baby sign language
MOST HELPFUL POSTS
April - posted on 05/24/2010
hell yeah!! my son knows sooooo much..it is crazy!!! but of course, i am deaf and i sign to him all the time. i can talk too, so i don't use it in conversation. i just show him the sign and tell him the word when he sees something new. i would say he knows about 40 signs!!! it's great because when he is speaking baby talk, i know EXACTLY what the heck he's talking about because he signs it too!!
Tanya - posted on 05/23/2010
Knowing how babies sign, we must ask whether or not we should sign with our babies. The single biggest myth with regard to baby sign language is that teaching it could delay a baby's speach. We think nothing could be further from the truth. According to Dr. Michelle Anthony and Dr. Reyna Lindert, by 18 months of age, an average signing child will have learned 94 signs and 105 spoken words. By contrast, an average non-signing child knows 10 to 50 spoken words. As noted by Dr. Anthony, "Having worked directly with literally thousands of children, and having carefully studied the language development of hundreds of them for our research, I can say with confidence that signing is not in any way associated with delayed speaking".
Really good article
One concern that parents have is the effect of sign language on speech development. Acredolo and Goodwyn have found that Baby Signers actually talk sooner than non-signers. The reason being that they are using expressive language from an earlier age, playing with words, ideas and pairing them up before they have even developed the oral motor skills necessary for speech. In addition, they have found that by age 8, children who signed had stronger reading skills than those who did not. For more information on this NIH funded research, please go to www.BabySigns.com.
I was trying to find a website that wasn't pushing books. This research is fairly new to me. I went to see the ladies last year. They did say it was because they have to take the words in visually as well are hearing them. So you are simulating to different parts of the brain with the same word.
* also in my first post Marilyn Daniels
All three of the women agreed that it did not delay speech because they baby wants to talk just like everyone else. Also once they have better control over the muscles in their mouth they already have a good grip on the words.
They even say that natural gesture help them learn words.
I've been doing some signs with my daughter for the last 2-3 months. She understands a few but hasn't done them herself yet (she's 10 months). We do signs with the kids at work and its really great. It cuts down on the frustration levels of the kids. I've also read research which found that children who signed did better with language because they were working on communication concepts before they actually had the physical ability to speak.
I agree, Sherri. I was shocked when my daughter said her first two word phrase at 14 months. She says "all gone" and does the sign for "all done" (sometimes we say all gone because she usually eats it all!). She's become much more verbal since we started signing. She learned "diaper" about a month ago. Now she signs for diaper as soon as she goes and she's even signed for diaper right *before* she has a BM a few times. It's so much fun (the signing not the BM's :))!
Allison - posted on 09/10/2010
PS Of course all kids have signs for the things they want, just by pointing or body language or crying or whatever. For us, using the "standard" signs was just a fun way to cut back the frustration and make so all his caregivers could understand, since we both worked outside the home full time.
Allison - posted on 09/10/2010
We taught my son a few signs starting at 6 months, and he picked up the important ones quickly (milk, more, eat, all done). But by 10-12 months (I think...memory fails me!) he was talking and mostly stopped using the signs - and hasn't stopped talking since :) We also talked while signing, and talked a LOT in general, plus I think it's just his nature to be a talker.
Until about age 3 he never threw even one tantrum - he has always been very good at explaining/discussing/listening with words instead, for which I am SOOOOO grateful. I think the signing may have helped him on that path a little, because he learned very early to sign to get what he wanted, instead of crying, and then figured out that talking was even more effective. Now he's 3 and does have the occasional tantrum - I just need to make him understand he can't ALWAYS have what he wants...whole other ball game :)
Jenn - posted on 09/10/2010
I have taught my 20 month old how to sign. People always ask me if he has hearing problems. No! It is just another way for him to communicate with me. He can tell me if he wants more, is done, wants a bottle, just wants water, wants a cookie, etc. It is very frustrating trying to figure out what he really wants, so being able to sign has cut that frustration down, considerably. My son like to watch videos that have signing in them. He does what they do, especially if I do it with him.
Kristin - posted on 05/25/2010
I really did. It still helps when they are just hugely upset and can't talk. They still remember their signs and can tell me what they need. It really helped to bridge the preverbal communication period. They know all of these words and just can't get them out, this helps.
