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.
But Surely There Are Situations Where Signing Is Easier Than Speaking
I think thats very likely.;For example, the ASL sign for spider looks a lot like a spider. Its iconic, which may make it easier for babies to decipher. And it might be easier for babies to produce the gesture than to speak the English word, spider, which includes tricky elements, like the blended consonant sp.
The same might be said for the ASL signs for elephant and deer.
But most ASL signs arent iconic, and, as I explain here, some gestures can be pretty difficult for babies to reproduce just as some spoken words can be difficult to pronounce.
So its unlikely that a baby is going to find one mode of communication easier across the board.
Baby Is Already Signing And You Are Failing To Identify & Respond
We see this more frequently than we care to mention. Parents, caregivers and educators fail to observe baby closely and identify progress in the form of attempts to mimic signs and movement. Because babies have limited fine motor skills their first signs may not be of textbook quality. It is up to you the parent to closely observe micro-movements and gestures that happen in response to visuals and voice associations. For example your baby may try to open and close their hand when you say the word milk. Count these small but consistent attempts as signs resting assured that baby will eventually refine their movements.
Don’t Miss: Can Tinnitus Be In One Ear Only
Language Development Stage 1: Learning Sounds
When babies are born, they can hear and distinguish all the sounds in all the languages in the world. Thats about 150 sounds in about 6500 languages, though no language uses all of those sounds. The sounds a language uses are called phonemes and English has about 44. Some languages use more and some use fewer.
In this stage, babies learn which phonemes belong to the language they are learning and which dont. The ability to recognize and produce those sounds is called phonemic awareness, which is important for children learning to read.
The best way to promote language development for babies is simply to talk to your child. Babies learn by experiencing the world around them, so the more language they are exposed to the better. Additionally, you can put words to their actions. Talk to them as you would in conversation, pausing for them to respond, then you can say back what you think they might say. However, note that simply talking to them attentively is enough for them to pick up language.
Top 10 Tips For Practicing Sign Language :
Just follow a simple formula that the more you practice sign language, the better youll become, and the faster youll improve your skills. Moreover, there are numerous fun and effective ways to practice sign language skills. Here are the top 10 tips to increase your learning speed of sign language lessons. Check out these remarkable ideas below.
Also Check: What Size Battery For Phonak Hearing Aid
When And What Age Should I Start Signing With My Baby
This is a very common question about baby sign language and naturally so. There is general agreement that teaching babies sign language can begin as early as six months for almost any infant.
Some baby sign experts generalize by saying that Baby Sign Language is normally introduced between the ages of six to nine months.
Frequently, the approach is for the parents to begin signing in front of the child while learning the hand gestures. Somewhere between six to nine months, your infant will typically use their first sign.
The fact is that Baby Sign Language can be taught as soon as parents are able to make and keep consistent eye contact with their infant. Teaching babies sign language requires your infant to be able to focus on the hand movement and have the cognitive skills to connect a gesture with a particular item.
For Baby to sign back, the he or she will also need some motor skills to make specific handshapes and movements. The pioneer researcher, Joseph Garcia, who is partially credited for developing the use of American Sign Language for baby signing, found that babies who see sign language regularly beginning at six months of age will normally begin signing on their own by about eight months.
A good way to judge when an infant is ready to begin using Baby Sign Language is when he or she can understand and use most simple hand motions. These include gestures for words like hi or bye, or Baby nodding head to mean yes, or shaking it to mean no.
When To Teach Your Baby Sign Language
It is never too early or too late!
Developmentally, babies can be aware of sign by 4 months of agethis does not mean your baby that cannot even sit up yet will start signing back to you.
This is a great time for YOU to get used to the signs and begin associating the signs with the words.; Not only will you associate the word and sign, baby can too.
They may not have the fine motor skills to mimic you until 6 to 8 months, but that doesnt mean they arent watching!
We really started enforcing signs around 12 months and our baby has picked them up like wild fire!
