First Signs

Our Customer's Baby Signing Stories



Kate and Adam's Story

We have by no means been as intense with our signing with Adam as we were with Penny but today we had a spontaneous “MORE”!!! Adam has always been a good feeder and after a jar and a half of food he stalled part way through the yogurt. Then after a little breather, with a chuckle he did it! Absolutely no doubt about it. I didn’t even know he could put his hands together. I am so proud!

Kate and her first child, Penny, attended classes in 2008 -- written in March 2009

Kate's Update on Adam: "Adam has mastered “ milk” “more” “all done” (in his own way – much like Penny did) and is making himself quite clear with some other stuff. He’s taking keen interest when I show him signs and watches Penny like a hawk – she is very attentive to him and is always showing him “look Adam, this is elephant” See you soon, Kate, Penny & Adam xxx" -- Sept 09


Cathy and Alice's Story

I am so proud, the signs are working, Alice just told me she wanted to go to bed, she put her hand on her head and thumb in her mouth, and has gone down with a little whimper but that's all.  So much better than the past few days when every nap has been a fight - Thank you Jackie, Cathy -- written Feb 09

Louise and Jack's Story

Hi Jackie, This is an email that I've been meaning to write for a while but have never found the time until my son reminded me today *why* I need to write. We attended your baby sign classes in the late spring last year when he was about 7/8 months old. However, he didn't start signing for ages. It honestly felt like a complete waste of time and the thought certainly went through my head several times about giving up. Then at around 13 months, we had a breakthrough - he signed milk!! That was it for a few months but suddenly there's no stopping him!!! At 17 months (today!) he signs for milk, food, teeth cleaning, animals (complete with sounds), food and the list gets bigger every day. Tonight he signed that he wanted bedtime milk, then that his fish picture was on the fridge door. Upstairs he told me that he needed to clean his teeth and that his giraffe and elephant toys were on the windowsill before reminding me that Nemo was on the top of the wardrobe. We then drank milk and read some books which he signed all the animals he knew. It was perfect. I'm absolutely loving communicating with him in this way and he's picking up new signs all the time so really I just want to say thank you for teaching me how to communicate like this. It really is something special and the best class that we have done. I'm so pleased I persevered with it. My baby *really is* so clever!!! The only issue now is whether I can keep up with him!!
 Thank you! Louise and Jack - written Feb 2009


Amanda and Rebekkah's Story

When I went away for a few days, Rebekkah's dad looked after her.  He was so excited when I returned to tell me that Rebekkah had signed "Milk" at lunchtime.  It was the first time he had seen her sign!  It is still early days, as Rebekkah is only 6 months old, but I am confident that she will pick up more signs soon!

Rebekkah started First Signs classes at age 4 months in April 2008  - written July 2008

Donna and Alice's Story

I felt so proud when Alice did her first sign and it amazes me everytime she begins to use a new one!  For her to respond to what she sees and for us to reinforce with signs and words, I am sure her speaking will develop more quickly, too!

Alice and Donna started First Signs classes in January 2008.  - written July 2008


Hayley, Melanie (attending Grandmother), and Millie's Story

Millie and myself absolutely love singing and signing together every day. Every day she seems to show me new signs! She spends ages looking through her First Signs Songbook and showing me the signs she knows.  She also finds her favourite songs and asks me to sign and sing them with her.  She also signs to people when we are out and they always seem amazed when I explain to them what she is saying!  Very valuable!  Also, Beebo Bear is fab and Millie can't wait to see him each week!

Hayley, Grandmother Melanie, and Millie started First Signs classes in September 2007.  - written July 2008

Jo and Mathew's Story

Mathew started First Signs in April 2008, when he was 14 months old.  He was already starting to communicate verbally, so his Dad was skeptical as to whether learning to sign would be of any benefit to Mathew.  Two months on and Dad is a convert!  Being a young toddler Mathew learns signs very quickly.  On a few occasions after a new sign has been introduced in class, without me using it at home, I’ll say the word in conversation and Mathew will do the sign without prompting. 

Signing has made it a lot easier to understand what Mathew is communicating, which has prevented a lot of frustration and tears.  I’m sure it must also boost his confidence to have Mum & Dad understand him quickly & easily.  Newly spoken words are not always clear.  When Mathew signs the word he is verbally saying it is a lot easier to understand what he is trying to say.  Mathew combines signs for words he can’t say with words he can to make sentences.  For example, one day I was blowing bubbles in the back yard with Mathew.  I stopped and went inside.  Mathew came running in signing more and saying bubbles.  He will also sign whole sentences.  For example 3 signs; duck; bread; walk; means take me for a walk to the lake to feed the ducks. 

