Celebrating My Deaf Son's First Auslan Sign: Why It Meant More Than His First Spoken Word

Celebrating My Deaf Son's First Auslan Sign: Why It Meant More Than His First Spoken Word

As a parent of a deaf or hard of hearing child, celebrating their language achievements takes on a whole new level of significance.

We're constantly told in the first few years of life how many deaf and hard of hearing children are "delayed" in language and how if we don't focus all our energy into getting them to speak, we could be doing them a huge disservice!

But here's the thing...

When my Deaf son at the age of only 5 months old, mastered his first Auslan (Australian Sign Language) sign, it was a moment filled with absolute joy and pride, perhaps even more so than when he uttered his first spoken word.

Here's why:

Both languages share equal complexity and richness

Signed languages, like Auslan, hold equal status to spoken languages in their complexity and linguistic structure. Witnessing my son's first spontaneous production of language was a thrilling milestone, because it showcased his ability to communicate spontaneously using an established and rich language.

It was the start of his expressive language journey

That first sign marked the beginning of my son's expressive language journey, a journey that we soon found would only accelerate from there! It was the initial spark that ignited his ability to communicate his thoughts, feelings, and needs with confidence.

It showed evidence of early language acquisition

My Deaf son's first sign occurred at the very young age of 5 months old, when he signed "MUM." This early milestone affirmed to us what we already knew; that he had the cognitive and linguistic ability to acquire language from his environment and via the input we had provided to him since birth. This only reinforced the confidence we had in implementing a bilingual approach from the beginning.

It provided comfort regarding his accessibility & opportunity

Watching our son effortlessly acquire Auslan highlighted just how accessible and naturally acquirable a signed language was for him as a little deaf person and it provided comfort early on that he would always have a language in which to express himself!

It indicated a strong foundation of language (not speech)

Regardless of modality, we knew that our son would have a strong foundation of language, laying the groundwork for meaningful relationships and successful communication with others as he grew!

Today, our little guy is thriving in every way imaginable, thanks in part to our commitment to providing him with every possible opportunity for language acquisition. While our journey hasn't been perfect and we've stumbled along the way, the time and effort invested have been unequivocally worth it!

At the heart of our journey lies a desire to support other parents raising Deaf and hard of hearing children bilingually. That's why I've developed an online program The Raising Bilinguals Bootcamp that breaks down my proven framework for navigating this unique journey.

Join the waitlist for our October intake here!


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