Baby sign language?

Mel - posted on 12/27/2011 ( 206 moms have responded )

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So, I have been asked if I would like to teach my son sign language for a developmental exercise. And i am having the hardest time making a decision, has anyone else on circle of moms taught there child sign language?

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Johanna - posted on 12/27/2011

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From what I understand, the research has shown that teaching sign language early on actually promotes language development, not delays it, because it shows them the value of communication. It also really helps to reduce frustration while they are struggling to learn the words. We used it with my daughter and she picked it up really quickly. She used primarily signs from about 9m-18m (w some words too). She just turned two and is now talking in full sentences and almost never signs anymore. She just dropped them once the words replaced them. I work as a developmental therapist for Early Intervention and while I have seen a few kids who became pretty dependent on the sings; the vast majority only use them to bridge the gap until they are able to use words. I think the key is to make sure you always model both the word and the sign so your son is exposed to both. Then he will use whichever he is ready for. Good luck!!

Erica - posted on 01/02/2012

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Johanna stated it very well. As a mom and a speech therapist I am an advocate for signing to bridge the gap. Kids are able to use their gross motor skills much sooner than their fine, and speaking is the finest of fine motor skills. By giving kids the tools to sign you are teaching them about communication and their role in it. As for them not talking as a result, that idea has been debunked - you can think of it like crawling, children use the skill until they learn to walk and rarely go back to crawling because they figure out how much more efficient walking is. Signing and talking are just the same.
hope this helps! Also - it is SO cute to watch the little munchkins sign!

Heather - posted on 01/02/2012

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I did sign language with all 3 of my kids and it was wonderful. They were delighted that they could communicate with me. After they learned to speak we never really used it (until a younger sibling came along...). I highly recommend it!

Kelly - posted on 01/03/2012

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I am deaf myself and I use both verbal and signing and I personally feel this is a GREAT tool to teach babies to sign. I have taught all three of my grandchildren and I feel it helps with the communication breakdown in the long run. I do not regret teaching them at all.

Donna - posted on 01/02/2012

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Babies can learn a lot of languages much easier before they are the age of six and it doesn't confuse them like a lot of people think it would. After the age of six it is a little bit harder for them to learn. I say go for it. It will definitely be great developmental skills not only for his language learning but also for the dexteriy of his hands.

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Di - posted on 01/03/2012

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i have taught my grandkids signs for different emotions from when they are very young. When my granddaughter covered her face the other day when her mommy was gone, I thought she was playing a game. Then, I remembered, covering your face means "scared", and I was able to reassure her Mommy was coming back. IT is wonderful for babies and toddlers to have a language before they can verbalize.

Lisa - posted on 01/03/2012

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I used sign with my first 2 and am currently using it with my one yr old. He can sign for more, fininshed, eat, and jump lol. My daughter was able to sign for the potty before she could say it (at 11 mos!) My son was speech delayed and used the most sign, but once he learned the words he dropped the sign and used the words- I think that is what parents are most afraid of - child not talking and only using sign. It's not true- it helps with frustrations of baby and mom! I would definitly recommend to everyone!!!

Alicia - posted on 01/03/2012

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We taught my DS to sign before he was a year old, and it was amazing! Simple stuff like "more" "please" "all done" "thank you" "drink" "eat" made our lives so much easier when he could tell us what he wanted. He is now 3wks shy of 24mos and still reverts back to the signs, even though he can speak well.

Ann - posted on 01/03/2012

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I didn't with my first son, and wished that I did. I am using sign language with my second and have LOVED it. We haven't learned the sign for everything, but definately did the basics - eat, drink, more, all done, please, thank you. We have also introduced a few harder concepts - help, potty, etc

Susan - posted on 01/02/2012

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Taugh my son a few signs when he was preverbal. They helped SO MUCH because he could tell me what he wanted. I knew if he was hungry or thirsty and did not have to guess. He started speaking a bit early and I have not been able to get him to be quiet since then. Do not be afraid to try it. If I had it to do over I would have taught him more signs.