If you can only take one course a week, this is the one!  Not only is learning to sign beneficial in so many ways, but Jackie’s course is different to others I’ve taken.  She tries to promote a relaxed and social atmosphere.  The little ones enjoy playing during the class while they learn, and after while the parents have a hot drink and a chat.   

Jo and Mathew started First Signs classes in April 2008.   - written July 2008



Rudy, Fiona, Grace and Erica's story

Baby Signing has helped my family in many ways, and I would like to share a bit with you, to encourage other families. We have a 5 month old Baby, called Erica, and an 18 month old Toddler, called Grace.

Well, after attending baby signing classes, my daughter, Grace, has been rapidly learning signs and using them to tell us what she needs or wants.  This is relieving a lot of frustration for her and resulting in fewer tantrums.  As our family is all signing, signs and spoken language are being repeated more often, and as a result Grace’s speech is developing much more quickly than it was. She also signs to her baby sister Erica, who watches very closely and takes it all in.

Here are a few examples:  Grace would normally tantrum when I leave the room.  Now I sign to her to tell her where I am going and she is able to understand and now stays calm most of the time.

My toddler is always on the move, so “food” has been a great sign for her to learn. Well, not only does Grace sign “food” when she is hungry, but she can now wait longer for the food to come, as she understands that it is being made.  Baby Erica already understands some signs: she smiles when I sign “nappy change” and when I sign “milk,” she stops crying and gets excited.

I expect my little Erica will pick the signing up even more quickly, as the whole family now signs around her.  I also think signing will minimize tantrums from her, apart from the expected 1 or 2 now and again (children will be children!) and signing really helps.  Just like Grace, they soon learn that they don't need to cry to tell you what they need/want, signing is another way which is much calmer.  Signing helps our whole household to be calmer and we have been putting up the signs around the house in the right areas, which helps all family and friends who are around the girls, so they can better understand each other.

Fiona, Grace and Erica started attending First Signs class in April 2008, when Grace was 16 months old, and Erica was 3 months old.   - written June 2008


Kate and Penny's Story

My one- year old daughter, Penny, has been learning signing informally since she was a couple of months old.  Jackie hosted some coffee morning get-togethers at her house for my group from NCT antenatal class. So I think we all still had bumps when Jackie first showed us her taster session.

When Penny came along, I was keen to get her into signing but I could only remember a few things like ‘milk’, ‘more’ and ‘all-done’, which I tried to practice fairly frequently.

We started the Discovering Baby Signing class when Penny was 10 months old and she loved the singing (especially the “frog song” and “the ladies horse..”)

It wasn’t very long until we experienced her first independent sign – asking for milk. She couldn’t have been more clear: pointing to her waiting bottle and squeezing her fist over and over. When we play action songs and games at home, we have barely got to the end before Penny is signing for more!
She has her own sign for all done (besides chucking her dinner on the floor) she wipes her hands together - but she is perfectly clear.

We had a wonderful experience on holiday in the Lake District. We were enjoying a pub lunch, Penny was sitting in a high chair observing the goings on around her. My mum was facing her, and asked “What’s that sign for?” Well, it kind of looked a lot like the sign for teddy bear which we really hadn’t practiced more than 3 or 4 times and it wasn’t something I’d made any effort to teach her. But pointing at a display cabinet behind me and hugging her arms around her she seemed determined to show me something. So I looked around and indeed the cabinet had a teddy bear in it. I was astonished, amazed, surprised and pretty gob smacked. The clever girl really had been paying attention in class hadn’t she?

I’m sure she knows more than she’s letting on, but she is quite happy to test mummy on how many signs Mummy knows!!! We have a little cloth book of animals which Penny never tires of pointing to and her little face looks at me to see if I can tell her the sign. Of course she knows them all, but why have a dog and bark yourself?

She surprised me the other day when reading a favourite book.  There is a frog drawing on one page, totally incidental to the story and there is no mention of the word frog.  So when she did the sign for frog and fetched me the book to read I was a bit confused until we got to the page and she did the sign again!!!!  My cute little monkey has stored up all these signs and is slowly letting me have them one by one!

