Monday, June 8, 2009

Sign Language: Play

This sign language post is devoted to the sign for "play." Obviously kids love to play so this is a great sign to teach but it's also another nice way for your preemie to indicate an activity vs. a need.

Go here for an explanation and video on how to do the sign. For beginning tips on introducing sign language to your preemie, click here.

How to incorporate the sign:
- Start using this sign every time you want your preemie to "play" with you. Start by using the word and the sign together. After your preemie has watched you a few times, help him/her do the sign him/herself. *TIP* Depending on how old your preemie is, play can be a difficult sign to figure out. My daughter had a hard time making a distinction between play and all done because they both involve moving your hands around. We changed the sign by having her just use a closed fist and then moving them. If you do make any sign modifications - make sure any caregivers, therapists, family members, etc. know what the modified sign is indicating.
- Every time you change activities during play time, use the sign and word together. For example: Do you want to "play" with the blocks? That was fun. Now let's "play" with the puzzle. Anything that helps your preemie realize that if he/she uses the sign, he/she will get to do what they asked to do.
- If your preemie brings you a toy, use the sign or encourage him/her to use the sign before playing. You can take the toy and say "do you want mommy to play blocks with you?" and use the sign.

Remember to try and honor your preemie's request to play if he/she uses the sign. Even if you only have a couple of minutes, that will still help your preemie make that important communication connection (ask and you will (usually) receive).

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