This morning while I was helping Axel brush his teeth, he told me in sign, "Crocodile."
"What about crocodiles Axel?
"Elephant." he signed, laughing at the very funny noise he's learned to make.
"Crocodiles and elephants. Hmm...are we talking about the zoo?"
"Rhinoceros!" he signed, laughing at the sign he finds so silly, as well he should since Rhinos are silly looking animals.
This funny little conversation was great for two reasons. First, a year ago he had NO communication at all. Second, he was showing me signs that I had not taught him, he'd learned them at school, and was able to tell me in his own way that they're talking about zoo animals at school.
It's been so fun to see Axel's language take off since starting school this fall. This was definitely a good decision for him. Yes, there are drawbacks, such as a regression in speech, but his speech was not progressing enough for it to be a method of communication, at least not at this point. Someday though, we hope that it will. Right now he's gaining communication, something he's never had before.
Angela and Dean are taking ASL classes together on Monday nights now. The class is taught by Axel's teacher who is deaf. I think he's enjoying it. There are a couple other parents from Axel's class going as well which is nice to hear. The classes are offered practically free for parents of kids in the program.