Teddies and Duckies Sign: Helping Children to Communicate


Leaf – Open one hand to show the leaf. Use your pointer finger from your other hand to show the leaf stem.

Britt Young, Ad Sales

Teddies and Duckies Sign is a class that teaches infants on up to adults how to use sign language, which bridges the gap between language barriers.

Think about being able to communicate with children that can not speak yet.  Their every want and need could be understood and met like anyone else.  Sign language could be the key.

The website Tiny Babies Sign stated that infants and young children have fewer tantrums when taught sign language.  Sign language gives preverbal children a way to communicate so their needs can be comprehended.

Megan McWilliams is focusing on helping these preverbal children have a way to communicate.

McWilliams is the owner of the instructing business, Teddies and Duckies Sign. Teddies and Duckies sign you may ask?  ”My one daughter sleeps with a ducky, and the other sleeps with a teddy,”  McWilliams explained.

McWilliams has been a signing instructor out of Signing Time for one year.  She has been signing for four years with children.  This passion came from the urge to understand her preverbal infant.

At one time she was a mother that worked outside of the home.  She wanted to know what her child wanted and needed at certain times.  She first studied the moans and groans of an infant, and that really didn’t lead anywhere.

Then she started researching signing.  Soon her and her husband learned a few basic signs to teach to their daughter.

Through lots of research she found the Signing Time series and started studying to become an instructor.  She soon found a passion in teaching others to sign.  She wanted to give back to other what she learned.

Signing Time uses simple songs with signing added to make it fun and relevant to children. This program also uses animation that is catching to the eye.  There are songs ranging from the colors of the rainbow to setting a dinner table.  Signing Time was established two years ago.

McWilliams is the only licensed instructor from Signing Time in the state of Nebraska.

There are three different levels of certification on Signing Time.  The first is baby, which means you are certified to teach infant signing.  The next is advanced, and those instructors are certified to teach anyone and are able to instruct local conferences.  The last is master, and like the advanced they can teach anyone, but can also travel and teach large conferences

McWilliams is a certified advanced signer, her goal was not to teach large conferences, but to teach around her community and small groups.  She has been a signing instructor for four years

She opened a daycare in January of last year after becoming licensed in November of 2010.

McWilliams opened this daycare for income for herself, to be self sufficient.  She wanted to be able to do something that she would enjoy and also make money to continue with her business as a signing instructor.

This daycare is also used for practice and examples of signing in young children.  A 14 month old child is able to sign “sleep please” when she is ready for a nap.  She has five children that have been learning sign language in her daycare.

Imagine not being able to communicate your needs and wants for three years; it would be nearly impossible.  Signing gives preverbal children the ability to communicate.  Repetition is important with this age and they need signing applied to every day life.

On the website Babies and Sign Language writes that sign language helps early vocabulary and language.  Signing also increases understanding of language and creativity.

McWilliams said that it is easier to learn sign language when younger because children’s brains are like sponges.  Children 0 to 5 years learn a lot in a very small time frame.

Children that are just starting to verbalize can grow from signing by giving them clarity of how they are saying things.  Signing may help them learn certain words and how to pronounce them.

WIth verbal children, signing is hands on, and it helps with early literacy and math.  McWilliams signed letters of the alphabet to one of her children to teach them how to read.  With every letter her child would sound out the letters to make a word

Adults are hard to work with because it is hard for them to change their ways.  They learn through repetition, hints, advice, and connecting things to everyday uses or things that they enjoy.

McWilliams said that the biggest push to signing in an adult is when they see their child sign.  ”At that point they are sold on signing,” McWilliams commented.

Signing is not only a passion for McWilliams, it gives her special time with her children.  She can work with them and teach them new things.  It is a type of connection that every mother would like to have with their children.

Teddies and Duckies has an online website that can be visited:  http://www.teddies-and-duckies-signing.com and also on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/TeddiesAndDuckiesSign.  Information about the program and McWilliams is posted.