Infants can have a hard time communicating their wants or needs. But the WeeHands baby sign language program, which runs throughout the United States and Canada, aims to make that easier – and it's now finding a home here in southeast Michigan, in Birmingham.
Frances Todd – a mom and pediatric speech and language therapist originally from England – is teaching parents and their babies American Sign Language beginning in January of 2013. Classes are tailored to help tykes learn 10 to 12 ASL signs per week, Todd says – and, each week, programs follow a specific theme.
"For parents, sign language is a very valuable way to bond with and communicate with your child from an early age," she says. "It can help make life so much easier by avoiding tantrums that stem from baby not being able to tell you what they want."
Each of the 45-minute classes, designed for babies ages 6-18 months old, also include songs, signs and games to help little ones back at home. The in-person courses run eight weeks. They're initially being held at the Birmingham Community House at 380 S. Bates St. (see Frances' website for the latest). Each has room for 10 babies with a parent or caregiver, and run about $99.
"For the children themselves," Todd says, "it is an invaluable way of facilitating better understanding of the world around them." The mom of three says she took baby sign with all her kids when they were small.
Looking to learn at home? There are WeeHands online classes too, including three for educators and parents, including early communication skills and everyday signs.
Be sure to visit the WeeHands with Frances website for more information about this program in Oakland County.