Expressive Hands - Frequently Asked Questions

ExpressiveHands

Fingers do the Talking

Using American Sign Language to bring parents and infants together


frequently asked questions

How much do classes cost?

The Fingers Do The Talking program is available for groups and for One-on-One instruction. Prices are subject to change without notice. There may be additional charges for additional materials, custom classes, or for travel expenses.

Please contact us for current prices.

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How can I pay for the class?

To pre-register for any class, we accept checks, money orders, and credit cards (using Paypal for online payments).

For payments made in person, we accept cash, checks, and money orders. Unfortunately, we can only accept credit cards for advance payments through our website.

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Did you know that research shows that children who sign as babies...

  • can communicate as early as 8 months of age.
  • become less frustrated because they are able to express their thoughts and feelings.
  • have a stronger bond with parents, siblings and other caregivers.
  • have refined gross and fine motor skills, coordination, and spatial reasoning.
  • have a greater sense of self-sufficiency, independence and confidence.
  • have a better grasp of grammar and syntax, past and present tenses, and language in general once they begin speaking.
  • tend to speak sooner. By age two, signers have an average vocabulary of 50 more words than non-signers. By age three, children exposed to signing have language skills approaching that expected of four year olds.
  • have higher average scores on intelligence tests. In some cases, signers score 20 points higher than non-signers.
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Who will benefit from sign language instruction?

  • Expectant Parents
  • Families of hearing infants and older children
  • Caregivers such as Grandmother, Aunts, Daycare Staff
  • Preschool-aged children
  • Playgroups
  • Mother’s Groups
  • Families and children with special needs
  • Parents of newly identified deaf/hard of hearing children
  • School Programs/After School Programs
  • Community Organizations
  • Teachers
  • Church Groups
  • Medical Professionals
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Has any research into signing with children been done?

Yes. There is a growing body of research that supports signing with infants. The research shows that there are many positive benefits that go well beyond just knowing what your baby wants. Signing with infants increases their language ability, and their rate of comprehension of ideas once they begin verbalizing.

You can read more about all of the benefits of signing with your children on Joseph Garcia's SIGN with your BABY™ Scientific Research webpage.

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Will signing delay my babies speech?

No. In fact, quite the opposite. Signing helps the childs mind to understand that abstract signs (or words) can be used to refer to concrete things. Signing helps your child to develop the same pathways in the brain that are required for speech. Children who sign begin the process of forming individual signs into sentences much earlier than children who do not sign. In fact, one of our most frequent complaints is that children who sign begin speaking, and talking back, much sooner than children who do not sign.

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Can my infant really learn to sign?

Yes. As soon as your child begins to wave or clap, they are ready for signing. When an infant reaches for you with outstretched arms wanting to be picked up, that is their attempt to use sign language to communicate an idea - pick me up.

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When should I begin to introducing signing to my child?

Signing should begin between 6 and 8 months of age. As soon as you child begins to reach for objects within their field of view, you can begin to introduce sign language. By six months of age, children have developed the gross motor skills to control their arms and hands. Children in that age are also beginning to explore their worlds, and to make attempts to communicate with you.

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My child is older than 8 months, did I wait too long?

No. In fact, there is some good news for the parents of older children. Children who are 12 to 16 months of age will generally begin signing back much faster than children who are 6 to 8 months of age. Because the older children have much better motor skills, the signs will also be easier for you to recognize.

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How long will it take my child to sign back to me?

It depends. In general, children who are 6 to 8 months of age will begin signing back within 4 to 6 weeks. Older children will generally need less time than that. However, the amount of time varies widely according to the specific development of your child, and how consistent all of the caregivers are about signing with the child. Consistent use of signs, by all the caregivers, is the most important way to help your child to sign back to you.

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How will non-signing relatives and caregivers know what my child is trying to sign?

American Sign Language is a universal language, based on easily understood concepts and gestures. With a few moments of explanation from you, or the SIGN with your BABY™ video from the Complete Learning Kit, anyone will have enough information to understand what your child wants or needs.

In fact, signing provides a much easier way for the caregivers to understand exactly what an infant or toddler wants. Compared to a frustrating game of "20 questions," signing provides an almost painless way to satisfy a young childs needs.

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