Over the long weekend I had the chance to observe an amazing game my wife and daughter play with each other. My wife has a set of flash cards with pictures that she borrowed from one of our neighbors. She'll set four of them on the floor in front of my daughter and ask her in spoken English to point to one of the objects pictured on the cards. Almost always my daughter could pick out the picture that my wife named. Pictures include, a dog, a horse, a shoe, a fish, a bird and so on.
Sometimes my wife will make my little one do the sign along with finding the picture. Other times my wife will make the sign and my little girl will have to find the picture based on that. It surprised me to see that my daughter appears to know the signs for nearly every picture she saw. At one point in the game my wife made the sign for elephant, which I had no clue about. Sure enough my daughter picked the picture of the elephant.
At another point, a shell was one of the four cards. My wife said, "Find the shell." Then she finger spelled shell since we don't know the sign for it. My little girl hadn't ever learned the word shell and she certainly can't read finger spelling. She looked for quite a bit at the four pictures and picked out the right card. The only thing that could have happened is that she knew the pictures of the dog, the ball and the fish. So she eliminated those and chose the picture she wasn't familiar with which was the shell.
I was amazed. Here's a little girl who can't speak at all and she's using beginning problem solving skills to play a word game. I'm surprised at how much she's learning. I see more all the time about how much children like my daughter know, but don't normally show because they don't know how to express their knowledge. It's always an eye opener when my daughter finds a way to open up and really show what's she's capable of.