Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Smart Hands Baby Signing App First Look

I'm hungry, I want milk, I want more milk, I'm tired, I need help.

Some basics communications that we take for granted. Not only can we fix these needs for ourselves but we could communicate them to others as well if we needed to.

Being a baby must be frustrating but being a parent who can't read minds is worse. We want to fix the problem ASAP. No one wants their baby to feel hungry or thirsty and then upset because of it.

Until a baby is able to verbalize beyond mamamamamama dadadadada nananana bababana we either become amazing at guess work (moms are pretty intuitive, I tell ya) OR the family learns to sign to each other.

I think this will not only help me but extended family who care for her as well. I'm with this sweet little baby 24/7 and know her schedule of sleeping and eating so much that my body wakes up when it knows she is supposed to. But for others, the idea that she can communicate her needs will save a lot of time and frustration. What I am looking forward to are the "more"  "hurt" and "help" things that you can't always anticipate.

So we are going to give this app a try for iPhone and iPad and see how it goes.

 In an app I am looking for something straight forward, easy to use and with plenty of features. This may sound contrary but I don't want 3 apps to do one thing. If I can find one app that does all three that is a better app. Here it goes.

This app was better better than expected. I think I expected it to be more like a book where you pick a sign and there is a picture-visual of how to perform the sign. This is fine, books don't have a choice but to do things this way. However, it doesn't give my human brain the 3D spatial instruction that it so craves.

There are two ways to look up words which I appreciated. The only category I would have liked to have seen was a Beginner/Moderate/Advanced category. Since we are just starting words like balloon and battery are a bit advanced for us, I am looking for more things like hungry and more.

However, once I went through the signs I was able to easily save them to favorites. Like, seriously easy.The very best part about this app is the explanation of the sign. She goes through the sign, then breaks it down slower with a description of the movement.

If applicable there is also an explanation of what the sign means like if the sign is a combination of letters (like I love you) or it describes a motion associated with the word. In the sign for Animal (below) you are to imagine the sign as the animals lungs breathing in and out.
 I loved this.

So you've gone through some signs and think you know your stuff. Well, this app will test your knowledge with a quiz. It changes up the signs every time you want to quiz yourself so you get the full experience.

You start out with the sign without any verbal help. Then the multiple choice part pops up. A lot of these signs are actually pretty easy and if you give it a second or two of thought you can generally guess what it is even if you're not signing proficient quite yet. 

 Because I am amazing, this is what happens. "That's right" you fantastic sign language genius.

So I'm walking away from my first look at this app pretty satisfied. I think its a great tool to add to any literature that you have on baby signing. I do recommend literature because it talks about frequency, first things to sign, when to expect them to sign back and things like that so you don't get frustrated and quit. The book that is associated with this app is the Baby Signing Bible by Laura Berg.   The author is the lady who is doing the sign instructions as well. 

If you want more information check out their website, there are online classes, games and an ASL dictionary.

When was the first time your baby communicated with you? For people still wandering through the baby garden this could be just a smile or a laugh. For those seasoned veterans selling their baby vegetables at the farmers market this would be more like mama, dada or bad (haha). 

The first time she laughed, I cried I was so happy. Communication is a beautiful thing. 

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