Jesse - posted on 01/02/2012

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I have a daycare and teach all my kids who are under 2 basic signing. Like, all done, more, food, drink, water, milk, cracker, diaper, please, thank you, ect... I say the sign when I'm doing it and they try to do the same. It really helps out a lot since their pointing and saying 'eh eh" is so frustrating for them (and me too sometimes). I haven't read through all of the posts but try the first in the Baby Signing Time series, it gives most of the basics.

Bridget - posted on 01/02/2012

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Yes. All three of my kids, and my forth child, my step daughter know it. Only the oldest 11 yrs and my 2 yr old use it. The middle two know it and understand it, but don't necessarily use it. Its especially effective for those that have a language barrier, such as speech delay. Or if your child struggles to explain themselves. I honestly think that more people should be taught sign language instead of spanish.

Shelly - posted on 01/02/2012

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When they were babies I taught my kids simple signs that let them communicate their basic needs and start learning manners: eat, drink, milk, sleep, more, all done, please, thank you. This gave them the ability to tell me what they needed without crying, or tell me they were done eating without throwing the bowl on the floor. Once they started talking it got less relevant. For me the issue was to let them communicate their needs, for which it worked very well.

Paula - posted on 01/02/2012

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My daughter is teaching her 18 month old signing. She has been doing it for some time. He talks as well as signing. Do it.

[deleted account]

Shannon, I don't see how that is possible. Sign language is not the sole means of communication, it is just an addtional method of communication. I am not a doctor, but speaking from personal experience, my daughter is 21 months old. She has met every milestone on time. She is very verbal and uses sign language with her words. It helps me understand what she is saying. We use sign language in addition to verbal communication, not in place of it.

Jenny - posted on 01/02/2012

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I haven't read all the responses yet, so forgive me if I'm repeating but-- Is there really a downside at all? At the very least you will be having some quality time with your little one and learning a new skill yourself and as a "pro" for the list you could be assisting his language and social interaction. We signed with our older daughter and it was wonderful to know what she needed before she could verbalize. We will definitely be signing with our newborn as well! I recommend Baby Signing Time for starters :)

Yolanda - posted on 01/02/2012

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Baby signing is a very helpful tool & makes figuring out what your little one wants a whole lot easier.

Amy - posted on 01/02/2012

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I should also say her child care center is trained in baby signs and we went to training. We also taught the other family members who care for her so we were all on the same page.

Windi - posted on 01/02/2012

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Yes!! I started out with the videos when my daughter was 9 mths old. She enjoyed watching me mostly and then we moved to flash cards and books. I was learning as I went and enjoyed every minute. About 15 mths old my daughter signed her wants and needs clearly and still uses them when she gets overwhelmed. She is 2 1/2 now and we are continueing to learn more signs all the time. Its totally worth all the effort!

Erika - posted on 01/02/2012

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I didn't do sign language personally, but I have a lot of friends who have done it. It is very helpful when your child is not able to express what they want by speaking, but my daughter has been talking in sentences since 18-20 months so it didn't seem necessary unless it was just for fun. On the other hand, I've had a few friends that said their children stopped using their words and signed instead, causing more of a delay. I think it all depends on the child and if it can be helpful.

Angie - posted on 01/02/2012

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Been signing for a few years. The kids love it. It's been a really great experience. I would recommend it in a heart beat!

