Peter Reckell Amazed at Daughter's Sign Language

04/05/2009 at 08:00 AM ET
Juan Rico/Fame Pictures

Loden Sloan Reckell, the 17-month-old daughter of actor Peter Reckell and singer Kelly Moneymaker, may not be able to verbally tell her parents what she wants yet, but she has been taught a way to communicate — sign language. Calling the baby signs she’s learned “amazing,” the Days of Our Lives star explains that “it’s that kind of thing, watching their minds develop, that is just astounding.” One of Loden’s favorite signs is ‘more’ and she is learning all the different ways she can use it.

“She just uses it pretty much with more food, more milk or whatever she’s eating. And then all of a sudden, she chased me around the couch, and we’re laughing and having a great time and I stopped to take a breather and she made the sign for more. She wanted more chasing. “

Peter, 53, loves to see his daughter grow and change, but a question remains — who does Loden look like? “A lot of people are saying that she’s really starting to look like me a lot, but then yesterday, Kelly was holding her and somebody said, ‘She looks just like you.'” While he appreciates that Loden is a combination of he and his wife, Peter admits that it makes him “kind of sad” to see how exactly the traits are expressed. “When she’s in a serious mood, scowling or unhappy, she looks like me, and when she’s happy and smiling, she looks like Kelly!”

Loden is the first child for Peter and Kelly, 38.

Source: Soap Opera Digest

–Angela

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Showing 39 comments

Manda Jo on

I love him on Days! So did they just teach her baby sign language or does she have a hearing disability? I don’t remember reading anything on here about it.

Lizz on

We have been signing with my 10 month old since he was born and he can now sign more, milk, mama, dada, and all done

UggaMugga.com on

I’ve used sign language with all of my children. It’s so wonderful for them to be able to communicate their wants and feelings from such an early age…cuts down on them fussing and us guessing what they need or want. Not to mention, it’s adorable!!! I love the Signing Time series: http://tinyurl.com/chhwjg.

Natasha on

Oh I remember this signing stuff from the Meet the Fockers movie and I think it’s really cool! I’m curious though, does it reduce their speaking? Like do they learn less words because they can use hand symbols?

AJK on

My son started using his first sign (“more”) when he was 9 months old and by 12 months he had learned several more. It’s amazing to see and so very helpful. I’m glad to see that other parents, including celebrity parents, have taken advantage of it.

mom of 3 boys on

sign language does not diminish the use of words – it opens a whole new world. Signing is a great way to teach babies to speak since they can’t speak for a while. More, mama, dada, all done, yes, no, ball,sorry, cookie, etc. it’s second nature to some. A lot of daycares actually incorporate it into their programs. It’s wondeful.

kelly on

Well, I’m going against the grain here, but I prefer my 3 children to talk.
I would never teach them to sign unless they were hearing impaired.

Talking is something parents to have to teach, children learn through mimicking. I’ve started at birth with teaching my kids how to talk and all three have been talking by 12 months, though I do understand it is a hereditary thing as well.

By 17 months Reckell’s child should be able to actually ask for more by talking!
“more” isn’t a difficult thing to say, if you can move your hand, you can move your mouth ;)
I do not understand why he is impressed by her signing it.

I do NOT want to offend any mother’s out there who are pro signing, but I’ve always laughed to myself when parents are proud of their one year olds signing, when they could be talking.
It’s totally my humble opinion though.

Lorelei on

Kelly, I tend to agree with your humble opinion. My three children seemed to speak volumes without complete control over speech when they were little, just with sounds and mimicking. Prior to that I listened for cues in cries and sound. By seventeen months they really chatted up a storm. To each his own though if you believe it helps – do it. My 14 month old niece is learning sign language which is her parents decision.

Sam on

Kelly, just because they’re teaching the child to sign doesn’t mean they aren’t teaching her to talk, too! Usually when parents sign to the child, they also say the words along with the sign. If his daughter is signing to them at 17 months, it doesn’t mean she can’t also verbalize what she wants.

Teaching a child sign language along with English is no different than teaching the child both English and Spanish or both English and French.

Monique on

He looks great for 53. He must take Dick Clark pills. I use to watch him on Days when I was in 8th grade…25 years ago.

