Year Two – Post 4 | Sign Language for Babies?
Sign language provides a visual cue to the spoken word. Using words and a sign together provides a broader approach to communication. Using signs can also be helpful if your child’s speech is sometimes hard to understand, as is often true with toddlers. Signs can reduce frustration for both you and your child in these circumstances. If your child relies on signs in the beginning, she will still develop speech, because talking is much easier than using sign language.
The key to using signs effectively is not only to learn how to make them, but also how to recognize them. After all, your child will learn to use them by watching you, and she will expect you to understand her when she tries them out. Practicing in front of a mirror will make it easy for you to check how well you’re making the signs and will also teach you to recognize them.
Signing can also help your child understand the order of a sentence, such as subject/verb/prepositional phrase (e.g., “I walk into the kitchen.”). It also can give her a visual clue as to what word comes next.
Sign language is actually a formalized system of gestures, which are motions people use to help express thoughts and feelings. There are some universal gestures (e.g wave bye, come, go) that we all learn to recognize as we grow up. Use them as you teach your child the words associated with them, and she’ll surprise you with how fast her vocabulary increases.
There are many sign language classes, DVD’s and books that will help you learn. My Baby Compass books one and two have over 140 signs for you to learn to help your baby and toddler increase their use of language.
– Kathryn Thorson Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP, author of My Baby Compass series