I’m parent just like you
My babies, Sam and Amy
Signing with Sam in our garden
Our little family