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My hubby and I can no longer tell if he is signing fish or helicopter

Hi Jackie
My 11 mo boy started signing fish (along with saying `ish` sounds) a few days ago but now starts making pretty much the same sign for helicopter (they fly over) - he is using only one hand to make the flutter motion of the helicopter (fingers slightly splayed). Ash doesn`t always make the ish sounds anymore, even at the fish tank, so I wonder if he is confused? My hubby and I can no longer tell if he is signing fish or helicopter... any suggestions on how to proceed? Also, do we correct him when he is making his helicopter sign when it`s actually a plane he hears?

Answer: Hi K, Thanks for your question. Generally when your baby first begins to sign, they do start using that one sign for everything. A similar thing happens when speech occurs. When Ash signs "fish" check what is within his field of vision, is he actually referring to the fish or something else? If it is the "fish" point at the fish and confirm the sign with him by signing it to him and also saying the word. If he is looking up and signing "fish" but you can see it is a helicopter he is talking about, point at the helicopter and sign and say "helicopter". It may also help if you manipulate his hands into the correct sign for helicopter next time he is signing for helipcopter. Yes you can correct him in relation to signing plane but ensure you are giving him lots of examples in books, in real life and on tv so that he can begin to understand the difference. Songs can be also very helpful in introducing signs and research has highlighted that songs help children recall the signs alot easier. In our Baby Hands baby sign language classes, we have various themed workshops which help parents introduce more signs to the children. One of the workshops is various modes of transport and signs are introduced through song, stories, activities and sammy the signing bear. You can visit my site to get more information on these classes - http://www.australianbabyhands.com/baby-sign-language-classes/ Happy Signing! Jackie
Answered: 15 Jul 2009