Infancy is full of milestone moments such as baby’s first step, eating solid foods, teething, and of course, their first words. But sometimes birth defects can slow down development, especially if they are sensory issues such as blindness or hearing impairment.
Well, Thanks to Inside Edition, we just found a wonderful video of a grandmother who teaches her granddaughter her first words, in sign language. Your heart will melt when you see what the little baby has to say.
Pamela McMahon is the proud grandmother of a beautiful baby girl. Little Aria was diagnosed with a significant hearing impairment shortly after birth, but that has not stopped her from learning how to speak using sign language.
At just two months old, Aria was already learning her first words as her sixty-four-year-old grandmother showed her the basics of sign language.
Speaking with Inside Edition, Aria’s mother, Shari, says Aria is completely deaf she cannot hear anything. She would ‘listen’ intently to signing but hasn’t used any signs herself.”
However, with the encouragement and patience of grandma Pamela, who is also hearing impaired, Aria was soon practicing the hand movements and learning words herself.
Shari told Inside Edition “Basically, she’s asking my daughter if she can sign ‘grandma.’”
The proud mother is sharing this video in hopes that it will raise awareness for deaf children and their families.
There is a common misconception about sign languages that assumes there is only one universal system, however, there are more than one hundred and thirty unique sign languages around the world, based on local verbal systems.
Communities of deaf people have been using hand based sign languages for thousands of years. One of the first mentions of sign language comes from Plato’s “Cratylus,” which was written in the fifth century BC.
In 1620, Juan Pablo Bonet published his guide “Reduction of Letters and Art for Teaching Mute People to Speak.” This is considered by many to be the first modern attempt at ordering and instructing a visual language for the hearing impaired. Bonet, who was a Catholic monk, has been credited for ushering in the modern age of communication and education of deaf people.
Most sign language users historically have not seen a need to develop a written language and have instead used the written languages of their native lands for reading and writing.
Today, many parents start teaching their children sign language whether they have hearing impairment or not. As it turns out, an infant’s hand muscles develop faster than their facial muscles, and this can enable a small child to begin communicating much earlier. Once a hearing child develops speech abilities, the sign language is usually abandoned in favor of verbal communication.
Sign language has also been used by scientists to communicate with non-human primates such as orangutans, chimpanzees, and most famously, gorillas. However, some researchers do not believe that an ape’s ability to communicate via signing represents the ability to grasp human languages.
Do you know how to use sign language? What do you think of little Aria and her family? Please share your thoughts with us here.