There’s Nothing Wrong With Your Child: A Message From Leah & Lucy

I’m so excited to share my article There’s Nothing Wrong With Your Child. Really. It went live today on in their Word of Mom section.

I hope this gives some peace and perspective to those of you who struggle with what to expect when you get the unexpected… like we did.

Rachel Coleman is the Emmy-nominated host and one of the creators of the children’s television show and DVD series, Signing Time! and its sister-series Baby Signing Time! Inspired by her daughter Leah’s deafness, Signing Time teaches families to communicate through American Sign Language. Rachel’s newest project, “Rachel & The Treeschoolers,” takes on the ambitious task of teaching a full preschool curriculum in 12 musical episodes and activities. (You can become a part of making Treeschoolers a reality by participating in our Kickstarter campaign)

Rachel and her husband, Aaron, reside in Salt Lake City, Utah, with their daughters Leah and Lucy, and Lucy’s Canine Companion service dog, Wilona. Rachel shares her family’s unexpected adventures (aka “life”) on her blog
Rachel is a board member for The American Society for Deaf Children. She is the President of the Signing Time Foundation whose mission is to put communication in the hands of all children of all abilities.

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About Rachel Coleman

The opinions and late night musings published on this blog are Rachel de Azevedo Coleman's alone, and are not ever intended to represent the opinions and sentiments of any organization or product that Rachel is, was, or will be associated with. Rachel Coleman is the creator and Emmy-nominated host of Signing Time!, the children's American Sign Language vocabulary building series. She is also the creator and host of Baby Signing Time, Rachel & the TreeSchoolers, and Rachel & Me. Rachel now serves as the Executive Director of the American Society for Deaf Children, a 501c3 nonprofit established in 1967 by parents of deaf children. ASDC is the American Sign Language organization for families who are raising deaf children. Motivated by her child, Leah's deafness, Rachel has spent the last 18 years creating ASL products to help bridge the communication barrier between hearing and signing communities. In 2006 Rachel founded the Signing Time Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to putting communication in the hands of all children of all abilities. In 2014, the Signing Time Foundation launched a 50-Lesson online ASL curriculum called "Sign It: ASL Made Easy" that is available free-of-charge to families with deaf or hard of hearing children ages 36 months and under. Apply at For those who do not qualify to receive Sign It ASL for free, they can find it for purchase at very reasonable rates on Rachel and her husband, Aaron, live in Salt Lake City Utah. They are parents to Leah who was born profoundly deaf, and is now a senior in college at NTID/RIT in Rochester, NY. They are also parents to Lucy who has spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and recently graduated high school. In 2010 the Colemans were joyfully reunited with Rachel's daughter Laura. Rachel is proud to be Laura's birth mom. Laura was placed for adoption as an infant in 1992 when Rachel was 17 years-old.

8 thoughts on “There’s Nothing Wrong With Your Child: A Message From Leah & Lucy

  1. This was beautiful. We found Signing Time after our son (part of our twin set who were premature at 27w gestation) was speech delayed, a diagnosis that eventually turned into PDD-NOS/Autism. ASL saved us, and Signing Time is still a part of our daily life. My son speaks, but he speaks/signs regularly and understands better when he is spoken/signed to. Initially, the slap of a special need stung, until, like you, my husband and I realized that, for him, his life was perfect- and he was perfect. He was who he was and it was on us to adapt and reach him that way. While some days are struggles, we feel so blessed to be able to embrace his unique perfection and see him for the wonderful, sweet little boy he is.

    • Michele,
      When we were told Lucy was delayed, I thought “no big deal” we can wait for her to catch up. I was thinking “delayed” like a bus is delayed, it eventually shows up:) LOL I am going to have to blog about THAT.

  2. Thank you. My twins were born at 29w and spent 65 days in NICU. We started the Signing Time series when they were about 20months and now as almost 5 year olds they still use sign. I read some of your other posts and I thought the same thing when you found out Leah was deaf but then I changed my thought process and my aunt and uncle by making what happens with them part of what is “normal”. I am grateful that we were able to communicate with them even when they could not speak. Both twins are SDD but we love them no less and they know that we treat their life as this is normal. They have started to teach their 17 month old sister ASL as well.

    • Misty, that is awesome that they were able to communicate through signs before they could speak! I agree, I don’t think people have a clue how normal my life is. Like I’ve said before, sure there is stuff we have to manage, but everyone does.
      My best to you and yours~

  3. My daughter introduced me to your series when she started teaching her children. My husband was amazed when he saw that these little ones who couldn’t even speak yet, signed. I started using it at my new nanny job and it made life so much easier. I wish I’d had the series 15 years ago when I had a little guy who had hearing loss. (He graduates high school this year!)
    My little guys were only 6 months when we started but by age two they could sign over 250 words. They are four now and still sign “sorry” when it is needed, but it very seldom is.
    Signing makes children so much more comfortable. They can tell you what they want before they can verbalize it. It is wonderful to see, in their little faces, that they know you understand them.
    Thank you so very much for sharing with us.

  4. When we went in for our 16wk sono for our 3rd child we thought we knew the drill from head to toe. We were already blessed with 2 boys so the only news we were wondering is if it would be a girl. Sure enough it was a girl and the sono tech said it so calmly and in such a normal tone. Next thing I knew the Dr was walking in to tell me that our baby girl had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) and a very narrow airway. They suggested aborting and for us that wasn’t an option. Brooklynn is now 2 1/2 she has had 13 surgeries and has a trach. with the trach she hasn’t even begun making words, we decided early on to begin teaching her basic signs so she wouldn’t be so far behind. We began using baby signing time around 9mths and we all learned together. We have graduated to signing time and are so amazed at how well she has picked everything up. I am so thankful for a way to communicate with my daughter but also so relieved for her to have a way to communicate her needs to family, nurses and Dr.’s. Sign language is the gift that keeps on giving in our house. Thank You!!

  5. Hello Rachel!

    I love this article so much! We love Signing Time and my son loves Leah and Alex! He sings the opening song so loud and will often ask to “play with Alex, Leah, and Hopkins” 🙂

    My son was born with spina bifida, hydrocephalus (shunted at a week old), and Chiari malformation along with some SPD. I knew about Leah but it wasn’t until recently we learned about Lucy too! I am so inspired by you! My son is now almost 4 and still uses his signs he knows even though he can speak very well now. He has a friend in his class who is hard of hearing and uses many signs. I hope he continues to learn and want to learn so he can communicate with his friend. My son is seen by Dr. Tulipan at Vanderbilt. Although we opted out of the fetal surgery, we did know about his condition(s) via ultrasounds. It definitely did change our world and priorities, but I would NOT change it for anything. He is doing amazing and recently last month began using a walker!

    Thank you for all you do!! 🙂

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