Jennifer - posted on 01/02/2012

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My mother suggested it when my daughter was about 1 year old, I thought great one more thing to try and juggle, no thank you. My daughter has no developmental disabilities so I saw no need. THEN I happened upon a Baby Signing Time DVD at the library. It is a cute series, my daughter would ask for it ALL THE TIME, and she picked up the signs quick. It never hindered her language skills, as she is now tri-lingual, she now speaks English Spanish and ASL. We had to end up buying the dvd's (AMAZON always has them from individuals for about 10-15 bucks) because the rented ones from the library were always checked out and my daughter would be begging to watch them. I did buy the #1 Baby Signing Time from their website because they have a great deal, but the case it came in was terrible, seriously I know it seems trife but it really never held the dvd's (you get the songs on a CD as well) Anyway if you want to try it out I suggest checking out your local library and if your baby enjoys it then it will just be another tool to equip them with. You would be amazed how common ASL is. Hope this helped and good luck what ever you decide.

Romi - posted on 01/02/2012

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As a sign language interpreter, I taught both my boys ASL and it was the best thing for them. My first son could sign "More milk please" by the time he was 8 months old. He knew over 100 signs. My second son spoke earlier than my first, but we still continued to sign. As for signing stunting their ability to speak, research has, in fact, proven the opposite. My boys are now 9 and 12 and they still know many signs. It's a great benefit, even at this age. As for the person who said, "Humans are meant to speak" - I'd like for you to tell that to the Deaf people that I work with and see how they react!

Paulette - posted on 01/02/2012

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Shannon,You state that you taught sign language, but then state that there is no comparison to a foreign language. If, in fact, you did teach it, I'd like to know what your teaching credentials are, and where did you acquire your degree, since you are obviously unaware of the fact that American Sign Language is indeed a foreign language. Even though this is a conversation forum, you need to be educated about what you are going to pontificate about. My degree is for Sign Language Interpreter, so I've done my research and have been an educational interpreter for 14 years. Research "Stokey".

Jenneil - posted on 01/02/2012

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I started using it when my daughter was 6 months old. It really helps with the frustration that little ones go through by not being able to communicate verbally. It does not hinder there peach at all. As they grow up and are able to make sounds and form words they will transition from sign to words with ease. It is a great benefit for them and you. You will no longer be playing the guessing game when they want and need something because they will be able to tell you.

Erin - posted on 01/02/2012

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We started signing simple things from watching the Baby Einstein signing video and it was great. I would definitely recommend it because it helps your child communicate. There comes a point when they are too young to talk, but know exactly what they want and with signing they can actually tell you.

Jessica - posted on 01/02/2012

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I have since he was 2 months old he is 9 months now and still not signing back or at all but I never have done it regular I just did a few different signs a day which could be the problem idk :s

Lori - posted on 01/02/2012

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I started teaching my 18 month old when she was 6 months old. It took a while to see results, but it eliminates a lot of the screaming and misunderstandings. She likes getting her point across and we like that she doesn't scream as much. We use Baby Signing Time.

Lydia - posted on 01/02/2012

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My daughter (now 7) learned sign language starting around 8 or 9 months. She was very successful with it, and we enjoyed knowing what she wanted/needed without her having to point and grunt. :)

Kristin - posted on 01/02/2012

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I was a Sign Language interpreter when my son was young. We had many desf friends and he learned at a young age. Even though he doesn't use it often anymore, he remembers enough to communicate with a deaf person when he meets one. He will be 21 soon.

[deleted account]

What Kristen said is very true. Thank You and Eff you are very similar. I found this out because her teacher saw me saying Thank You and doing the sign for Eff you. lol.

Kristin - posted on 01/02/2012

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There is a defnite learning advantage in teaching your baby an established singing language. " Baby signs" are simplified versions of actual signs used by adults makin it easier for the child to communicate sooner.

Kristin - posted on 01/02/2012

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I would definitely recommend a video or live teacher instead of just a book. Some areas have classes where you can learn wirh other parents and their children. You cannot see the movement in a 2-dimensional book and it is easy to learn the signs incorectly if this is your only resource.

[deleted account]

We do signs with my daughter. She really picked it up around a year. We did it by doing the sign as we said the word and handing her the food or toy. Her daycare helps by reinforcing.

Kristin - posted on 01/02/2012

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I did a paper in college on the positive impact of teaching Sign Language to your baby. It actually allows communication earlier!

