Monday, March 31, 2014

How Do I Sign with my Baby At Home?

by Jennifer De Fries

How can you sign at home with your little one? Do you have to sign all day long? What if you aren't fluent in American Sign Language?

You can incorporate signs in all daily activities and conversations you have with you infant or toddler. Remember to use song and to sign before the activity, during and after the activity. To be constant and repetitive with the signs will aid in your child to make the connections from the words to the signs.

This is an example of "A Play Time Conversation"

Remember all words are spoken and key words are signed substitute your child's name for baby.

**This is how my son and I interact when its play time, I love to interact using sign and song :) **

Before play time caregiver says and signs:
Who wants to PLAY, who wants to PLAY, lets get your favourite TOY, baby wants to PLAY.

During play time:
Baby gets his TRUCK, MOMMY gets her CAR, together they DRIVE around TOWN!
Baby is READY for an ADVENTURE! (adventure is optional to sign)

After play time:
Its time to CLEAN up, its time to CLEAN up, its time to CLEAN up all the TOYS, its time to CLEAN up.
Baby puts the TRUCK away. MOMMY puts the CAR away.
TOYS are all CLEANED up!

We have signed 20 times, using 10 signs, for CLEAN, TOYS, TRUCK, CAR, MOMMY, READY, PLAY, ADVENTURE, DRIVE and TOWN. Add and change words or signs to fit the needs for your daily routine with your child.

Jennifer de Vries is a license and certified WeeHands Instructor. She is also a mom and a Registered Early Childhood Educator with a degree in Child Development and Autism Behavioural Management from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology. Jennifer has completed her level 3 American Sign Language class with Deaf Access Simcoe Muskoka in Barrie, and will be continuing with the ASL program. Jennifer works with the York Region District School Board and used sign language with the children she works with on a daily basis. Find out more about Jennifer' WeeHands classes on her webpage:

Welcome Colleen to our Team!

I've been able to meet some incredible people in my life; as a mom, as an instructor at Durham College and as the founder of WeeHands. It was at one of my 11 years of teaching at Durham College (11 years!) that I met one of my Communicative Disorders Assistant students, Colleen Tillotson.  What a wonderful surprise that I met her again walking by my new office at blueballoon a few months ago!

Fast forward a few months and now Colleen and I will be co-teaching a WeeHands class at a fun baby store in Toronto!

In preparation for our class, Colleen is moving through our certification process and I'm setting up her webpage on our website. I'm also learning that Colleen is a professional singer, that her daughter has special needs and the her own mom was a Teacher of the Deaf! People ask me what experience makes a great WeeHands Instructor....well, I think I've found a great combination of skills and background with Colleen!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Noah Signs "More"!

I just saw that one of our Instructors posted the following on her Facebook page:

This is just so wonderful! It's wonderful for Noah who has signed his first word...yay! And yes, a word is a word whether it's spoken or signed! Noah has figured out to use his first word and connected with his parents...he know how to use language to control his environment. That is amazing!

Take a peek at one of Jeannette's classes....

Monday, March 03, 2014

More Music in Austin

I am lucky that I get to meet amazing babies, parents and WeeHands Instructors from across North America. Who know that that the wee songs that created when my little ones were babies would be sung and signed by parents across the continent! The songs we sign and sing in a WeeHands classes are simple (many written when I was sleep deprived just like many of the parents in our classes!), repetitive and sung to familiar tunes.

The main goal of any WeeHands class is to teach parents that connecting with their little ones is fun and easy.  We strive to help enhance language development in fun and functional ways.  I think that's what attracts so many speech language pathologist to teach with us. One of these wonderful SLPs is Dee Arp, who teaches in Austin, Texas.

Dee Arp is mom to a beautiful little girl and is also a speech-language pathologist specializing in early intervention since 1998. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Tennessee. Dee studied American Sign Language during her undergraduate studies, where she participated in a number of Deaf community events.

Dee notes "I delight in promoting communication as a speech-language pathologist. I also love to interact with babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, and parents while teaching language through play interactions, reading books, and singing songs!"

For more information about Dee's classes call (512) 571-3693 or email You can also visit her webpage and class schedule here: