Elise Tate and her husband Golden Tate made a rare move of teaching their daughter sign language when she was 9-month-old, without knowing how impactful it would be upon the wide receiver’s trade from the Detroit Lions to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018.
Narrating how it all started Elise said, “We literally got a call one day, and it was like, ‘You’re traded to Philly,’ and I remember I was standing at the top of the stairs, holding Londyn, and Golden called me… It was just the craziest, we were like, ‘Wait, what?’”
Then, Elise was pregnant with their second child and was tasked to pack up the family home, she was fortunate to have bridged the communication gap with her young daughter through sign language, following the suggestion from her mother.
“During that hectic time is when Londyn started really signing back to us,” Elise said of her daughter, who is now 2-year-old.
Elise continued, “She would sign me something like ‘diaper,’ and I would be like, ‘What?’ and try to find the box with the diapers, and this and that. And I was like, ‘Wow, instead of her screaming at me, she was literally able to tell me that.’”
When Elise shared Londyn’s progress on social media, she received questions from followers, who also wanted to teach their children sign language. But she wasn’t able to recommend any resource, Elise decided to create one.
Speaking about her book Elise said, “That’s how the book started. Sign Me Up for a Happy Home,” which includes 15 basic starter signs.
“I just started with a note sheet on my phone, and I started jotting down all this stuff that I wish was condensed into one easy starter resource and then over the months, it just kept flourishing,” she continued. “Londyn was truly able to communicate with me before she could talk.”
To help bring her vision to life, Elise enlisted Colleen Farrell as an expert consultant. Farrell is deaf and also holds a Master’s Degree in Deaf Studies: Sign Language Teaching.
Londyn, who is now a big sister to 1-year-old brother Golden Jr., has helped her younger sibling sign.
“She is extremely verbal, well-surpassed all of her milestones. The sign has been the biggest game-changer in our family and I just wanted other moms to have the same little wins throughout the day,” Elise said.
With another book on the way, Elise added that inclusivity will remain a key factor in the “Sign Me Up” series.
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“My kids being biracial, it was so important for me to have kids of every ability and race in this book, so when you’re looking through the pages… it’s these little illustrations of kids of every race. There’s a little boy with Down syndrome, there’s another child in a wheelchair.
“It was something that was kind of instilled in me as I was growing up, cause my mom really taught us about diversity and inclusivity with intention as we were growing up, and so it just was second nature for inclusivity and diversity to be a huge part of the book,” Elise said.