I was born and raised in Osaka, Japan. I first came to Portland, Oregon in 2000 as a research scientist, and in 2010, I graduated from Oregon Health Science University with a Ph.D. in engineering. The main focus of my research has been to understand how the chain of communication works in human beings - hearing, understanding, thinking, responding and speaking - and how to improve the efficiency when the chain of communication breaks down. During this work, and with an interest in clear communications, I found myself working with many American Sign Language (ASL) users.

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Later I moved to San Diego, California, where I had my son, Haruki. After being introduced to “Signing Time” classes, baby signing with Haruki became natural to me. As parents, my husband and I exclusively use Japanese in the family home, and we wanted to give Haruki a tool to communicate with non-Japanese speakers. Haruki always signed "thank-you", "please", and "sorry" in social settings. He was able to show his preference by signing “water” or “milk” at eight months. I experienced that baby signing works to improve social skills, communicate needs, and build a bridge between languages in a multi-lingual household.

AKIKO AND HARUKI (six months old)

After five years of sunshine and playing at the beach, it was time for me to come back to the green and the waterfalls in the Northwest, and in spring of 2015, we returned to the Seattle/Bellevue area.

As I look back at my career as a scientist, a mother, a community leader, and an ASL user, I see how they blend and complement each other. My education, knowledge and passion for clear communications with a desire to help others learn and grow, has prepared me well to offer a baby signing service for the Seattle and Bellevue community. As a certified baby signing instructor, earned through “Signing Time Academy”, I am excited to meet parents, caregivers, and of course the babies! We will make friends, discover and learn, and experience great joy at signing with those we love. Let’s begin! Find out more about classes

Joyful Signing Academy © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

Akiko amano, Ph.d. 

Licensed Baby Signing Time Instructor


Reading is a beloved activity in the early development years for parents and children, and often continues to be a passion through adulthood. Access to books also enhances communication skills and so, in addition to signing, I came up with the idea of starting a Japanese story time at a local library in San Diego. I led the story time, reading children's books, singing songs, and making crafts. Adults and children loved attending story time; it became very popular and continues to be successful today!

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