The Only 8 Signs You Need To Teach Your Baby
Introducing a few hand signs can encourage babies to communicate, as well as improve parents ability to understand what they’re trying to say. Plus, baby sign language can cut back on frustration-related crying, which is good for everybody.
OK, is your baby saying dog? Or is it Dad? And how do you know if theyre trying to tell you they want more mashed sweet potato or want to get down from their high chair? Trying to decipher your babys first words and early communication cues can be tricky. Enter baby sign language:
How Does Asl Compare With Spoken Language
ASL is a language completely separate and distinct from English. It contains all the fundamental features of language, with its own rules for pronunciation, word formation, and word order. While every language has ways of signaling different functions, such as asking a question rather than making a statement, languages differ in how this is done. For example, English speakers may ask a question by raising the pitch of their voices and by adjusting word order ASL users ask a question by raising their eyebrows, widening their eyes, and tilting their bodies forward.
Just as with other languages, specific ways of expressing ideas in ASL vary as much as ASL users themselves. In addition to individual differences in expression, ASL has regional accents and dialects just as certain English words are spoken differently in different parts of the country, ASL has regional variations in the rhythm of signing, pronunciation, slang, and signs used. Other sociological factors, including age and gender, can affect ASL usage and contribute to its variety, just as with spoken languages.
Fingerspelling is part of ASL and is used to spell out English words. In the fingerspelled alphabet, each letter corresponds to a distinct handshape. Fingerspelling is often used for proper names or to indicate the English word for something.
Why Emphasize Early Language Learning
Parents should expose a deaf or hard-of-hearing child to language as soon as possible. The earlier a child is exposed to and begins to acquire language, the better that childs language, cognitive, and social development will become. Research suggests that the first few years of life are the most crucial to a childs development of language skills, and even the early months of life can be important for establishing successful communication with caregivers. Thanks to screening programs in place at almost all hospitals in the United States and its territories, newborn babies are tested for hearing before they leave the hospital. If a baby has hearing loss, this screening gives parents an opportunity to learn about communication options. Parents can then start their childs language learning process during this important early stage of development.
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Will Using Bsl Affect My Childs Speech Development
A common concern about using sign language is that it will delay or prevent speech development. There is no evidence that shows this is the case provided that a rich spoken language environment is still available for the child.
For detailed information about choosing a communication method for your child, visit our page Choosing an approach which has detailed information about the most popular approaches used by deaf children and their families.
Please In British Sign Language
In British Sign Language the sign for Please and Thank you are very similar to the sign for thank you in ASL. The difference is in the speed of the sign and the facial expression.
So the sign for Please in ASL is not used in BSL. Confusing isnt it?! Here is an example:
Do you want to learn more signs like Please? Go to our online Sign Language Dictionary.
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American Sign Language: Stop
The sign for “stop” ismade by extending your left hand, palm upward. Sharply bring your open right hand down to your left palm at a rightangle. STOP:
Note: If what you mean to say is, “Stop it!” as in “Cut it out!” or “Knock it off!” see the one-handed version of “FINISH“
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Please In Baby Sign Language
How do you sign Please in Baby Sign Language?
The sign for Please in Baby Sign Language is exactly the same as in American Sign Language . The reason for this is that the sign is very easy to perform for young kids. Its a good idea to teach a young person to show respect as well as consideration for the effort another individual puts forth to help us.
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Stop Signs Around The World
The red octagonal field with white English-language stop legend is the most common stop sign used around the world, but it is not universal Japan uses an inverted solid red triangle, for example, and Zimbabwe until 2016 used a disc bearing a black cross. Moreover, there are many variants of the red-and-white octagonal sign. Although all English-speaking and many other countries use the word stop on stop signs, some jurisdictions use an equivalent word in their primary language instead, or in addition the use of native languages is common on U.S. native reservations, especially those promoting language revitalization efforts, for example, and Israel uses no word, but rather a pictogram of a hand in a palm-forward “stop” gesture.
