Tag Archives: American Sign Language

Astoria mom teaches baby sign language to begin communication between child and parents


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Rebecca Raymond

Parents in Astoria will now be able to figure out what their babies want before they even learn how to speak.

Rebecca Raymond is the instructor behind My Smart Hands NYC, the New York City franchise of a company started by Laura Berg in Canada, which aims to teach children and parents American Sign Language to promote communication early in life.

Raymond, an Astoria resident, first heard about baby signing when her sister-in-law began signing with her nephew. With her interest in languages, majoring in Spanish and English in college, she then decided to begin teaching her then-5-month-old daughter how to sign.

Rebecca Raymond

Rebecca Raymond

“I just love languages and I thought it would be fun to teach her,” Raymond said. “Every single day seeing her sign there were new things I was learning about her.”

Her daughter took around two months to pick up the signs and realize that it was a way to communicate with her mother. Raymond taught her how to sign words such as “milk” and “light” and noticed her daughter was learning through her modeling. 

“Every time I would say a particular word I would sign it to her,” Raymond said. “It’s easier to pick up the word rather than the strain of sound.”

She later also taught her second daughter how to sign. Raymond said that teaching children how to sign at such a young age reduces the level of frustration that comes from not being able to communicate with their parents or caregivers. She added that learning ASL increases the children’s self-esteem and self-confidence because their needs are met more quickly.

“Once your baby starts to figure out what they are doing with their hands is actually helping you communicate, then they pick it up fast,” Raymond said.

One important thing that parents have to keep in mind is being consistent in teaching their children, according to Raymond. Babies usually are not able to sign until they are 6 months old and begin picking up many signs between 7 to 12 months of age.

Rebecca Raymond's daughter signing the word "bed."

Rebecca Raymond’s daughter signing the word “bed,” one of the signs she still remembers from when she was a baby.

Raymond teaches parents out of their homes in either Astoria or Long Island City, and also at local bookstores and shops. Starting in March, she will begin giving Saturday classes at Raising Astoria, located at, 26-11 23rd Ave., as part of an eight-week course. Parents who are interested in taking part in the course can register on www.mysmarthandsnyc.com. Registration comes with a book and CD.

For more information visit www.mysmarthandsnyc.com or email rebecca@mysmarthands.com.

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Sports Star: Theodore Gallucci, forward, St. Francis Prep, hockey team


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Name: Theodore Gallucci
School: St. Francis Preparatory School
Grade: Senior
Sport: Hockey
Position: Forward/ Center

Theodore Gallucci is a senior forward on the St. Francis Preparatory High School hockey team. Gallucci has helped the team to a 3-1 record, as of Jan. 6. He scored a goal in the team’s most recent game against Xaverian, on Dec. 27, helping his team to win, 4-3. While being a productive member of the team, Gallucci maintains a 92 percent academic average and has been an active member of the school’s Model United Nations organization since his sophomore year. The organization holds conferences to talk about real issues with foreign countries and allows students to meet with other schools’ Model UN groups. Gallucci also knows American Sign Language, which he uses to communicate with his grandparents, who are deaf. Gallucci has already been accepted to Iona College, but has not decided where he will enroll.

Why do you play hockey?
“I had been playing roller hockey for about 11 or 12 years. Right before high school my mom encouraged me to play ice hockey. I ended up making the team and I wasn’t that good, but worked hard. I chose hockey over other sports because it appealed to me.”

If you couldn’t play hockey in the future, what would you do?
“If I couldn’t do hockey I would try to be involved in something else, maybe crew (rowing) or anything that involves a team. It gives you a chance to bond with people. It’s fun and it’s good to see your team succeed.”

What is your favorite class?
“I enjoy a lot of things. I like AP European History and CAD (Computer Aided Design) class. It’s a lot of architecture and design. You have a lot of options and you can get creative with it.”

What did you learn from being on the Model UN?
“It brought me out of my shell. I used to be a shy person, and being in the Model UN I am more comfortable speaking around people. I also learned how to research things better.”

Is it hard to balance both Model UN and hockey?
“I play hockey at least twice a week and I have a meeting with model UN once a week. It gets tight sometimes.”

Follow on Twitter @liamlaguerre

 

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