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December 26, 2005

'Signing' on Sunday

From: Los Angeles Daily News, CA - Dec 26, 2005

By Diana McKeon Charkalis, Lifestyle Editor

Signing is for everyone.

That's the message behind "Signing Time," a VHS/DVD series and a new program on KCET, Los Angeles' PBS station.

The program teaches children and adults to communicate through American Sign Language using songs, bright colors and stories.

It was created by Rachel Coleman, whose daughter, Leah, 9, is deaf and is featured in the series, along with her cousin Alex, 7. He can hear and started signing when he was 9 months old. "Leah was 4 when my sister and I came up with the idea because I was frustrated with how few people could communicate with her," Coleman says.

Coleman, a former Toluca Lake resident, says she was inspired by the fact that, once she taught Leah's classmates to sign, it created a bridge for communication that made interaction both easier and more fun for all the kids. "The difference was amazing after they learned just a handful of signs."

She adds that signing is a great second language for all kids, especially those who can't speak yet. It enhances cognitive abilities and helps create larger vocabularies. "It really reduces frustrations and tantrums, too. It's incredible the things your child can tell you before they learn to talk."

The series premieres at 8 a.m. Sunday on KCET and will also be featured on other PBS stations nationwide. For more information, visit

Copyright © 2005 Los Angeles Newspaper Group