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ABC Phonics: Sign, Sign, and Read! By Nellie Edge and illustrated by Gaelan Kelly
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About Sign2Me Early Learning

Today, Sign2Me Early Learning is well recognized around the World as the first company in history to develop and offer a true-to-ASL (American Sign Language), Baby Sign Language Program!

The Company is well established and was founded over 27 years ago by Seattle native, Bob Tarcea. Bob actively continues to serve as the Company's passionate, dedicated, President and CEO. Over the past 27 years, his Company-guiding philosophy and his insistence upon leaving the world better than we find it, has never wavered even for a moment and continues to positively shape the impact that we, as the Sign2Me team, impart upon the World!

Based in beautiful Mukilteo, Washington, just 20 minutes North of Seattle, our Sign2Me offices and warehouse are located just a short, stone's-throw from the sparkling waters of Puget Sound. Our dedicated staff is fully committed to the development and distribution of high quality ASL resources to help establish and support two-way communication between hearing parents and hearing children.

Each of our early learning resources have been carefully developed to make it fun and easy for parents and caregivers to engage children in effective communication and early learning! We hope you have fun exploring the many facets of our Web site. We encourage you to consider the significant advantages of choosing true ASL signs to communicate with the babies and children you love. Our promise to you is that you will be totally amazed when your baby signs!

Note: Although we refer to ASL here, it's important to note that we also support the use of other, standardized sign languages in the countries in which they are primarily used. We are currently in the process of developing regional editions of the SIGN with your BABY Complete Learning Kit that incorporate the use of native signed languages such as: British Sign Language, Australian Sign Language, and New Zealand Sign Language, amongst others. Sign2Me is pleased to announce the release of the new Spanish Language version of the SIGN with your BABY book!


More and more parents, caregivers, and childcare professionals have begun using sign language to communicate with preverbal infants, and for good reason! Signing with babies is rapidly gaining popularity because it works! It dramatically empowers children with early communication skills and helps to significantly reduce needless stress and frustration for everyone involved.

Currently, there are two, opposing schools of thought about what types of signs to use with babies. First, there are those that advocate the use of signs from an established, standardized sign language such as American Sign Language (ASL). That's us! The SIGN with your BABY program follows this philosophy and has always been firmly based on ASL from the beginning.

Then there are a few others out there who feel that signing is only useful for the short, pre-verbal period in a child's life (that's definitely not what we believe!). Therefore, they believe that it's OK for parents to just make up their own signs, whatever gesture that might suit them at the moment.

These "home signs" are made up of simple gestures or movements and are not standardized, meaning that one person's made-up sign for "EAT" may be completely different from another person's sign for "EAT." The confusion caused by this lack of sign standardization can be compared to having everyone make up their own, unique, spoken language for their baby! Not exactly the most effective means of giving your baby the precious gift of two-way communication!

If you're investigating both of these approaches and trying to decide which one is best for your child and you, we encourage you to read this document. It's a joint statement prepared by Dr. Joseph Garcia and Sign2Me Early Learning, the collaborative creators of SIGN with your BABY, with contributions from educators, parents, caregivers, and researchers. Together, we've thoroughly investigated both approaches and we stand strongly behind our unified conclusion! Standardized signs make the absolute best sense for everyone!


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Standardized ASL Signs:

  • Offer consistency for everyone through the use of an established, standardized, actual language. Using standardized signs allows children, family members, caregivers, and other professionals to communicate clearly with each other using the exact same set of signs. This consistency helps to easily facilitate transitions between communicators and from one setting to another.

  • Are easy to learn for both children and adults. Most typically-developing children will learn and use somewhere between 20 and 50 signs (some will use as many as 300 or more!) before speech becomes their predominant form of communication. The good news for busy parents is that it's quite easy to learn these 20 to 50 essential signs, even without prior experience using ASL.

  • Are easy for babies to understand and remember, as many ASL signs are iconic; that is, they are manual imitations of the actions or objects they represent. For example, the ASL sign for "MILK" is demonstrated by opening and closing your fist as though you were milking a cow. Extremely easy for a baby or parent to learn and remember!

  • Are widely known and easily accessible. American Sign Language is the third most-commonly-used language throughout the United States and Canada, and the strongly guiding presence of the Deaf community in North America provides excellent opportunities to learn and utilize ASL.
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Using ASL Signs with Babies:

  • Facilitates opportunities for social development as their circle of friends and acquaintances grows through participation in playgroups or other childcare settings. The use of ASL in these settings allows children who sign to easily communicate with one another and the adults as well. However, the use of non-standard signs in these settings can be hugely problematic! Imagine the painful confusion in a classroom full of toddlers where each child uses a totally different set of signs and gestures! Each one would be speaking a different language. If each child knows and is using a different language, the only common factor is . . . FRUSTRATION for everyone!

  • Offers educational advantages in both the establishment of early literacy and the foundation for the learning of a second language. Research shows that adding a kinesthetic (movement) element to verbal and written language learning will positively impact a child's early literacy skills. It's comforting for us to know that, if our babies learn to use ASL signs, the usefulness of our efforts will not end when our children learn to speak. They've been learning signs from a rich and beautiful language that our children can continue to use and explore as they grow. Considering the rapid growth of ASL programs from preschool through college, it's nice to know that our children will already be comfortable with signing and can build upon the foundation already established during infancy.

  • Reinforces motor-development milestones. There is well-documented research indicating that the gross motor skills involved in bringing the arms and hands together at the midline of the body is one of the most significant developmental milestones in infancy. This, paired with the visual skill of gazing toward the midline, is strongly reinforced by the use of sign language. The ASL signs for "more," "book," and "shoes" are examples of the signs that reinforce the development of this important skill.

Download our Position Statement:

If you'd like more information on why we advocate the use of standardized American Sign Language signs, download our complete position statement, "Established Signs or Non-Standard Signs?" in Adobe PDF format.

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