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Sign Language Helps Sick Babies Tell You Where It Hurts

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As we all hope for healthy children, the ability to communicate with our children when they're sick makes a world of difference... not just for the child but for the caregiver too!

The other night my 18 month old daughter was not feeling well. I signed "where" and "hurt" (sometimes signing "hurt" right where I believed she may be hurting). My son had just had an ear infection, so I was signing hurt at my ear. I then went on to take her temperature and gave her some medicine. Upon going to sit down for a little bit until she calmed down, she seemed rather restless, and I asked what's wrong, whereupon she signed "sleep."

She wanted to go back to sleep in her bed.

Here are some more signs that come in handy when our little ones are sick and when we desire badly to understand their needs, furthermore wanting to eliminate feeling helpless to those needs. And although eliminating that helpless feeling is rather impossible at times, we can feel more in control and find patience in the comfort of communicating with signs.


What is Wrong (what is the matter): The sign WRONG is repeated while the head tilts forward.

Need:The bent index finger, X-hand moves up and down in a repeated movement.

Medicine:The middle finger makes a slight wiggling motion in the center of the palm of the opposite hand.

Fever:One index finger begins in the mouth and then runs up the side of the opposite hand's index finger.

Thermometer:The index finger acts as if it will be placed in the mouth.

Temperature: The F-hand slides up the opposite hand's index finger.

Sick:The touch fingers of both hands make a twisting motion at the forehead and the stomach.

Where:The index finger is held upward and shook.

Hurt:Both index fingers move inward as they twist.

Wait:Both Open 5-hands with palms up, fingers wiggle.

Doctor:The fingers of the right hand touch the inside of the wrist of the left hand.

Nurse: The N-hand is placed on the inside of the wrist.

Don't forget the most important sign, "I Love You."

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Photo by LizaWasHere via Flickr


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