anyone learning sign language for pre-verbal communication?

Melissa - posted on 08/03/2010 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I've been reading books to my 14 month old daughter since she was 2 months old. (I didn't know what else to do with her and I was getting bored.) We have one book of babies doing simple word sign language (though we are a hearing family, a friend said it helped with a child's frustration until their language skills kick in). She has the word "hat" down, but it doesn't play into our vocabulary too often to use it. But TODAY, she got fussy and did the motion for milk!!! I asked if she wanted a bottle and she did it again! I am all excited about this and am ready to go looking for more resources. Anyone had more success? What resources do you use?

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Melissa - posted on 08/31/2010

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I took baby signs class for my first child and taught my second child also. They both started signing around 9 months and talking around 10-12 months. My son we speaking in sentences by 16-18 months. My daughter is saying a few words at 15 months. They both sign all done after a meal and please. I used the Baby Signs DVD program available at Babies' R Us. It was the program our class at Gymboree used. Good luck!

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Melissa - posted on 08/29/2010

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Here's an update. She's learned these additional signs: brushing teeth, bath, and book. She's mastered "milk". She is practicing mouth postering such as extended pucker with scrunched up nose. I think they exercise the muscles around their mouth before committing to talking. She can say "no" and "yesh" (yes) and "meow" and "wooh" (woof). She chatters nonsence all day long, and sometimes, you can just tell, she wishes she could already be able to communicate with words!

Maura - posted on 08/28/2010

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We are also a hearing family but we do use signs for our 15 mo old: eat, no, more, juice and sit. It helped with my 3 1/2 yr old especially since his speech was delayed

Nicole - posted on 08/27/2010

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My 15month old goes to daycare and they use simple signs during the day to help communicate. My daughter can use 5-6 proper signs to let me know what she wants at home and I cannot tell you how much it helps me better understand what she wants. Because she can sign some things I make her tell me what she wants now instead of pointing and grunting at an object and she seems to understand me a lot more too.

Debbie - posted on 08/19/2010

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I use "Tiny Talk" signing with my boys. I started it with my first son when he was 6mths (I didn't know about it before then), and I started it with my second son the day he was born (figured you're never to little to start learning). It's been great, and has removed so much frustration from our relationship. It's just so nice being able to communicate with them before they can talk. Another good thing about it is that if my 3yo is being naughty when we are out, I can let him know he's doing the wrong thing without having to use words and possibly embarrasing him (he's highly sensitive as he has mild autism).

A lot of people are under the misconception that it can stop a child talking, but it actually has the opposite effect. Because you say the word every time you sign it, you will find that you are saying the words to your baby a lot more often, so they are more likely to talk sooner than a baby that doesn't sign.

Good luck with it, and I hope you have as much fun with it as we have!

Sara - posted on 08/07/2010

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My son is 14.5 months and I have worked with him on sign language since about 6 months old. We use baby signs. He knows about 6 signs properly and knows how to properly use them but he also know about 10 other signs but doesn't use them in the correct way yet. I'm still working on it and I think once I can get him to know what they mean he will do better, we are now working on the potty training signs so hopefully soon we'll be able to tackle potty training without it being so hard.

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Julie - posted on 08/07/2010

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As a former Psych professor who talk the Psychology of Language, I can only say "YEAH!!!" Few parents realize that the reason that toddlers can't speak is actually physical rather than mental. Their tongues are actually too big for their mouths -- compared to kids and adults. So signing is a wonderful way to communicate with your toddler. My son had about 30 signs at his first birthday and now has over 70. It makes figuring out what he wants a lot easier and we have started to use sign language to signal when he wants to pretend to do something like vaccum the floor. I totally would get the Signing Times videos from you local library. If you can, start with Baby Signing Times,

Jennifer - posted on 08/04/2010

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I use a DVD called "Talking hands". We learned how to sign together and my little girl has some signs of her own. She can sign "I love you" , drink , she rubs her tummy when she is hungry and plays with her hair when she is sleepy. Sign language is great but it is also very important to watch for your child's own personal cues.

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We do some signs. No, it doesn't hinder their speech development. Signing actually promotes language development. You should always say the word that you are signing and encourage baby to say it. You don't just sign away without speaking. It's a common misconception. I love knowing what my daughter needs when she's fussing. I just looked up signs and started doing it with her. She knows food, more, milk, eat. We're working on diaper right now. I'm not getting too complex with it. Just doing the basics.

Line - posted on 08/04/2010

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i was thinking about sign language also but doesn't it take away the need for them to speek

Rebekah - posted on 08/04/2010

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Sign language is wonderful at this age!! I've gotten books at the library about baby sign language and done a few internet searches for signs when I think they may help. I started my son a little too late (he was already talking) and all he ever signed was "more" and "milk," but my daughter is doing great. On a regular basis she signs "help," "more," "eat," "cup," "milk," "all done," "nap," "up" and "down." I think it really helps with her frustration level... And as long as you are saying the word and signing it, I don't think it delays their speech.

Elizabeth - posted on 08/03/2010

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We got the baby signing time videos from our library, they're fantastic. I've learned several words, and my 14 month old son just loves the movies. He now signs, dog, hat, eat, drink, milk, more, and Daddy.

Kathryn - posted on 08/03/2010

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I have done some basic sign with my 14 month old and he can sign me for drink, food and play plus he likes signing/actions to his favourite nursery rhymes/songs ie twinkle, twinkle little star, wheels on the bus, 3 little monkeys jumping on the bed ect. It's just making it fun and joyful but remembering to speak not just sign

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