When I entered the interpreting program in 2009 I remember a college professor of mine challenging me to practice fingerspelling every single time I got in the car. I practiced so often that it became a habit. I still practice fingerspelling in the car sometimes because it's easy to read the road signs and billboards and practice fingerspelling the words (without having to worry about how something is spelled.)
As soon as I could turn my children's car seats facing forward I started fingerspelling with them in the car as well. This turned out to be a life saver for me. Both my boys were terrible car riders and at times singing and signing the ABC's was the only thing that kept them from crying. I could just turn my wrist and practice fingerspelling to them over my shoulder. It added visual interest for them and kept them happy.... and quiet.
I would love to encourage you to get in this habit as well. Who knows, maybe it will stick with you and your children for many years to come!
When do we fingerspell?
- People's names
- Names of places
- Titles (books, movies, restaurants, stores, etc.)
- Brands and Products
- When we don't know a sign
- For emphasis
- Keep your elbow down and close to your body, with your arm relaxed
- Do not bounce your hand/letters
- Do not look at your hand while fingerspelling (maintain eye contact with whomever you are signing with)
Whichever hand you naturally picked up to fingerspell with is your dominant hand. It doesn't matter which one you choose. I am left handed but I sign right-hand dominant. Whichever hand you determine to be your dominant hand is the one that does the movement/action.
Practice fingerspelling your baby's name whenever you have the opportunity!