Conventions used in this book

Capital letters are used to indicate ASL signs. These are words that are referred to in a signing context – they should be signed. For example, if I say “To teach the sign for BOOK, you simply open your hands palm up with their edges touching.” The word BOOK is to be accompanied by the sign for it. There are many words that should become part of your baby’s vocabulary and these are referred to throughout the book in capitals.

Italics are used to indicate important take-away-messages and can usually be read at the exclusion of the paragraph in which they are found. They are aimed at increasing your reading efficiency when time is at a premium. If there are italics, read those first if you so choose, and if you still want more information read the entire section or paragraph. To grasp a more complete understanding of baby sign language, you should read, and re-read every word in this guide! The rest of us may want to maximize our efficiency so will look for shortcuts here and there as we please and sentences in italics are meant for that very thing.

I have made no effort to use male and female pronouns when speaking about babies! I often use the male pronouns because I’m lazy (and maybe because I have a little boy myself). I understand perfectly that half of the babies out there are actually female, but trying to be politically correct is such a waste of time! My intensions are to be inclusive of all people, but my sanity is even more precious. To preserve what little of it I have left (just ask my wife) your baby girl has become a “he” throughout most of the text, but I’m confident that you’ll adjust just fine!

Finally, the majority of the text is aimed at Mom’s. I’m a signing Dad and took the initiative with my son, but that makes me the exception rather than the rule. If you’re a dude and you are reading this, then congratulations you are unique in the field of baby sign language. If you find that I’m being centric toward Mom’s and feel left out, tough luck Nancy-boy, suck it up!

Above: At first I thought he wanted HELP naming the elephant, but after telling him, it was obvious what he wanted. It was the MONKEY which was on another page. He was telling me HELP because he wanted me to find it for him. Signs are a great way to facilitate communication even when just a few words are known. When you child knows a sign but isn’t using it holding back on a request until signs are used is a big incentive to reward communication.

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