Signing Time! sign language videos are collections of 30 minute long lesson DVDs and supporting products with the goal to Teach Children a Fun New Language. They are the creation of Two Little Hands Productions in Midvale, Utah, a family run studio created by Rachel de Azevedo Coleman and Emilie de Azevedo Brown, two sisters with a unique and uplifting story. Oftentimes their sign language videos include many members of their families, but place Emilie’s son Alex and Rachel’s daughter Leah at the center of the lessons.
According to their website, Rachel and her husband Aaron introduced daughter Leah into the world whom they would come to learn was profoundly deaf. As they taught Leah American sign language, they learned first hand of the developmental benefits of sign language in babies through their daughter’s vocabulary in comparison to other children of similar ages. It was at this time that Rachel’s sister Emilie began teaching her infant son sign language so that he may communicate with Leah, and also found a reduction in the frustration of early communication in toddlers as he was able to sign for common items such as milk far easier than his ability to verbally communicate.
Shortly thereafter, Rachel and Aaron had their second daughter Lucy, born eight weeks premature with spina bifida and cerebral palsy. Though doctors claimed speaking and signing would be nearly impossible, Lucy had a breakthrough and began signing along with the first volume of Signing Time, would soon speak thereafter, and ultimately gain the ability to enter and succeed in general kindergarten.
Their story and success is truly amazing, inspirational and well deserved. They’ve since created dozens of sign language videos for infants and toddlers along with supporting cards that are graphically vivid, expressive, musically catchy, entertaining and highly effective. Beyond their well crafted videos, I also have to admire their business sense; taking a good idea of teaching children sign language and successfully executing the idea into a good quality, award winning, personal product.
My wife found these videos while on her research for helping our son overcome some speech delays during his second year. While I always felt that he was on track and maybe just a step behind, my wife just wanted to do everything she could to educate him. And it sometimes takes some time for me to warm up to educational videos, but these were part of their daytime routine and independent of my night time routine with the kids, so I did not witness the process as closely.
One Saturday morning when I was playing with the kids in the living room, my wife played one of the first sign language videos she bought, Signing Time! volume 4: Family, Feelings & Fun. Immediately I noticed that Rachel Coleman herself had a warm, expressive communicative style that she enhanced with bright clothing, blue and red color latex accents on her fingers, very catchy songs that linger in the mind, and a cast of family that share a sparkling and playful chemistry. I was instantly impressed with the value of the lesson, and again with the remarkable business idea and sense.
And the kids, a 2.5 year old boy and a 14 month old girl, having now watched the video for a couple of weeks, were singing along with the songs and actively signing emotional concepts such as excited, surprised, love, grumpy and family words like brother, sister, uncle and aunt, in addition to home, grass and rain - and these are just a few of the words the video vividly teaches. Our 11 year old also joined in and was actively teaching the little ones words they had trouble with, which also had me noticing how she was able to learn.
Many of the words in this and their other videos have become active collections of their vocabulary. When they don’t feel well, they’ll sign grumpy, and when they’re sick, they’ll sign sick. And when they’re not sick anymore, we’ll ask them if they’re still sick and they would sign and verbally reply, “No, I’m happy.”
In addition to the kids, all the adults in the house get into the lessons. Grandma, mom and dad all learn along with the sign language videos and even some guests can’t help to try to sign along with the videos as we have tea or lunch as the kids play and watch. I also have to be sure to participate in learning the videos my wife gets because my son is continually testing me, “Daddy, what’s this?” followed by multiple signs, and when I get them wrong, he’ll laugh at me and say, “No, that’s rainbow.”
Singing Time is an excellent collection of sign language videos. They are excellent for anyone with children that are challenged with autism, speech delays and other developmental delays, and even help raise the IQ of children who learn to sign.
They’re collection is vast, and we purchase them primarily by title as we find the need for appropriate topics. They can be purchased individually or in bundles, and they are truly good quality, effective and highly educational sign language videos.