Seeing language develop!

Where does the time go!!!

We now have two teenagers and a toddler! A walking, signing 1 year old. This stage of Zoe and Elijah’s lives is a blur to me. But this time around I am savouring every moment.

Carter is developing at such a pace that every day is an adventure!

I had every intention of keeping a record of his language development but it is happening at such a fast pace, I have not been able to keep up with him.

In this clip I’ve gathered clips of the types of vocab he is using in his expressive language. You can also see his receptive skills development. Since putting this together he has now started using ‘where’ in his expressive language!

To those who are not familiar with NZSL may feel that the movements Carter is making in the clips all appear the same and have no meaning. But if you watch closely you can see changes in handshape, movement, location and palm orientation – all the components that make up signs.

You can see him watching the signer intently and then mimicking and attempting to produce the signs. You can see him answering questions with signed responses and at one stage he responds via eye gaze!

You can also see babble and repetition of signs just as you would in a hearing child developing spoken language.

I shouldn’t be surprised as the research is clear that children acquire their first language naturally when they are surrounded by multiple users of the language in a variety of settings. But seeing it in action is so exciting!

You can see the brain working – the processing and then the response is so clear.

The research briefs that have come out of Gallaudet VL2 work are really useful. I find every time I read them I pick up on something different. I recommend all parents and professionals working with deaf or hard of hearing babies and children, should read the work done by VL2.

Eye Gaze and Joint Attention

• Deaf children perceive both language and non-linguistic information visually.

• Eye gaze and joint attention between child and caregiver function together as a foundation for the development of communicative competence.

• Deaf children with exposure to sign language from birth develop the ability to shift their eye gaze between objects and people in a frequent and meaningful way from an early age.

• Language input that occurs during episodes of joint attention is linked to enhanced vocabulary, language, and literacy development in both deaf and hearing children.

• Deaf children who have developed the pragmatic ability to manage, monitor, and self-regulate their own visual attention are more prepared for the complex visual exchanges that take place in the classroom.

Advantages of Early Visual Language :

  • The brain is most receptive to language acquisition during “sensitive periods” early in a child’s development.
  • Deaf and hard of hearing children who receive early intervention services have been found to have better language outcomes up to age five.
  • High levels of family involvement have been found to produce greater language development outcomes in deaf and hard of hearing children.
  • Acquiring a complete first language during early childhood is critical for later reading comprehension.
  • Learning two languages [that is, American Sign Language (ASL) and English] is advantageous for deaf and hard of hearing children.
  • A mother’s signing skills are predictive of later language development in deaf or hard of hearing children.
  • A language foundation is an important factor in spoken language development.



About fergfam5

We are a bilingual bicultural family living in NZ Deaf Dad, hearing Mum, And 3 kids:) (2 Deaf and 1 hearing)
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