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Local Mom Teams Up with Toy Store to Teach Baby Sign Language

Jacksonville mom uses her background in special education and American Sign Language to help children communicate with their families. A local toy store is hosting the meetings during August.

Jacksonville, FL, August 04, 2011 --( Sitting cross-legged on the floor, parents and babies joined in singing and reading with their voices and hands. Daryl Everett, a local mom and former Duval county teacher, led the group alongside her nineteen-month old son.

Daryl, known to her toddling students as “Ms. Daryl,” offers sign language classes to caregivers and children all over the First Coast. "I am very excited to offer sign language and the My Smart Hands curriculum to First Coast families," said Daryl. “I have had a passion for sign language and children for many years. That passion led me to pursue a Master’s degree in Special Education, and now I am thrilled to use my training and experience to help youngsters communicate.”

During the month of August, Daryl is partnering with Learning Express on Atlantic Boulevard to offer Sing & Sign Story Time classes featuring books and songs. These weekly classes provide an opportunity to see a signing toddler as well since Ms. Daryl brings her son to each session. “I’ve been signing with him since he was tiny. He communicates just as well in ASL as he does in English, maybe better. I want the other families to see what it looks like when a toddler signs,” Daryl said of her son. “I am often asked, ‘what’s it going to look like when she starts to sign?’ so I want to provide a model.”

After the story, one mother asked for some advice on starting to sign with her infant. Smiling, Ms. Daryl answered, “Books are a good way to start because it will remind you to sign…. Don’t start with 30 signs at once. You’ll be overwhelmed, he’ll be fine, but you’ll be overwhelmed and forget to use them. Start with just a few and use them every time you say the word.”

This week’s story time theme was “On the Farm” and included signs from the book “Moo, Baa, LaLaLa” by Sandra Boynton and songs such as “Old MacDonald” and “How Much is That Doggie in the Window?” Classes are kept small and the August 1st session was full with eight families. Themes for upcoming sessions include “At the Zoo,” “Yummy Snacks” and “Home, Sweet Home.”

The My Smart Hands curriculum includes two levels of baby sign language courses for parents and children in which over 100 signs are taught per course. Ms. Daryl also offers child educator workshops designed to show teachers and child care providers how to use sign language with the children in their care. In addition, classes can be tailored to meet the needs of other groups, including families with special needs, wishing to incorporate sign language into their daily routines.

For more information about signing with children, visit or contact Daryl Everett by e-mail or phone 904-237-4526.


My Smart Hands is an international company with over 120 instructors who teach parents and caregivers how to communicate with their children through American Sign Language. The company has recently received the Parent Tested, Parent Approved Award. For more information about My Smart Hands, or to see videos of signing children, visit
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Daryl Everett

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