Amanda - posted on 05/25/2010
I think it's great if you choose to do it. I don't really see the point in it if you or your child isn't hearing impaired though(not trying to offend anyone). I don't know anyone who is deaf, so I don't see any point in it for us. My son didn't really ever have any trouble getting his point across when he was younger, even before he could talk. Now that he's older, he speaks pretty well, and we have no issues with communicating for the most part. Like I said, I think it's great to learn if you want/need to, I used to know the alphabet at one point when I was younger, we had learned it briefly in school, but I've long since forgotten, seeing how I've never actually needed to use it before. Same goes for my knowledge of Spanish haha.
Minnie - posted on 05/25/2010
That's an interesting assumption, Jane. Where did you come to the conclusion that learning signs teaches children that 'they don't have to talk'?
Speech is inherent to our species. It will naturally be picked up simply by listening to and watching others around the baby. It's not a duty to society. Maybe you didn't intend it, but the tone of your response seemed to imply that babies are lazy.
Learning signs is simply another skill that a baby can pick up easily because he's at a point in his life where he is able to learn quickly.
I have to admit I was skeptical. I had seen it used from time to time while working in child care. The twins I looked after used some basic signs (please, thank you, more, help).
I sorta started with my son, but wasn't really working at it and then I started looking after an 22 month old non verbal autistic child who was responding to sign language.
I started learning more, looked into videos and such and went with Baby signing time and WOW did it ever make a difference for the autistic child as well as my own son.
So yes it does make a difference with regards to less tantrums at young ages because they can sign to you what they are not capable of speaking. You figure at the age of a year childrens' dexterity hand wise is far more advanced then the coordination, breathing and muscle control one needs for forming words.
It also builds their vocabulary of words they comprehend faster and because of that helps them be able to correctly use words when they do start speaking.
So if you are willing to put the work in to learn and teach (making it fun for both you and child). Yes it does make a difference.
There are many sites out there who have programs and videos etc.
The one I am familiar with is Signingtime.com. They have videos and books for both babies right up to school aged.
So if you are interested search the Internet and do some research and go with what speaks to you.
Teaching baby sign language is very helpful in teaching communication and language skills. Like Lisa said you say the word while you sign. As they become better able to communicate they drop the sign and just say the word. I worked in a preschool that was ran by my University. It was amazing how well the older infants could communicate with you even if they could only actually say a few words. We always encouraged them to say the word with the sign (especially if they were moving up to the toddler room). I think baby signing is awesome!
Krista, we're still working on specifics, but for us "all done" was the easiest to teach. When I could tell by her cues that she was done eating I would say "all done" and do the sign. Then I cleaned her up and took her out of her high chair. It only took a few times of that then she started repeating the sign. Recently she's started signing "all done" on her own without me asking her if she was done. I'm teaching "more" by signing more and then giving her a few bites and signing "more" again then giving a few more bites ( I do this with yogurt because she feeds herself everything else). Right now she claps for more because she doesn't have the fine motor skills to touch her fingers like that, but we're getting there.
I think the benefit to teaching sign language is that they can tell you what they want before they can speak the actual word. I do agree with you, Sarah, I don't think you're going to hinder their speech if you don't do it.
Tanya - posted on 05/24/2010
Oh the little boy I used to watch "more" was one of his first signs. YOu just use it when you say it He picked it up quickly because when he was having a snack I would hold it and he would come up and sign more. It was so cute
Krista - posted on 05/24/2010
The thing that I'm having a hard time grasping is how to teach signs for intangible concepts, like "more" or "all done". It's easy to teach "Mama" "Daddy" or "cup", because I can just show him the object in question. But how do I show him "more" without getting it confused with "food"?
Sarah - posted on 05/24/2010
I think baby signing is a good thing, i don't think it's really going to cause any speech delays or anything.
By the same token, i think NOT using baby signing is good too.
Using it or not using it isn't going to do any harm.
I've never used it, and both my girls are and always have been little chatterboxes, they've both been able to communicate what they've wanted. Who knows if it would have made a difference if i'd used signs as well, i never really thought about it. :)
Minnie - posted on 05/24/2010
Meghan- I communicated with words and signs at the same time. I simply talked (and still do) to my daughter all the time- the signs were a bonus. At 19 months I can't count how many words she knows. Lost count at around 350- she speaks in full sentences.
I feel though for the short time that we actively used those signs while she was picking up speech helped her communicate much more effectively. She didn't have to whine and tug at my shirt to nurse- she simply made the sign for milk. No frustration on her part trying to make herself understood.