Many times parents and young children are frustrated because the parent cannot figure out what the child wants. Because the motor skills necessary for signing develop before those necessary for speech, the child can make their wants an needs known earlier a voiding this frustration.

If you also speak to your child, speech will still develop at the normal time. If you find later that your child does have a hearing problem, a basis for language will already have been developed.

Sharman - posted on 01/02/2012

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I taught both of my older kids sign (now 4 and soon to be 7) and it was extremely helpful. I started teaching my youngest soon a little while ago and just for him to be able to tell me he wants more of something or he is all done or he wants milk (he uses this for any drink right now, but at least I know what he wants.) It is fun to be able to communicate with your kids at such a young age.



I would recommend Baby Signing Time! or just the regular Signing Time! dvds (start with vol 1). You can most likely check them out at your local library. They are awesome though.



Another thing I found incredible was that our daughter would use sign to clarify what she was saying. Doll, Door and Go all sounded the same when she was first learning to speak. She would repeat a phrase about 3 times out loud before she realized we weren't getting it and then sign it so we could see she was talking about a doll, not a door, etc.



Sign is also great to communicate across a room (I am not a great lip reader) or in a place where you need to be quiet such as church or a movie. My husband and I still sign when we need to have quiet communication. LOL. Have fun with it!

Dawn - posted on 01/02/2012

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Teaching a baby sign language does not stunt their language development at all. My kids talked at a normal age time frame and then had sign language as a supplemental way for me to communicate with them if needed. :)

[deleted account]

I have found it useful when in a loud and/or crowded room and my young children are about to engage in something I don't want them to. So rather than make a scene by walking over, calling them over to me or adding to the noise by yelling.... I can sign "stop" and put a quiet end to whatever it is they are doing. Likewise, from a distance, I can tell them to "sit", "stand", "dance" (if that is what they should be doing) or even send reminders to say "please", "thank you" or "sorry". It's a wonderful tool! Again, my girls LOVE to learn new signs and use them. My youngest picked up signs the fastest. My oldest was talking the earliest (the drs tell me it was because she was the first born and probably because I was single at the time - we did nothing but talk to each other). We live 10 miles from the state school for the deaf. We have a lot of hearing imparied people - so I don't doubt the skills will be useful.

Dawn - posted on 01/02/2012

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I am an Interpreter for the Deaf and taught both of my kids sign when they were babies and it made a huge difference before they were verbal enough to form words to tell what they wanted. I would definately go for it as it can't hurt! :) Saves the little ones frustration when they can't get what they want across just by pointing. I say go for it. :)

Nicole - posted on 01/02/2012

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As i sell this product i highly recommend it. It has helped a lot of my friends with their children from the age of 6 months, my son was too old when I got my hands on it but still at age 3 he loved to learn it.

Ebony - posted on 01/02/2012

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This is an easy one. It never hurts to give your child a second language. I've been teaching my kids sign language for 3years now. It helps so much especially when they begin to talk and you still can't understand them clearly. Sign language offers them another avenue to communicate that is less frustrating cir them as well as you. Yu can simply check out a book from the library or seek sites online for baby sign or regular ASL. The only difference is the complexity if the sign movement. You'll love the ease and so many will impressed with your success. Good luck

Joanne - posted on 01/02/2012

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Hi, my sister came and stayed with me for 5 days on holiday, and taught my 2 year old and 5 year old basic sign, they picked it up very easy, and i think its helpful as my daughter has a friend at kindy who relies on sign, and my 2 year old can clearly tell me things in sign, if she is hungry for example, i say go for it!

Emma - posted on 01/02/2012

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Signlanguage is never hurting the ability to speek. The oposit is tru: When you learn to sign your talking skills improves! Both my kids have been using signlanguage to comunicate from very early on. My son was doing to word sentenses at 9months and full sentenses at 18 months and my daughter is now 16 months and has a vocabulary that is huge. She usually speaks and signs at the same time, wich makes understanding her so much easyer. There are no downside to signing with your kids. Ever! Just go for it!