Michelle on

As a speech therapist, research shows that babies who sign do not speak less or later than those who do not sign. If anything, they are learning language faster because their needs are being met sooner than if they had to wait for their oral motor development to catch up. Perhaps this particular child has some delayed speech development-but it wouldn’t be because she signs. Children who are able to sign also have the benefit of being bilingual and able to talk to children and others who may have hearing impairments. To not teach your children to sign simply because they are not deaf (as the previous poster stated) is just simply behind the times! What a wonderful gift this family has given this child. (My daughter, now 4, was a fluent signer as well and is a fluent speaker as well.)

ooji on

i believe in this case, the reckell’s daughter is unable to speak, and so sign language is her only means of communication at this point…but ultimately, i think it’s great when parents teach their children multiple languages…i believe salma hayak is teaching her daughter two or three languages.

sil on

Kelly I agree with you, a 9 – 10 month old baby signing is ok, but a 17 month old baby that can’t say “more”…maybe is something to be worried about? Just my opinion…
My daughter began to talk at 18 months – 2 yrs, but I remember that at 9 months old she already said “papa” (dad in spanish-italian) and “agua” (water in spanish)and when she was 1 yrs old she already said “mas” which means “more” in spanish…
I understand not all kids are the same, but which makes me think is why Peter Reckell is “amazed” at daughter’s sign language….if the baby is already 17 months old?? Or maybe she has a hearing disability? if this is the case, then I apologize.

Angelique on

I know what you mean, Kelly. At first, I wanted to teach our son to sign. I had friends and relatives who did it and thought it was a great idea. My husband, on the other hand, was against it. Like you Kelly, he thought, why not just encourage verbal communication? So, at 15 months, our son is able to verbalize all the basics: More, sleepy, yes, no, I want this or that. He does point at an object if he doesn’t know the word yet, but we really communicate. His vocabulary grows every day!

Mia on

Some children develop at different levels and teaching them to sign is another outlet for them to communicate, and is actually healthier for their development. It actually encourages better speech, and vocabulary later on.

Rachel on

I used to be the type that thought the use of sign language would decrease a child’s vocab and sometimes (in extreme circumstances) it can, but now that I teach a class full of one year olds I’ve come to learn that it’s an awesome way to teach them not only sign language skills, but also verbal skills. When you teach a child to sign you repetively use the sign AND the word, so not only are you teaching them the physical cue but you’re also verbally communicating with them.

For the children who have more difficult with speech it is an excellent way to communicate. And in our classroom not only do we do words like more, eat, please, thank you, milk, help, change diaper, etc… (that meet the basic needs), but we also teach loads of other signs that are just fun to learn. And imagine, this will be something your child will know later in life and if they ever have to deal with a deaf person, they’ll be one up on most of us.

Now I think it’s actually a really cool thing.

Amy on

Babies start using gestures,such as waving bye-bye and lifting their arms when they want to be picked up, at an early age. Signing is no different! It allows them to communicate way before they are able to speak and it actually encourages speech development. When signing to your baby, you don’t JUST sign, you are speaking the word too! Just because he mentions that his 17-month old daughter was signing “more” doesn’t mean she didn’t say the word too. All kids develop speech at different stages so I think its great that they are giving her the opportunity to communicate through sign if she’s unable to verbalize right now. I’m an early childhood educator and children should have approximately 50 words by 2 years of age. Using sign will encourage her to reach that goal!

Angelique on

Help me out here, I was under the impression that “baby sign” was not the same as American Sign Language. . . ?

Ali on

I know that my personal experience certainly does not amount to scientific evidence…but three different families that I am close with have chosen to do baby sign language and in all three cases those children ended up having significantly delayed speech and needing speech therapy. (They were not expecting problems when they introduced it.)

Interestingly enough, two of those families chose not to do sign language with their other child (in one case it was an older child who had not learned to sign, in the other it was the second child that was not taught) and neither of those children had problems with speech development.

It doesn’t amount to anything other than my own personal experience, but it makes me hesitant to use baby sign language unless it is already clear that there may be a speech delay and it will be the only way to communicate effectively.

pippi777 on

Angelique – There is a difference between American Sign Language (also know as ASL) and baby sign language. ASL is a government recognized language. The sentences are much more structered. Baby sign language isn’t really government recognized and is much more simplified than ASL, more like 1 or 2 word sentences as opposed to full on sentences. Usually once the child is old enough to speak verbally the majority of the time, the baby sign language stops. Sometimes the parents want the child to know full ASL for a specific reason (wanting their child to know more than 1 language, a family member is deaf, etc.).

If I recall hearing correctly, sign language and verbal speaking are actually using different parts of the brain. (I could be wrong about that, though.) So by using sign language you are not overloading the brain into the child using 1 over the other. I’m a nanny and have used it with many of the children I’ve worked with (with the parents permission, of course). It helped me with them tremendously! It made EVERYTHING so much easier. Not as much of 20 questions, but they could actually tell me what they wanted. It cut down on frustration (theirs and mine), cut down on time in finding out what they want, less of a mess to clean up (instead of throwing their food over the side of the tray thay’d tell me “All done”), etc. And in all of the cases, the children started speaking at around the same age that chidlren who had not learned the sign language did. As for some saying that her not talking much at 17 months could indicate a problem, that is a reason the range for all developmental skills with children is so long. Because every child is different. It could indicate a problem, but it could be that she is just a late talker.

