What Moms Say

What Moms Say

Avi practicing his “I love you” sign! Thanks Charlene!! These moments are so unforgettable!

Lost my voice. Fun. At least I can still communicate with my children.

I can’t imagine having tried this on my own with a book because seeing the signs in action and learning how to use them in books and songs is what really helped.

Having my daughter communicate with me and show me signs that she cant verbalize yet is amazing!

Karen:  Charlene assured us that if we kept up with it and stayed consistent that it would click with the babies and once they start to sign and got it they got it.  It clicked!  Our DD after recognizing signs shortly after started to mimic them and then “bam” she was off and running…she got it!  It is so amazing to “SEE” her first words and be able to understand what she wants.  It makes life so much easier and happier….thank you Charlene for a great class but more so for an amazing life changing experience!

After having put both of my babies through this program with Charlene I can say that it is fantastic and I have no complaints. The songs are catchy and the sign language taught in the program is quite useful.
In addition to teaching the program Charlene was always willing to show the class signs that came up at home that were not included in the program (often fruits/veggies).
I can’t tell you how wonderful it has been having two children who have never been frustrated with trying to get their message across to me because they felt the lacked the means to do so from the age of 6 months onward.
I highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to give their baby/child the gift of communication early in life.

Emma, who is just over a year, is our first child. Everything seemed to be a new adventure and experience for us: Most of the time it’s a guessing game. Why is she crying? What does she want? What are we doing wrong? It’s a frustrating situation for everyone involved, including Emma.

The first signs we used with her were Milk, Eat, Finished and More. When we first started signing to her we would sign Milk every time we gave it to her and she would just stare blankly at us. Then we started to notice her face light up ever time we signed milk or eat to her, you could tell she understood what we were staying and associated the sign with the item. Slowly you noticed her signing while she was eating or drinking, then we noticed her signing to ask for things. We kept adding new signs and incorporating them into our everyday life.

One night when Emma was about 11 months old we were all really tired and skipped Emma’s bath routine before bed. We put her in her crib, just like we do every night, and she cried and cried. We couldn’t understand what was wrong with her; when we finally went up to check on her she was standing in her crib signing “bath”. She was asking us for a bath! We were amazed! She had never used this sign before but had seen us signing bath every night when we gave her a bath. So we gave her what she asked for, put her to bed and she fell asleep right away. This is just one of the amazing stories about Emma communicating with us. She now asks us for Cheese, Crackers, Apple, Juice, Water…the list goes on and on. We don’t have to guess anymore…she tells us.

It has also helped Emma’s verbal and communication skills. She has an extensive vocabulary for her age because she was taught at an early age to associate items with words, signs and sounds. We can sign Duck to her and she says Duck….we can point to a duck and she says duck…we can say Duck and she signs duck. It has been a great way to teach her all levels of communication. It has not hindered her speaking in any way, only improved it and given her the confidence to ask for things.

The Smart Hands Class was a great tool to teach her these signs. I don’t think a book or video would have given me the confidence to constantly sign items to her. We not only learned signs but sang songs and played games. It was a lot of fun for Emma and myself and gave us an opportunity to get out of the house and have some fun! I would recommend Smart Hands to everyone with a baby. It is such great feelings to have your one year old communicate with you and ask for anything from bed to bath or juice to Cheese. It’s amazing!!  The outcome of these classes and the communication we have with our daughter has far exceeded our expectations!

I started using sign language with my son when he was just 5 months old. He picked up a few signs, and I gained more interest in learning further. It was when James was about 10 months old that I signed up for Baby Signing Level 1 with Charlene. Ultimately this class was a great reinforcement for both of us! I was teaching him the signs I knew; and we learned several more signs; upwards of 100 in the manual only! The My Smart Hands manual we received as a part of the course was a great reference book. We have loaned the book out to family members so they can know what James is saying to them. My son likes to flip through and look at all the pictures too!
They say that signing works and primarily babies love movement and signing is just that. In the classes he seemed to really enjoy watching other people signing, whether it was the kids, the moms, or the teacher.
I would highly recommend that any parent should teach their child sign language. James now at 17 months is a happy child who rarely gets upset, as he can tell us what he wants or needs. He takes great joy in signing about the dogs, birds and cars he sees on our daily walks. He tells me when he is hungry or thirsty and even when his bottom is wet! He can also tell me he loves me, what better reward is there than that.

Patrick has ADHD & Aspergers & uses ASL
My son Patrick is a very bright 11 year old that faces the daily challenge of ADHD and a learning disability: Recently he has also been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. Because of all of this he has a great deal of anxiety. Due to the combination of Aspergers and ADHD he is not able to go to regular group sessions to help him over come his anxiety issues.

One recommendation given to me was to try to get him to focus on something that would keep his mind challenged, re-focus his brain and improve his eye contact such as sign language. The idea was to help him communicate even in higher stress times when he had a tendency to become non-verbal and withdrawn: Also it would allow him to “fidget” in a more constructive manner. With this in mind Patrick started lessons with Certified Sign Language Instructor, Charlene Slaats-Gray using the “ My Smart
Hands” program.

Within 3 weeks of starting the “My Smart Hands” curriculum it was noticed by his classroom teacher, and the resource teachers that work with him, that Patrick was calmer and more focused on his lessons: That he was not as anxious and was fidgeting less in class. Also another important benefit is that It has helped him to feel more confident about trying to socialize with his peers; children his own age.

As his mother I am finding it a great new way to communicate with him. In his “teaching” me the signs it has helped his confidence grow and has also given him a sense of achievement and therefore providing him with a great tool to help redirect his stress and frustration.

After 4 years of trying to find help for Patrick we now have found the perfect tool for him to use that will be benefit him throughout his life in many different ways.