Jen & Gina's Story
Hello. I am Jennifer Magee founder of the Express Yourself Baby Company. I have been teaching my children sign language since they were three months old. As a mother, educator and interpreter watching my children sign for the very first time is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Children love to express themselves in many different ways, whether it is through language, art, music, dance, fashion or play. I am fortunate to be part of their lives on a daily basis to watch them grow and express themselves. This is what motivates me to be sharing this with you.
I was first introduced to sign language as a young child. When I was 7 years old living in Philadelphia a Deaf girl moved into the neighborhood and I wanted to learn how to communicate with her. The girl's name is Gina and to this day she is one my closest friends.
When Gina's parents found out she was deaf, they moved to a new house to be closer to their relatives for support. One day Gina was riding her bike, along with some other kids who lived on our street. As she was riding she had stopped suddenly not knowing there was someone riding close behind. I kept yelling out to her to ride faster or to move out of the way but she did not respond. She continued to ride toward her house. As I followed behind her I was becoming angry because I thought she was ignoring me. I would soon discover that Gina is profoundly deaf. As we approached her house, Gina's mother, who is hearing, was standing there and she explained to me that Gina was deaf and they use sign language to communicate with one another. From that day on, I was determined to learn how to communicate with her and other Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals as well. Today with the support of my friend Gina, I am creating a series of DVDs as well many other products to share with other hearing children and families so they can do the same.
Communicating with deaf and hard of hearing individuals is one of the benefits to learning sign language. However, there are many benefits to teaching all children sign language at an early age deaf and hearing alike. Infants and toddlers can communicate their thoughts and feelings before they've mastered verbal skills. Communication barriers are broken down. Sign language supplements learning. Studies indicate that hearing children whose teachers use sign language score better on standardized tests for vocabulary development than those students not exposed to signing. Many Schools are using American Sign Language in their early literacy programs as a tool in developing letter recognition, sight words and basic vocabulary. One principal in NJ, at an early childhood center, stated that teachers are using sign language in their daily lessons. She believes having students make a sign when they say a word makes it easier for them to remember words because they can attach a mental image to simple words. A teacher in Los Angeles described her success in using sign language to help developmentally disabled hearing children read. Sign Language comes naturally to infants and children. You will be amazed at the results learning another language can produce!
Our modern lives are extremely busy and most parents are finding it more and more difficult to spend quality time with the most important "little" people in their lives. Products like ours are just some of the many valuable tools everyone can use during the time we do have to interact and create an everlasting bond with our children and that is what Express Yourself Baby! is all about. Just like you, our children's development and education is a top priority and we want to give them every advantage to become the best they can be. So...