Mrs. R. on

I don’t have anything against teaching a few signs as they are helpful ways to communicate, but really – I don’t think they aren’t the end all be all of communicating with your child.

We did a couple basic ones like please and more and all done and that was all. Our daughter was an early talker, and is a very verbal child. It was just who she is, but I do think our encouragement of her verbal tendencies contributed.

I think it’s great for kids who are less verbal though – helps ease a transition until the child is ready to be speaking fluently – but some parents seem to rely on it too heavily. I just don’t buy into the idea that it does anything more or less for a child’s vocabulary or talking in the long run.

Rachel on

Angelique — there are some Baby sign language books that use “fake” or “made up” signs and many that use only true ASL. I’m of the great opinion that if a parent is going to introduce sign language to their child then they should make sure they are introducing genuine American Sign Language.

Ali — There could be major differences in the way these parents are introducing signs. I know a lot of parents that once their children learn to sign don’t feel the need to encourage the verbal skill (ie; if you know what they want by their physically asking for it then they don’t need to verbally ask for it). Signing should be used in very young infants who can’t yet speak and as you’re teaching them you should always say the word repeatedly while signing it. Then, once a child begins to verbally communicate (because you’ve been encouraging them to all along) it’s very important that you stress they also SAY the word along with or instead of signing it.

We have 6 children in our classroom and out of those 6 children all of them sign and some of them are far more verbal than the others. There’s no difference in the way we’ve taught them. Every child is different. Their signing may have something to do with their delays, but then again, some children will have speech delays regardless of which approach is taken.

MZ on

Angelique,

I think it depends. We’re going to do some signing with our baby, but use ASL signs. ASL has its own grammatical structure though, separate from English, and many parents teach their kids to sign in English instead of using the ASL structure.

For those who are saying that signing delays verbal communication, I think it depends on how the family uses it. Several of my friends have used with with their children and their kids all started speaking around 12-14 months which seems right on target to me. They use the signs for words they don’t know how to say yet, and their parents always verbalized the word along with the sign.

Jasmine C. on

I started teaching my daughter to sign at around 5 months and she started to sign back at 6 1/2 months and by the time she was 15-17 months old she was signing over 100 signs….It was an amazing experience…I remember her having a “conversation” with me at 7 mos, she was in her highchair and she signed to be BIRD, LISTEN and OUTSIDE…she was telling me she heard the birds outside….I would recommend any new mom to try it and be consistant, stick it out and in the end it is the most memorable expierence..My daughter is now almost 3 and her vocabulary is UNBELIEVABLE!! she has the language skills of a 5 year old…and still loves learning her signs..It is a skill that will always stay with her (and me) :)

Jasmine C. on

Kelly, maybe you should do some research before you judge!!

Jasmine C. on

Oh and BTY my daughter would sign AND say the word with the sign!!!

Anne on

My 15 month old granddaughter loves to watch the Baby Einstein videos and one of them shows Mary Matlin (you know who I mean) showing sign language like baby, ball, eat etc. and in no time my granddaughter was doing it herself and this is before she started talking. Now at 17 months she is starting to say more and more words. Little ones brains are like a sponge and they learn quickly.

AJK on

I guess I should have said that when we did the sign we also said the word, so at 9 months my son was saying “please” and “more” as well as signing them. (Of course it sounded like “deeess” and “moe”) At 18 months he is trying to speak in small sentences, such as “Crackers, please” and “I don’t know”, although I’m not sure where the I don’t know came from! :) I don’t think it held him back at all, but that’s just my experience. I have friends that used it as well and they have extremely verbal children. Maybe it works well for some kids and not others, just like how some kids are visual learners and some are auditory learners. (Not sure if that is the correct term, but I couldn’t think of another way to say it.( :)

Lisa on

Teaching sign language doesn’t replace speaking. It’s just offering the child an alternative way to express their needs while they’re still learning how to speak. We’ve used sign language with both of my nephews and my younger niece. We always said the word with the sign. They all used the signs appropriately AND learned to speak at the same time. My youngest nephew has a HUGE vocabulary and has been saying words that absolutely blow my mind for quite a while now (he’ll be 3 in two weeks). My niece is 18 months old and she, on her own, decided to stop signing in favor of saying the words. Although occasionally, she’ll still throw in a sign when she asks for something.

eternalcanadian on

Wow, so much ignorance and “ableism” about ASL. It is a language just like French, Spanish, Russian, etc. What do you say to parents that speak only a non-English language in their household? Are their children any less “intelligent” or “advanced” than children than speak English? Of course not.

ASL or “baby sign” is fantastic as it definitely gets parents communicating with their babies far quicker than with speech. It is amazing and gratifying to see a baby sign “food” or “tired” and you can immediately attend to their needs instead of wondering why they continue to cry and wail.

