Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fireworks - a dazzling 'sign language' discovery

Yesterday evening, the 4th of July, we were
strolling through our neighborhood with our child,
Matthew, who was riding his bike - 3-wheel trike.
It was nearing dusk and excited kids were outside
with their sparklers and other fireworks.

We could hear the beginning pops, booms and
thunderous noises of fireworks during our walk.

At one point, while Matthew was riding his trike next
to us, I noticed that he made his right hand into a
fist (thumb sticking out) and raised his fist
straight up by his face (holding it tightly and
shaking his fist slightly). I haven't ever seen
him do that before and thought it was unusual.
But he stopped and went back to riding his bike.

Several more times, Matthew's raised shaking fist
went up in the air by his face. I got a little
concerned and wondered why.

Then all of a sudden it hit me that Matthew had made up
a sign for fireworks!!!

His raised shaking fist corresponded with each time
he would hear the noises of fireworks.

Matthew has Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum and
he is non-verbal. With the exception of a handful
of words, he communicates through a Dynavox V
communication device and through some sign language,

BIG, beautiful fireworks were going off up in the sky
(a few streets away from us) that caught Matthew's
attention (and our's, too). They were spectacular!
Matthew was enthralled!

Between the few big booms of exploding colorful sparkles
against a darkened sky and the two groups of kids on our
street (to our left and right), busily putting on their
own show, we were right in the middle of a fireworks display
that we weren't even expecting.

As we headed home, I went straight to the computer
to look up the American Sign Language (ASL) sign for
"fireworks" because I didn't know the real sign for it.

Although I loved that he created his own made-up sign.

I wanted to know the real sign and I want him to know it, too.

My search for how to sign the word "fireworks" led me to
an awesome baby sign language website with free video
demonstrations that I want to share with you.

Check it out:

My Smart Hands-Baby Sign Language Dictionary

The Main website is My Smart Hands

They also offer My Smart Hands baby sign language dictionary app with over 300 signs as well as a few other apps available for your iPhone, iPod or iPad, for purchase at itunes.

You can also explore previous ACC blog posts regarding
other sign language resources:

Sign Language: My First Signs

Learn Sign Language - Baby See 'N Sign

Sign Language - Signing Time


  1. I have the My Smart Hands app on my phone and I love it. My 18 month old daughter has dysgenesis of CC and she knows a few signs now and I am working on teaching her more.

  2. HoorAAAAAAY for Matthew! He is so smart. I love picturing him cruisin' around on his trike, in awe at the sky ablaze above him! That is magical!

    Love, Bree

  3. Thank you for sharing! I've been learning signs and exposing them to Ben. With both Acc and Down syndrome I want to give him all the opportunities to communicate!

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I do sign with my son Grayden 2 years old and now I have downloaded the app on my Iphone so i have some words at my finger tips to use. It is great. It shows you how to do the signs and everything. I love it very clear and the directions on how to do each sign are easy
    to follow.


  5. How wonderful! I am celebrating with you and I'm so happy for Matthew.

    Can't wait to meet him next week!


  6. I loved reading this and love how Matthew finds his own ways to communicate and express himself. Beau is getting to an age now where he knows sign but seems to have his own that he creates as well. It's amazing to me how they do that! Love this, love this :)


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