Baby Sign Language


| 3 Comments

baby sign language.jpg

 

A lot of times parents are frustrated by their newborns .Whether it's the new sleep schedule they have to take on once the baby is born, all the expenses of diapers and food, or simply not knowing what the baby wants or needs when they are crying. What if there was a way to communicate with your baby even if they are too young to use words? This is why baby sign language has been a common thing over the last few decades.  Based off the article Teaching your Baby Sign Language can Benefit Both of You by Jane Collingwood, states that sign language for children six months or younger allows the child to express how they feel at an earlier age than they can speak. This can also allow the child to have less tantrum fits, "Baby signing experts believe that frustration and tantrums can be avoided by closing the gap between desire to communicate and the ability to do so" (Collingwood 1).

            Babies can learn simple basic words such as "thirsty", "pacifier", "milk", "hot", "cold", 'hungry", "water", "bath", "play" etc. An American Sign Language interpreter by the name of Joseph Garcia conducted research showing that babies who consistently learned signs from six to seven months old were able to pick up and use almost fluently around eight to nine months old. This is very beneficial to the child psychologically. Experts have said that this is an easy way for the child to communicate what they are feeling and needing even if they are too "distraught to speak."  For example if a child falls and hurts themselves, and is too caught up on crying and screaming, they can easily sign what is wrong if words are too much to speak in that moment. This can later allow the child to have more confidence, and may even be able to control anger and frustration because they can easily sign what they are feeling.

            Parents have commented on the use of sign language as a way of forming a stronger bond with their child. It forces them to make more eye contact with the child, and if they are in public they can always silently reprimand their child without embarrassing them or causing a scene. However, although there seems to be a lot of benefits to signing, there have been many critiques as well. Many have said they believe learning sign language can cause a delay in speech, while others say it actually aids children in speaking earlier in age than most. Another common worry is children becoming too shy or introverted and not being able to have the social skills to interact with other children at school and in the environment. Many parents also feel this may have a negative effect on their child's IQ.

            However there has been research done by "psychologists Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn from the University of California-Davis found that by age eight, children who had been taught to sign as infants scored a staggering 12 points higher on IQ tests."

            I now propose the question to you all! Do you guys feel that teaching children sign language has more of a negative impact or a positive one? If so, why do you feel that way? I personally feel that learning sign language can help any child develop faster because they are exercising their brains to think and communicate in a different way. They also have an advantage to use their voice, unlike some children who are naturally born deaf. I think it is a very interesting way to interact with your child and you can always get more creative with it.  

http://psychcentral.com/lib/teaching-your-baby-sign-language-can-benefit-both-of-you/0002423

http://health.howstuffworks.com/pregnancy-and-parenting/baby-health/newborn-development/teaching-sign-language-to-your-baby1.htm

 

 

3 Comments

This is very interesting that babies can communicate through signs earlier than they can communicate verbally. I know that my sister, who has three young kids, taught them a little bit of sign language to signal when they were done with a meal or needed to use the bathroom. I was very impressed with the kids' ability to pick up on nonverbal language. apparently there's a whole language made especially for babies: http://www.babysignlanguage.com/dictionary/

My cousin's wife actually works specifically on teaching babies sign language. Based on the feedback she gets from parents, which is overwhelmingly positive, I'd say it seems to be going pretty well. I had never considered uses for sign language outside the hearing impaired before meeting her, but it makes a lot of sense for babies (who develop motor skills before speech) to learn to communicate with it. We'll probably never know if they consider it a "language" or more of a "do motion x get food" system, but either way, it allows for greater communication between babies and caregivers at younger ages. This can reduce stress for parents and children as they learn what the other needs.
When I met my cousin's daughter, she was one, and used a variety of signs to express her desires. One of the ones her mom was most proud of was the sign for "please". I never thought a one year old would be able to ask for food, please, but my baby cousin can. The potential raise in IQ is just a bonus, I think, for parents who are pleased to be able to teach language and manners at young ages.

I have heard of this idea before but never knew that it was actually possible! The part of your blog where you mentioned kids being able to sign when they are hurt is really astounding. That would be such a help to parents if they could go right to the source of the problem instead of battling through the tears and screams.

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