TORRANCE, Calif. — In a classroom filled with child-sized seats, tables and toys, toddlers such as Albert are using American Sign Language gestures to show what they are trying to communicate through hand gestures.
Erica Flores, his mom, who admits she sticks around The Learning Experience - Torrance beyond drop-off, said it’s helped her better understand her son.
“Any time we give him something new, new flavors, we know when he wants something, ‘more’,” she said as she showed the hand gesture her son makes to signal for more of something. “My husband and I were shocked. We didn’t understand at first. We had to flip through the book to make sure it was the sign we thought it was.”
Albert is learning ASL signs that signal more, thank you and all done, which looks like hands waving in the air. Each sign and gesture are taught throughout the day to help each child learn what they want to say.
“It makes me worry less because he’s able to tell me how he’s feeling a little bit more. That anxiety the first year of not knowing what they want and just hearing the cry could be a bit overwhelming,” she said.
Aisha King, the assistant director at daycare, said it’s helped many first-time parents communicate with their toddler and it has even led to a decrease in negative behaviors.
“I definitely have seen children who bite often, especially at this young age, because the kids don’t have words. Biting is a very predominate behavior that you’ll see. ASL will definitely help when it comes to biting,” King said.
At home, Albert is learning three other languages, Flores said, but as a mom, she’s excited to see what he’ll learn next.
“I look forward to see him learning many, many more things. Not just languages. When you get to math, social studies and what not. I’m looking forward to all of that,” she said.