Teaching sign language?

Kim - posted on 02/09/2011 ( 16 moms have responded )

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My son is 13 months old and has been very frustrated lately when it comes to communicating what he wants. He squeals when he wants something, its a little annoying. I love him but we have got to get this under control. Has anyone taught their child sign language? Tips? Also if you have do you think it encourages them not to use their words?

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Natalie - posted on 02/12/2011

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We started baby sign language with my daughter at around 6 months. She is 19 months now and talking like CRAZY! Studies actually show that babies who learn to sign tend to talk earlier. It is a very helpful tool in teaching them to communicate, and it helps with the frustration of not being able to verbally communicate when you want to. You should be able to look up basic baby signs on-line and the best way to teach them to your child is to do them yourself every time you say the corresponding word. They just pick them up naturally that way. If you try to "teach" them the signs, they can just end up frustrated.

Nicole - posted on 02/11/2011

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Sign language is awesome. My daughter goes to daycare and since she turned 1 they started teaching simple signs like "milk" "eat" and did other things like "all done"-both arms raised above head, please and thank you. She is coming up on her 2nd birthday and still does the signs along with actually saying them now. Sign language is great at breaking the barrier between not being able to speak and getting someone to understand you. Even my parents were amazed when they babysat how easy it was to figure out what she wanted by knowing a handful of signs.

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I keep seeing posts to this topic even a year later from when I posted. One year later my son is now three and most people are amazed at his language skills. He speaks in complete 6-7 (that's a five year old) word sentences and has comprehension beyond what I think most three year old would have. Even his daycare teachers comment on his intelligence. If you have the time and capabilities please teach your children sign language, it will be a benefit to them in the long run.

Sylvia - posted on 01/17/2012

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My daughter is 21 months old and says please and thank you in sign language. Im very proud of her. We started her off with thank you. There is a website that will not only teach her but it will teach you as well. It is http://www.aslpro.com/cgi-bin/aslpro/asl... I have been using it for as long as I can remember as my mom went to school for it. Just remember keep at it and dont give up. Its a great thing to teach your kids. Good luck!

Ebony - posted on 01/02/2012

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Was curious about your progress in teaching your son sign language? My two cents on the issue, but it is a great tool and would hopefully help with his frustrations. Study books from the library on adult or baby sign language to help. There are also plenty of ASL links that have provided me with great videos demonstrating adult language that can help. The one big thing to remember is that a baby/toddler will alter the signs as they understand the motion. I say this so you will not get stuck on perfection, as long as you understand what he means then it works. I am not an expert, but I have not experienced a lack of speech b/c of sign language.

Elfrieda - posted on 04/15/2011

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We taught my son a few signs, and even though he's 16 months, we're teaching him "thankyou" now. My tip would be, look on youtube! I wasn't keen on attending a class and all that, so this worked for us.
We taught him "more", "milk", "all done", and that's pretty much it. It trains him not to be bratty at the table. When he squeals and points, I say, "No, that's not how we ask for more." and then I watch him, and he remembers and makes the sign for more. You've got to pay more attention to the little guy in the highchair so you catch the signs, but it's worth it for better table manners so you can actually have a nice conversation with other adults!

It's interesting how he applies the signs to other times when there is no food around. Like if somebody is making a funny face, he'll sign "more". And if we're putting his pants on, it's "all done". :) Sorry buddy, the signs aren't magic. You still gotta wear pants.

Karin - posted on 04/15/2011

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Another vote for doing it. We started learning and using signs as my son was getting extremley frustrated trying to communicate. It has helped tremendously! He's now 23 months and due to a slight speech delay it's a life saver that we can communicate to each other. My only suggestion would be to learn the actual ASL signs instead of baby signs.

Lady Heather - posted on 04/15/2011

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We just started simple with some basics for her daily needs (milk, water, more). Repition of word with the sign is enough to teach them. If you really emphasize everything you are doing, he should pick it up. You can get good books at the library and there are also online resources. Some have videos which makes it easier to learn the signs for yourself. Wish I could remember them...

It definitely does not stop them from using words. Quite the opposite. I think it builds their confidence in their ability to communicate which only encourages. My daughter still signs her favourites while she's saying them.

BRIGITTE - posted on 04/15/2011

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I did a baby sign language course with my son when he was about 14 months. It was awesome. We got less frustrated with each other and by time he was about 21 months he used both English and Afrikaans words. He is 5 now, and fully bilingual. The important part is for you to say the for or ask the question while doing the sign language. That way, it won't defer his talking, and if you have a nanny in the house, ask her to also use the sign language, but to repeat what she is showing in her language. Then your son will also learn another language.

Shelley - posted on 04/14/2011

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We started sign language in spetember along with visual cues for my son when we started school to help with his severe receptive speech he is delayed in may areas but this has helped so much & keeps him from being a little less frusterated.

Tenesha - posted on 04/13/2011

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i am a infant toddler teacher i have taught infabts ant toddler signs it is so easy it makes every thing lots better for the both of u now u can now what they want and need kids learn very fast

Jackie - posted on 04/08/2011

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hi Kim,, Yes I taught my daughter to sign when she was 6 months old and loved it.. So much so that I actually became a baby sign teacher and teach my own class..And as regards delaying their speech,, if you say the word every time you do the sign, it will not delay their speech at all, it will actually encourage it.

[deleted account]

I use sign language with my son. We started when he was about 9 months. I used CD'd from Signing Time. When I got home from work I would put him in his high chair for his snack and he would watch the CD'ds while I cooked dinner. I would work with him on certain signs but he learned quite a few just watching the CD'd. I highly recommend Signing Time if your looking for help. He is now 27 months and uses a combination of signs and words for his communication. I have found that he does not get frustrated and we have never had a problem knowing what he wants!

Sarah - posted on 02/13/2011

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While sign language can technically delay vocal speech, it actually increases language comprehension, communication awareness, and vocabulary. The vast majority of children introduced to sign language before age 3 score higher in word comprehension, language, and reading tests than kids who weren't exposed. And kids who began before age one are even more drastically advanced.

I used sign language with all three of mine, and it is sooooo nice to ask my 11 month old what she wants, and have her be able to respond, "milk," or "tired." (On a funnier note, she will say,"da-da," "more" "bye-bye," and a few other words, but not Mama. When she sees or wants me, she signs "milk." Good to know I'm loved, lol!)

Virginia - posted on 02/13/2011

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Sign language is wonderful to teach your child. Studies show that language ability actually increases when children learn to sign first. There are great videos called Baby Signing Time. Just google the title. My son is adopted from Korea and didn't hear English until he came home at 8 months old. He started signing right away and when he did start talking it was in almost complete sentences. He has a great vocabulary now and he still likes to watch the signing videos from time to time.

Kristi - posted on 02/10/2011

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I think sign language is a great thing but since he cant talk as of now using only sign language might defer his talking when he is able. As annoying as the squealing may be get used to it. Teach him a few signs for food, milk, more. my daughter learned her signs in a Kindermusik class and I started to use them at home. If you start signing on a regular basis to do all major communicating with him he may not find the need to try and talk later on. Good luck. You can always ask the pediatrician too.

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