Help In Sign Language
When learning and teaching baby sign language, be sure to review the sign for help. This can be useful to baby in so many different situations plus, being able to ask for support from a parent or caregiver can help reduce any frustration a baby may feel. If you want to communicate help in sign language, simply make a fist with one hand, with the thumb extended, and place it over your other hand, which is extended flat. Then move both hands up together.
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What Exactly Is Baby Sign Language
Baby signs are often based on American Sign Language , but some may teach a variation on it. The focus is on keywords that are central to your babys world and very basic, without any of the advanced grammar or other body language nuances of full nonverbal speech. That said, babies who learn basic sign language can build on this as older kids, says Steyns.
Theres a misconception that babies who sign are somehow stalled when it comes to verbal communication. The research is absolutely the opposite, says Steyns. Many babies who learn to sign actually speak earlier.
More In Sign Language
Do you have trouble knowing if and when baby wants extra spoonfuls of their favorite puree? More is another important word for you and baby to learn. To express more in sign language, pinch your thumbs and fingers together on both hands, creating two O shapes, then tapping your fingertips together a few times.
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Sleep In Sign Language
Nobody likes having a fussy, sleep-deprived baby on their hands, so its a good idea to practice sleep in sign language. Hold your hand over your forehead with your fingers spread apart, then draw your hand down over your face until your fingers and thumb come together to touch your chin. Even babies who resist naptime may whip this one out when theyre especially exhausted.
Which Signs Should I Start With
Although any word that relates to your babys world can be helpful, there are a few that are particularly useful. Functional signs, such as milk and full, are a great starting point, says Steyns. But the fun ones are actually important as well because theyre what your baby will likely be most interested in practising with you, she says. These may include signs like bath, if your little one loves tub time, or dog, if your pooch is already your babys best friend.
Introduce between one and three signs at a time, repeating them often as firm statements and saying and signing the words at the same time. Avoid using the signs as questions because this can confuse your baby, says Steyns.
In addition to practising on your own, it may be worth signing up for an online or in-person course on baby sign language to ensure that youre getting the gestures just right.
Before long , your baby will begin signing back to you. But keep in mind that, as with speech, their early versions of the words in sign language will often be a bit different at first. They may only be decipherable to you in the beginning, but thats OKjust keep trying together.
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Baby Sign Language Chart
Here, you can see 25 of the most common signs, all in one comprehensive baby sign language chart.
Now that you know the basics of how to teach baby sign language, begin practicing a few words you think youll use most frequently at home. Your little one will love having a special way to communicate their wants and needs with you. Whats more, having the ability to express your feelings to each other will help strengthen your bond. Its a win-win!
About the experts:
, CCC-SLP, is a certified speech-language pathologist in Wisconsin. With 17 years of experience, she has worked in birth-to-three programs, pre-schools and schools, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and outpatient clinics. She received her MS in communication disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
Plus, more from The Bump:
How Do You Say Just In/sign Language
In American Sign Language, just should be repeated with an index finger placed between the two neutral fingers. As you tilt the palm-side of the hand forward and rotate downward towards yourself, take your thumb to point, have the hand facing forward forward. Pull with the fingers of the palm for a twisting rotation.
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Can Baby Sign Language Delay Speech
Can baby sign language interfere with a child’s speech development? Should a preteen crawl in bed with her parents after a nightmare? Growing Up Healthy answers your queries. Have a question about children’s health and well-being? E-mail the author. Well post select answers in future columns.
Q: Baby sign language has become extremely popular recently. Ive heard only wonderful things about it, including that it eases frustration and promotes verbal language. However, my niece has been taught baby sign language and is now 18 months old and has yet to speak a word. She seems content to just demand food and drink with her hands. Does baby sign language actually delay verbal language in many cases?
A: The short answer is no, according to Dr. Lynn Mowbray Wegner, a pediatrician in Chapel Hill, N.C., and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. In fact, signing is a very good … err … sign. It means your niece is communicating effectively, which is a major step at this point in her life.
The exact form of this communication varies. Some parents rely on gestures based on American Sign Language. Others create their own signs for everyday objects and emotions.