April - posted on 05/24/2010
a few of the words my son knows
and many more! he is also starting TALK in phrases He says Dada Byebye Choo choo when my husband goes to work...he works on trains. When we watch hockey... he says HOCKEY SCORE and throws his arms up in the air. He also says WHERE DADA and shrugs his shoulders (the hubby works 12 hours shifts each way on the train, so he's gone for a long time)
Meghan - posted on 05/24/2010
I know a few mom's who do this...is seems really cool and they swear by it, but I chose not to do this with my boy. I chose to put the time in actually communicating word for word with him. (I don't want to offend anyone by saying that...I know sign language is a form of communication but I like to talk lol) I know they say that it doesn't delay speech, but I have seen kids the same age as J just signing their needs or whining instead of vocalizing their needs, where as he tells me what he wants. Maybe it just has to do with me be lazy??
Stephany - posted on 05/23/2010
I've been told by my sons' speech therapist that signing and speech utilize the same part of the brain, so they are activating the same synapses. Sign actually helps to develop the part of the brain that controls speech/language skills. Therefore, sign improves speech, not delays development. The important thing is not to replace but to enhance speech with sign. If you are showing your kid a pretzel and you want them to say 'pretzel' but they have that dumbfounded look on their face, you can show the sign and say the word. They may feel most comfortable signing it for a while, but they know that the sign means the word pretzel. Eventually they, too, will speak as they sign. The idea is to teach language, not necessarily speech. Speech is a form of language (just as sign is), but all language comes from the same area of the brain.
I speak while I sign to the kids, though. I would say "all done?" while signing it. Even if my kids never actually signed (which they kind of do now), I at least figured that it made them pay attention to me a little better. I never really questioned it. I think it did help them develop a little better than they would have without it. (My oldest is autistic and the youngest is developmentally delayed).
I just wanted to clarify that I don't think the speech delay is necessarily a bad thing if the kid knows how to communicate. There is a difference in a child pointing and grunting until age 4 to get what he wants, and a kid using coherent signs. Could you explain what you learned a little more Tanya? From what I understand, there can be a speech delay because the kid is using signs so there's not really a point in talking. But when they talk, they blow the other kids away. So I'm guessing that the info I read was incorrect...lol.
Tanya - posted on 05/23/2010
Well I actually saw a Marilynlec (author and one of the first to support this), Dorothy Bambch (SC school for deaf and blind), and Elleen Landino (tinyfingers.com) speak. I was not a big fan of sign language until that day. Like Sara i thought that it delayed speech, but for what they said it actually help them talk sooner. They said it was because they used two parts of the brain to process the same word. I am trying it with Allen, but I am waiting until 6 months to really get into it.
They did show a video about a kindergarten class that used it. The teacher would act like she was turning off the voice box and the kids settles right down. I am sure it didn't work like that all the time, but it was neat to see.
Minnie - posted on 05/23/2010
Absolutely. Taught my second the sign for milk, all done, and more at about nine months. But we didn't get any further than that because within that week she began to pick up speech incredibly quickly.
It's really funny though, even though we don't use the signs she still remembers them at 19 months and randomly will sign and say the phrase with the sign, as if to just show off. Tonight when I was nursing her down to sleep she didn't want to drift off and tried to keep herself busy by signing 'milk' 'all done' and 'more' over and over again while she was nursing.
Suzette - posted on 05/23/2010
I know jack squat about sign language but I'd love to teach my little one when the time is appropriate. I figure that it can't hurt her to tyr it. Of course since I don't know anything about it, I'll have to get a CD or book. :) Though, I'm definitely going to look into what Sara said about the talking later thing. I don't want to stunt her developmentally if there's a chance of doing so. If I have to wait until after she starts talking, then so be it. ;)
Sara, I do the same thing with things I read, then I have to spend forever looking for the source if I need it. lol.
Krista - posted on 05/23/2010
No idea -- I'm trying to teach my baby a few basic signs (mommy, daddy, cup, food), but I have no idea if it will be successful or not. I figure it can't hurt, and me waving my hands around seems to amuse him, if nothing else.
I was interested in it, but never pursued it.
I think it's great that babies can learn to communicate. It just shows that kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. I wonder if it reduces tantrums because the child is able to ask for what they need or want.
I've heard that kids who learn signs will speak later, but that when they do speak they have better language skills than kids who didn't use signs.
I'm saying all this, but I'm really no expert. It's all from what I've heard and read. I remember almost everything I read, but I don't ever remember the source!
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