So yes, instead of saying ASL or baby sign is not a good thing and it “dumbs” the kids down, how about we embrace ASL as a second language to learn? Everyone can benefit from learning a second language, and if you meet someone that happens to be Deaf and uses ASL, why then you and your children can communicate with them instead of being all awkward and fumbling or scooting away like so many people do.

So yeah, let’s hear it for ASL being taught to babies from day one! :-)

Lis on

Wow, Jasmine, I think that is just SO cool! :) Makes me want to do that with my (future) babies!

JMO on

By the time the baby that I watch turned a year old I had taught her to sign, “more”, “milk”, “again”, “jump”, “ball”, “all done”, “home”, “please” and “thank you”. But she could also speak it and sign it at the same time! I think it was wonderful and she was able to communicate with me much faster and her language skills to this day are out of this world!

Kelly on

We signed with both of our kids, and it really helped bridge the gap between being able to say what they wanted and knowing what they wanted. Yes, a child should be speaking at a certain age (a wide range of time is normal), but the signs will lessen the child’s frustration when he/she is trying to communicate. My 9 month old would tell me she wanted milk with the appropriate sign (and she couldn’t clearly say it at that point). She was so proud that we could get what she wanted (and she’s a 6-year-old 1st grader reading on a 4th grade level now).

Same for my son: totally great experience. He was slower to speak at first, so the signs helped bridge the gap and made it easier for him to communicate his wants and needs while he figured out how to make the sounds with his mouth et al.

As long as you’re saying the words with the signs, encouraging the child to speak, and being positive (no pressure), it’ll be great for all involved.

Yvonne Torres on

Peter, I just love you and your charter on days your the s%*% lol
I don’t know if your daughter could hear or not, but its a blessing to have a daugher weather she can hear or not, your child is special and will always be. I hope that if she can’t hear that she will through your eyes, and that is a special gift that she has.. I havent seen a picture of your daughter but I bet she has good looks from you and your wife because your wife is beautiful like you.
Best wishes
Yvonne
I have been a fan since I lived in New York I remember watching your show since I was a little girl when it use to come on for only half hour, I am 50 and I am still a fan and will always be.

sofia on

Signing IS considered another form of language, and it is all the rage just like teaching young children Chinese these days. All my doctors, and my vet, have taught their kids to sign. My daughter learned both Swedish, English and Italian from birth and by 6months, we would say something in Swedish like “brush you hair” and she would act out with her hands what we said so we knew she understood. It was amazing to watch. Signing is no different. Since the child can’t express something in English at 6mos, their natural inclination is to respond with gestures. My daughter had a huge vocabulary and spoke VERY early. I had to see an ENT and took her with me, and the speech therapist in the office couldn’t get over how vocal she was at her age. She also had a large vocabulary and was a great speller early on, and read by age 3 (her pre-school teacher called me up one day and told me she was reading in school – I had never taught her, but the teacher did thinking she was 4! That’s how advanced her speech patterns were). It was a funny call, because she said “gee, it’s amazing she can read sentences, and yet her motor skills are not that advanced for a 4 year old. She isn’t able to cut with scissors very well.” That’s when I told her she was only 3. We had joined the class late, so she just assumed she was 4 like the other children.

From that, my daughter wanted to learn Japanese, and we just did a children’s Berlitz course which she dropped after about 3 months. However, she is now 14, and can read music and play piano by ear. She is great in Latin and French at school, and I truly believe that kids who learn languages early on, including sign language, develop that part of the brain much more rapidly, and that spills over to math, music, language arts, etc.

I totally agree as well that when signing, parents most generally speak simultaneously so the child learns the word.

Kristi on

I think all you judgemental parents need to get a life. So what if your baby can do this or that at XX months and what you would do in your household. Your incessant need to have details of what your “favorite” celebrity is doing is crazy, and then when they do share the tiniest detail with the public, you jump all over it. There is no right or wrong…just simply to each their own.

Mary on

I always said i would teach my babies ASL. Then i found out that by the time they really get the hang of it, they’re talking!

my son is 11 months old and already says a number of words (not clearly, but WE know what he’s saying) is it pointless to teach him?

Mary on

up the page a bit someone named Sam said, “If his daughter is signing to them at 17 months, it doesn’t mean she can’t also verbalize what she wants.”
and that’s my question?
why bother teaching signing if she can already say it???

Gina on

There is nothing wrong with children signing at that age. The younger they are the easier it is for them to learn. Signing is another language like spanish, english, Itailan ect.. Just because they are teaching her to sign doesn’t mean she can’t speak. I live in the USA where English is the language, well suppose to be. Have to question it when you make a phone call and you have to press 1 for English. I think that is awesome that Peter and his wife are teaching her another language. In all reality its not anyone’s business but theirs. She must be a beautiful little girl, with a hot looking Dad and a beautiful Mom.

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