Cat - posted on 01/02/2012

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Hi we taught our son sign language and he's now four, and everyone says he's so clever, friends, doctors and teachers, he no longer signs but we found it made life easier for him to communicate and he was defiantly less frustrated than most kids at his age, also we found it good as he became a little older to communicate across a room rather than shouting, not a good reason for taking it up but definatly a plus point of sign, it didn't stunt his learning ability if anything our experience was the complete opposite, good luck with whatever you chose to do x

Chalon - posted on 01/02/2012

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I take care of a 2 year old that is deaf. Me and my children have learned sign language and I can't begin to tell you how rewarding it has been for ALL of us. I say, DO IT!!!

Erica - posted on 01/02/2012

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It is a great idea to have your child learn sign language. My son is 2 and was taught sign language in his infant room at daycare. He has had to have speech therapy because he was not up to par with other toddlers his age. He has learned more sign languge with therapy and uses the signs even when he says the words. It makes him feel like he has done something good when he can say more please with words and his hands. It has definately helped my son.

Jenni - posted on 01/01/2012

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I don't object to teaching your child sign language that is if it is Australian sign language or world sign language. I do object to this fad of baby sign language that holds no practical learning for a child in the future. My child developed her own sign language (AS ALL CHILDREN DO)that she uses when I haven't understood her. It is a personal choice and only you can make that and see if it fits into your current busy life. You child understands you regardless if you use "baby" sign, as with any child it's all about learning and what you teach them.

Kirsten - posted on 01/01/2012

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Yes, our daughter is 1 and we have taught her a few words since she has been born. It helps her communicate and gives her confidence in her ability to do so!

Angela - posted on 01/01/2012

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Yes with both my boys and they loved it! It helped them both communicate long before they had words, my youngest was signing 'more' and 'food' and 'milk' at 8 months. I would encourage you to do it just by showing you baby, not with videos, as there are many studies now that show it is much more effective to do things like this one-on-one as your child needs the emotional connection too. The TV doesn't give that, which is why babies IQ goes down when watching TV. Here is one of the articles about the TV thing. Though the videos are a good way for you as a Mom to learn! http://www.time.com/time/health/article/...,8599,1650352,00.html
Other than that I would definitely go for it! This is the time for babies to learn, they absorb everything so easily! Enjoy it! It is so rewarding!

Amy - posted on 01/01/2012

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We used baby signs with our now 2 1/2 year old and it was fantastic! She could communicate before her verbal bilities really developed. She also learned manners, signing please, thank you , etc. Now she is so vocal she rarely signs but it was a blessing. We used probably 10 signs regularly but she knew many more.

Marci - posted on 01/01/2012

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I taught my daughter, now 2 1/2. We started around 8 or 9 months. Using the "Signing Time" videos. Other than that, she was zero tv until she was 2. She woud watch and we would practice together and she was signing well by 15 or 16 months and actually began talking early. I recommend it. We still sign some, but just for fun and to keep her up on it. Research suggest they usually speak more quickly when sign is used and for us a couple of friends we found it was true. Plus, it's great bonding time, like play for the children.

Helen - posted on 01/01/2012

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No, I didnt - I was too lazy from the depression that hit me when my husband passed away soon after the birth. However, I wish I had!

[deleted account]

I used baby signs with my 4th child. He is now 5 years old. It was very good! He could sign mum, dad, wet diaper change, drink, eat, mommy's milk. It didn't stop him from talking, but he could sign things before he could talk! It was great! Each time he had a diaper change, I would use the diaper sign. Each time he drank, I used the drinking sign, each time he wanted momma's milk, I signed milk. etc etc. It was great! It didn't take long for him to learn. Get the BABY HANDS sign book. It it GREAT!

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