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July 5, 2004

Tot Chloe Breaks The Sound Barrier

From: Derby Evening Telegraph, UK - Jul 5, 2004


Remarkable Derby toddler Chloe Brentnall is mastering sign language to communicate with her deaf mother.

Although she is only 19-months-old, the Mackworth youngster already knows more than 60 signs to help her communicate with mum Samantha (23), who is also bringing up Chloe's new baby sister Emily (four weeks).

Proud grandmother Iris Brentnall (44), said she is absolutely delighted with Chloe's progress, which experts have described as extremely good for her age.

Mrs Brentnall, who lives with Samantha and the girls in Brentford Drive, Mackworth, said: "I saw a story in a national newspaper about a 16-month old baby who could do six British Sign Language gestures and that was hailed as remarkable. Well, at the same age Chloe was already doing 60."

According to Mrs Brentnall, Chloe's advanced skills are down to her mother, a former star pupil at Derby's Royal School for the Deaf on Ashbourne Road.

"Samantha spends hours reading books and signing with her daughter," said Mrs Brentnall.

"As a young mum, I had to learn sign language in order to teach Samantha but, by the age of five, she was already teaching me. She has always been bright. She went on to be awarded a cup by The Royal School for the Deaf for being an outstanding pupil."

Now Chloe is following in her mother's footsteps.

Through sign language, single mum Miss Brentnall, said: "Chloe's first sign was 'pig' when she was 14 months old. By the time she was 16 months old, I realised that she knew lots of signs, including orange, food and dummy."

Now Chloe's sign language is so advanced she uses it to help her mother.

Mrs Brentnall said: "Though things have been adapted around the house so that Samantha knows when someone is at the door or the phone is ringing, Chloe will also run up to her mum and make the sign for 'door' or 'phone'."

In fact Chloe is so good at sign language she has even started to teach her 18-month-old cousin Paris to sign too.

Tim Silvester, principal of the Royal School for the Deaf, in Ashbourne Road, Derby, said:"There has been research done that shows young children can learn to sign and express themselves from a young age, but for a 19-month-old to have this level of expressive language is very good."

© 2004 Northcliffe Electronic Publishing Ltd.