About Us

My name is Annalisa Toole. I moved to the Brisbane with my partner 7 years ago. We have four beautiful children, a boy and three girls. When I moved here I was surprised that so many parents have never heard about using Sign Language in their family and with their hearing children.

I am very excited to be Signing Time's first and only Certified Baby Signing Time Instructor in Australia!

I believe in Signing Time. I believe that signing with your family creates an atmosphere of communication - which is (sadly) lacking in a lot of families these days. I believe that signing with young children improves their learning skills, reading skills, communication skills, and provides unmatched benefits for intellectual development. I have seen it in my own children. Signing Time offers all children an opportunity to learn better. How could I not love it? How could I not want to share it with everyone in Australia?

My Personal Signing Story:

I first learned Sign Language as a child. A girl my age, Katie, was deaf and I was always fascinated to watch her mother Lynn interpret for her in class and on Sunday in front of the whole church. Lynn taught us to sign many songs, and I was always on the lookout for signs I could recognised. I always knew it was something special.

When my first baby was about 8 months old, I wanted to look for ways to enhance his childhood and soon stumbled across a Baby Sign Language Class in my area. I signed up for the 10 week course, genuinely intrigued by what it was about and what it had to offer. On the first day the instructor introduced me to the Signing Time video series, and I was hooked. I bought about 6 videos (yes, vhs) in the first year, and our collection has since grown to over 20 dvd's. I absolutely fell in love with Leah and Alex (the stars of Signing Time), and so did my 8 month old Cadyn.

Were the videos the best part? Not really. It was the results we were seeing with our eldest son. Cadyn is a hearing child, he has never had any disabilities, so first thing people ask is "Why would you teach him to sign if he doesn't need it?" The story is remarkable.

Through teaching him Sign Language, just "for fun", we noticed that he was communicating at a much higher level than children his same age. While other kids were throwing tantrums and crying for what they wanted, at 9 months old Cadyn was calmly signing "Milk please" or "More juice."  At 13 months he could sign "More cheese please. No more milk, I'm all finished." By 16 months he was speaking and signing in large sentences. His vocabulary was unbelievable. We were so proud.  Today he is more advanced than students his age, and he is bringing home test scores that are #1 in his class. But now we know that this is possible for any child who learns Sign Language, because children use signs naturally. As parents, what an easy and awesome opportunity to use these great dvd's to help them enhance this skill!

Our experience has been different with each of my three children.
Here is my personal example of what is possible for your children:

Cadyn, now 12, learned to both sign and speak around the same time, around 8-9 months old (just after I found Signing Time), although his speech was modified, "Da-da" for Daddy, "ba-ba" for bottle, "do" for juice, etc. That is exactly why signing was such an important part of his communication. How can you get "Juice" from "do"?! But when he twists his hand with his little finger pointed while saying "do", I knew exactly what he wanted. And like I said before, he is currently, at age 12, more advanced than students his age and bringing home test scores that rank #1 in the class.

Lanaya, now 10, was a little bit different. She used signs first, at age 6 months. She quickly moved on from signing words at about 11 months, to signing sentences in a matter of weeks, and finally speaking out loud in mature sentences by about the age of 15 months. She used signing as a method of learning our spoken language. However, she wanted to speak, vocally, right away and hasn't stopped since.

Gracie, now 7 years old, started signing around 6-7 months. I noticed one day she could string together, spoken words out loud, a 5-word sentence at about 10 months old! I could not believe it! It floored me. She has gotten all the family even more excited about signing, and the whole family use signs a lot more now, even though we can all speak and hear. Signing is kind of our own special family language. When Gracie 3 she was obsessed with Signing Time after I started Sign Australia. At 3yo she could count to at least 50 with hardly any mistakes, and she can communicate effectively with adults. She's incredibly intelligent, and I attribute Signing Time to helping her develop her intellect to her full potential. We couldn't have done it without Signing Time.

Frankie, was just born in May 2014, and we are slowly introducing her to her first sign "Milk". It will be a couple more months before she will be able to sign back, but I hope that she will sign even sooner than her siblings did. Communication is wonderful at such an early age.

Over the years I have recommended Signing Time to many many parents. If you are interested in a fabulous and flexible career in helping families develop Sign Language skills along with all the benefits, please let me know! I would love to help.

Rachel Coleman, co-creator of Signing Time has a much larger dream.
It is she who put's it the best:

"My hope is that everyone will know a little sign, just as most people know a little Spanish - so when your child sees my child at the park, there would be no awkwardness, no communication barrier, just three signs... "Hi ... friend ... play'... that is all it would take to change her world."- Rachel Coleman, co-creator of Signing Time.