Behind starburst eyes

New Years Resolution Update

I don’t often make New Years Resolutions, I think the concept is overrated and tends to lead to personal disappointment when they are broken shortly thereafter. Last year however, I did make one (to learn ASL) while I didn’t learn as much as I’d wanted to on my own (the syntax really is something that has to be experienced to be learnt properly, at least for me it was) I didn’t give up. Instead after trying my best on my own, I enrolled in my local college’s ASL 101 course. I finished it with an 3.3 GPA (88%) and I’m proud of all I’ve learnt. The instructor was invaluable to the amount I learnt. She was patient with all of my mistakes and would take the time to show me the correct signs. That is on top of the actual course load she taught us all! I am now enrolled in the second course with the same instructor and due to start that one in just over a week’s time. While I am far from where I’d wanted to be in terms of how much of the language I’ve learnt, I’m proud of both all I have learnt as well as my continuation of this learning journey. I didn’t give up when I found it difficult, I simply found a different way to go about it. One that might be a bit slower than I’d hoped, but slow and steady is far better than just giving up.


ASL Alphabet Memory Game

The more I try to incorporate signing into my day the more the kids are interested in it. To that end I thought why not combine a fine motor skill activity (picking up the shapes practices using the pincer grasp) with learning colours and shapes with ASL.

So I made 2 copies of the ASL alphabet that I found here:

I purchased the wooden shapes at our local dollar store, but one could use card stock, cardboard from a box, or even foam blocks (if picking up almost flat shapes is too difficult for the person playing the game)

I then cut up both sets and glued one to different coloured circles and one to different coloured squares. Just like other memory games all the pieces are flipped over and you have to make a match. I tell the kids to make their matches by picking one circle and one square.

Both Miss. G and Mr. N love playing it and I’m getting some great practice before my first day of ASL class at our local college!



Communication WINS!

Today three wonderful interactions occurred; the first was between Mr. N and Mr. C. Mr. C was upset that he wasn’t going with his dad and I to run errands, Mr. N walked over to him:
N: “Why you upset?”
C: “Because I want to go too and mom says I can’t”
N: “Don’t worry, we’ll be back soon”

Mr. N then proceeded to refuse to go with us and stood beside his brother! The compassion and understanding he clearly demonstrated had me overjoyed! I was seriously tempted to have Mr. C come with us at that point, but for other reasons I did not.  Eventually Mr. N was convinced to come with us. This moment will always be etched in my memory as I saw the beginnings of the deep bond that I believe will eventually be woven between the two of them.

While out running errands, Mr. N said it was cold out and then Miss. G said “CO” we asked her if she was saying it was cold out, she smiled brightly and nodded yes. It’s the beginning of a new word for her 😀

Then later on this evening I was with my nieces and Miss. F had finished her dinner, I used the signs I’ve been learning to ask her if she was finished, she signed that she was, so I signed to her that I was going to clean up and that she could play while I did so. Did I sign perfectly? Probably not. Did I know all of the signs I’d wanted to use today, nope. But it was a start, she smiled so brightly when I started to sign to her, she was very clear in her excitement about me signing with her, and that made me so happy. I certainly will be continuing with learning how to sign more with her!

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Great ASL Site

As I posted yesterday, I am determined to learn ASL so that I can communicate with my niece fully. ASL (American Sign Language) is a wonderful communication tool for any person that does not communicate verbally. While eventually I’d like to take classes at my local college, to start right away I’ve been using a site created by Dr. Bill Vicars who also teaches at California State University in Sacramento, California. I find his descriptions clear and easy to understand. I also like how he talks about deaf culture with each sign he shows you. (Such as his explanation on if “welcome” should be used after someone signs “thank-you”) It’s all free as he wants people to have full access to learn ASL. If your child does not communicate verbally, but has fine motor skills, consider ASL! I know I’ll also be using it with Miss. G as she does not tend to verbalize but she does pick up on ASL very quickly. Knowing what you want to communicate and not being able to express it is a terrible thing which is why I am pro sign language for any child or adult that does not communicate verbally. (As well as anyone that is in their life)

Here’s a link to his site:


New Year’s Resolutions

 I know that commonly here in Canada many people make New Year’s Resolutions, and a great deal of them are self improvement ones. I admit mine is no different.

My one and only resolution this year is to learn sign language so that I can fully communicate with my amazing niece 🙂 She’s 4 years old and sign language is becoming a big part of how she now communicates. I already know some signs from using it with Mr. C,  I’ve been using some with Mr. N since he was tiny as well, and with Miss. G not really speaking much yet, I find it very useful with her as well. But I want to learn more than “just some” I don’t want to “get by” I want to have full conversations with Miss. F as well as my own wee ones using sign language as I will be teaching them what I learn so they too can communicate with their cousin as well.


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