Penny now has quite a repertoire of signs (those which she has divulged to me anyway, she probably knows many more) including, milk, more, all done, toast, ducks, birds, pigs, cows, horses, teddy, of course, and we think she probably knows nappy, too but we often find her with her thumb stuck between her fingers…. yes, the sign for poo!        -written December 2007



Angela and Katanu's Story

I was first introduced to the concept of Baby Sign by Jackie and Suzanne, when I was about eight and a half months pregnant. I was amazed at how effectively Suzanne was able to communicate what she wanted and when she wanted it. It was then that I made the decision to teach Baby Sign to my unborn child!!

Katanu was born, and we started signing the basic “milk” sign to her when she was about 3 months old. However, we did not see any signing back from her till she was about 7 months old. It was then she realised she got milk whenever she did the “milk” sign. At this stage we started First Signs Baby Signing classes, and learnt various other signs which we incorporated into our everyday routine. The next sign she started doing was “Thank you," which she would do just before she drifted off to sleep at the end of the day!

Katanu is now 10 months old and she is now surprising us with even more signs. Recently, she started signing for food, and we now know what her favourite animal is…… she's just done the “Elephant” sign again!!!    - written May 2006




Katanu and Mummy Angela have been attending First Signs classes since March 2006, when Katanu was 7 months old.


An update from Angela and Katanu...

Katanu is now 18 months old and is a great big chatter box!! She has now dropped all her signs and is developing wonderfully in her speech. She actually started talking at 15 months and now we just cannot stop her. She has even taken to saying "wove you!"(Love you) to her grandparents in Kenya over the phone.  Baby signing has definitely helped bring her speech on leaps and bounds.  She now finishes songs for me and it's just wonderful. We have started to teach her to say her prayers before her meals and at bedtime and it amazes me when she says, "God Bless daddy and mummy and Kanu" (she cannot pronounce her own name just yet)!  Thank you so much, Jackie, here's to you and your baby signing class!!!!    -written January 2007


Estella and Chiara's Story

My daughter Chiara has been attending First Signs classes since she was just one year old.  Within a couple of weeks she was using the signs for "more" and "milk."  At 18 months she now uses over 40 signs (I've lost count!).  The best thing about Baby Signing is that she can initiate communication with us!  I'm sure we've bypassed a lot of the frustration she might have felt could she not tell us she wanted food, a drink, her bed, a song... the list goes on.  I also believe the Baby Signing has helped progress her language skills as she always tries to say something along with the sign.  Also because I can understand her and give her praise or what she is asking for, she feels encouraged and continues to make sounds which have gradually become proper words.  A final fantastic by-product of the First Signs classes are the wonderful songs we learn, many of them written by Jackie and one or two of which have to be sung with a charistmatic American twang to make the rhymes work!  Dinosaur Stew is a particular favourite!  Thanks, Jackie!   - written June 2006




Chiara and Mummy Estella have been attending First Signs classes since March 2006, when Chiara was 12 months old. 


Adele and Hannah's Story

At 12 months old, Hannah had a few words such as 'two,' 'ball,' and 'up.'  Now at 16 months, she has about 25 words and 10+ animal noises.  Signing has given her the confidence to communicate!

Hannah and Mummy Adele have been attending First Signs classes since July 2006, when Hannah was 9 months old.  - written September 2006.


Lecia and Vicky's Story

Vicky's Daddy, Nick, was at first very reluctant to use baby sign, but when he saw Vicky doing the sign for 'more' rather than crying, he was absolutely convinced and does it now all the time!  We are a very happy signing family!

Vicky and Mummy Lecia have been attending First Signs classes since July 2006, when Vicky was 13 months old.  -written January 2007


Deborah and Amy's Story

Amy gets very excited when I do the "milk" sign and goes to look out of the window when I do the sign for "birds" at our bird table.  She may not yet be signing, but she does understand what they mean!

Amy and Mummy Deborah have been attending First Signs classes since October 2006, when Amy was 8 months old.  -written January 2007


Michaela and Connor's Story

After the first few classes, I started to use the "milk" sign all day, everyday... and Connor picked it up after 3 days!  Connor seems to try to interact and communicate with me using signs, and this makes playing and daily life more enjoyable.  He knows how to tell me when he is hungry, so that has made it much easier for me to understand what he wants. 

Connor and Mummy Michaela have been attending First Signs classes since October 2006, when Connor was 8 months old.  -written January 2007

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