Blog posts of '2012' 'August'

Meet Rianne Maldonado

Rianne MaldonadoMy name is Rianne Maldonado and my family and I moved from Tucson, Arizona two years ago this December to beautiful Northern Idaho. My husband and I have two daughters and one son, a dog, a cat, and a hamster named Vera. In addition to being an Advanced Signing Time Instructor, I am a Certified Lactation Educator-Counselor from UCSD in sunny Southern California. As a mother, I am involved in and seriously committed to my children’s’ education, but sometimes more importantly to their need to feel safe, secure, loved, and heard. It is important to me that children feel free to express their wonderful selves and I feel as a parent it is my responsibility to give my children effective tools to do so. Teaching them to use sign language provides so many benefits from an educational standpoint, but more importantly from a communication standpoint.

In early June of 2009 my daughter, Ruby, was four months old when she and I attended a “Signing Story Time” at our local Tucson library. I had such a great time and was so fascinated, that I just couldn’t wait to learn more! I signed up for all of the private classes that day and couldn’t wait to get started. It was so much fun to learn the signs with other moms and babies, but the very best part of it all was when we started seeing results with Ruby.

Ruby was able to understand our signs very quickly and would show us that she understood. She would smile or kick her legs in response and it was truly amazing. Right around the time she turned 6 months old she signed her first sign back to us. We were in a restaurant and she pointed to her cup of water and signed “water.” The people around us probably thought we were crazy because we were just so excited! From that moment on her signing vocabulary just blossomed and not long after that her spoken vocabulary took off as well. You can see a short video of Ruby at 14 months signing “ALL DONE” and “MORE” on my website

Today, Ruby is three and a half years old and even though her spoken vocabulary is astounding, so much so that she is already beginning to read, she continues to sign for many reasons. She loves to sign to her 10 month old baby sister (who is now signing “MILK” for everything she loves) and to everyone she meets. She especially likes to “show off” her signing ability to her Grandpa and Grandma when they visit. There are even times when Ruby is very upset or unable to talk (such as this past August when she had her tonsils removed) and she signs. These are times that I am even more thankful and grateful for this alternative method of communicating with my daughter because to me, at the end of the day, it’s all about our relationships and communication.

I have always been fascinated by American Sign Language, but when I learned enough to communicate with my daughter I realized how truly amazing this beautiful language is. I knew I wanted to continue my education in ASL and share my knowledge with other families so I decided to become an Advanced Signing Time Certified Instructor through Signing Time Academy. I am working diligently to further my education in ASL and sincerely look forward to signing with you and your baby!

In the early 1900’s, with the invention of telephones and faster transportation, families were beginning to spread out and the extended family system began to be replaced by the nuclear family.

Moms were often left taking care of the entire family while dad worked,. With no one nearby to step in and give her a break, moms were overwhelmed. In order to support this new family structure, experts began trying to figure out how we could create more independent and less demanding children. These experts decided that the answer to this dilemma would be to let babies cry it out rather than pick them up, feed them on strict 4 hour schedules rather than on demand, and encourage babies to not get too attached. The experts felt that independence would be the result because they would not be used to having their cries answered and their needs met. Intellectually this might make sense but does it make sense in our hearts? Babies are 100% dependent on us to meet their needs. Would a baby left crying in a crib because they are scared or hungry actually cultivate independence? It seems more likely that a feeling of horrible insecurity would result when there is minimal response to their needs. There is more and more research coming out which indicates that the more a baby is kept close, is fed when hungry, and receives great amounts of love and attention, the more they grow into confident and “independent’ children. This is exactly the opposite of what was thought in the past. We are learning more than ever about that first year of life. It is so important that every parent do their own research, and listen to their own instincts, in order to decide how they are going to respond to the needs of their child.