Communication is communication. Signing, gesturing, using communication boards and other assistive methods are all acceptable in the very young child who is trying to get his message across and understand what others say to him, says Wegner.
How Do Most Children Learn Asl
Parents are often the source of a childs early acquisition of language, but for children who are deaf, additional people may be models for language acquisition. A deaf child born to parents who are deaf and who already use ASL will begin to acquire ASL as naturally as a hearing child picks up spoken language from hearing parents. However, for a deaf child with hearing parents who have no prior experience with ASL, language may be acquired differently. In fact, 9 out of 10 children who are born deaf are born to parents who hear. Some hearing parents choose to introduce sign language to their deaf children. Hearing parents who choose to have their child learn sign language often learn it along with their child. Children who are deaf and have hearing parents often learn sign language through deaf peers and become fluent.
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Stop In Sign Language
Learn how to sign stop in ASL . It comes in handy when you cant always use your words or voice!
Teaching Tips to learn how to sign stop in ASL
- This sign is also good for a variation on Red Light! Green Light! Practice the signs for stop and go. When you sign go your child can run. When you sign stop the child stops!
- Sign language comes in handy when out and about. If your child is out of earshot or you are in a place that needs to be particularly quiet, you can get their attention and re-direct behavior by signing stop.
Transcript:Stop. Use a flat hand to stop the other hand. Stop.
What Is American Sign Language
American Sign Language is a complete, natural language that has the same linguistic properties as spoken languages, with grammar that differs from English. ASL is expressed by movements of the hands and face. It is the primary language of many North Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing and is used by some hearing people as well.
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Us Mandate International Adoption
The MUTCD stop sign was already widely deployed in the United States when the use of other types of stop signs was eliminated in 1966. In 1968, this sign was adopted by the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals as part of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe‘s effort to standardize road travel across borders. The Convention specifies that stop be written in English or the national language, and also allows a circular sign with red legend. Forty European countries are party to the convention.
Where Did Asl Originate
No person or committee invented ASL. The exact beginnings of ASL are not clear, but some suggest that it arose more than 200 years ago from the intermixing of local sign languages and French Sign Language . Todays ASL includes some elements of LSF plus the original local sign languages over time, these have melded and changed into a rich, complex, and mature language. Modern ASL and modern LSF are distinct languages. While they still contain some similar signs, they can no longer be understood by each others users.
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When Should I Start Baby Sign Language
Around six to eight months old is a great time to start teaching your baby how to sign. Babies are typically at a developmental stage where they are curious to communicate and pay more attention to things presented to them, says Steyns. But she recommends that parents gauge their own readiness, along with their babys, because signing requires learning on their part and committing to a lot of repetition of those hand signs. Some parents are eager to start when their babies are just a few months old, while others wait until their little ones are closer to a year old before they begin. Its not too late if you wait longer than a year because then they can start combining hand signs with verbal cues, she says.
Poop In Sign Language
Everybody does it, so you might as well learn to sign it! If you want to indicate poop in sign language, clench both hands into fists and stack them on top of each other, with the thumb of the bottom hand tucked inside the upper fist. Then, pull your bottom hand down from the upper hand, leaving your thumb extended. Next time baby soils their diaper, theyll let you knowbefore you even smell it.
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Why Should I Teach My Baby To Sign
Baby sign language can encourage babies to communicate, as well as improve parents ability to understand what their tots are trying to say, says Lee Ann Steyns, owner of Signing Babies, a Vancouver-based company that teaches baby sign language.
One of the biggest benefits is the possibility of fewer frustration-related crying jags. Using sign language before they speak can dial down your babys frustration and dial up their confidence that you will listen and respond, says Steyns. Many parents report fewer temper tantrums in older babies who sign, she says.
Learning sign language can give parents a confidence boost, too, especially first-time moms and dads. Sign language can create a framework for how you go about your daily routines and help you feel like youre guiding communication instead of just rolling with the punches, says Steyns. In addition to helping you better understand each other, learning baby signs can also help with your babys developing motor skills and may even boost IQ.