Also Check: What Is The Life Expectancy Of Hearing Aids
How To Teach Basic Baby Sign Language
The good news is that learning baby sign language and teaching it to your little one isn’t that difficult, though the process will require consistent effort, lots of repetition, and patience on your part.Here are some tips for teaching baby sign language to your baby:
For more on how to teach your little one baby sign language, consult your childâs healthcare provider, who may recommend a book or online course on the subject. There may even be classes at your local community center.
Baby Sign Language: Why When And How To Start
If youre a parent of a baby or toddler, youve probably heard the term baby signs or baby sign language and wondered what its all about. ;Is it only for deaf children or can hearing children benefit as well?
How and when do I start teaching signs? If my child learns baby signs, will that keep her from talking? As a speech therapist who worked in early intervention for several years, I can answer all of these questions!
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see our disclosure.
You May Like: How To Remedy An Ear Infection At Home
Whats The Best Baby Sign Language Dvd
Baby sign language DVDs can be a great way for parents to learn signs to use at home. However,;”Young children learn through imitation, interaction, and experience. The best way to encourage your baby to learn any language -;Sign Language or the language you speak at home-;is to interact directly with your infant or toddler, Ayelet says.
She recommends incorporating signs into your childs daily routines and to incorporate lots of music with gestures into your week. Her podcast, Strength in Words, is a great resource for language-building music. She also has a great free Sign Language Motivators printable to post in your home for reference.
Baby Is Not Receiving Reinforcement From Caregivers & Family Members
It really does take a village to raise a child. If your little one spends eight to ten hours in daycare or with relatives and the only time he gets to sign is when baby is with you their speed of learning will be severely halted. Lovingly enlist everyone involved with the care of your baby by showing them the short and long term benefits of baby sign language. In the long run everyone will benefit and thank you for it.
If you are struggling with your babys progress we want to remind you that you are most likely in the right path and you have not even noticed. Dont be discouraged and take each day as a new opportunity to discover the world together with your baby. At the end of the day your goal is to improve the quality of life of your little one and that is always achieved if your primary goal is to love them.
Also Check: Is It Important To Clean Your Ears
Start Signing Why Kids Should Learn Sign Language
Give your child a hand in spelling, vocab, and other skills by introducing her to sign language.
My son, Jonah, came home from preschool one afternoon in a fidgety mood, wiggling his fingers wildly and whispering to himself. I was trying to figure out why he was so restless when he proudly announced that he was practicing a new skill he was learning at school: sign language.
It’s not news that signing with babies can help them communicate before they can talk, but it’s a more recent trend to use sign language with older kids. Experts say that teaching children this age the signs for words and the alphabet can help with letter recognition and build their vocabulary. Kids just think it’s fun.
Giving sign language a try at home shouldn’t be too tricky. “Three- and 4-year-olds usually find signing easy and entertaining because it taps into their natural tendency to communicate using their body,” explains Jan Christian Hafer, Ed.D., director of general studies at Washington, D.C.’s Gallaudet University, which focuses on serving deaf students. And there are plenty of easy-to-use resources available. Libraries often stock books and DVDs geared toward signing with kids — and websites, such as lifeprint.com, allow you to see sign language in action. Check out how your kid can benefit from this hands-on language.
Why it Helps: It Increases Kids’ Vocabulary
Why You Should Teach Your Baby Sign Language
So why on earth would you want to teach a baby sign language?
The capabilities to communicate through sign develop much earlier than the capabilities to communicate through speech.
What does this mean?
Your baby can be communicating with you months before they can start forming the words to tell you what they needtherefore, reducing temper tantrums from frustration.
Even when baby begins forming words, they may not be able to form as many words or the right words that they need to get a point across to you.
So called late talkers can be helped immensely by learning sign.; Once they figure out that a sign communicates something for them, they eventually begin using the word with the sign, then drop the sign all together and simply say what they need.; It can be a great stair step to help their communication.
From personal experience, my husband and I would sit there trying to guess what our little girl could possibly need as she would be crying her eyes out. She had been changed, fed, napped, played with
We introduced signs to her and within a month or two, she was able to tell us more food, pleasemilk, pleaseall doneplay and more!
Instead of having a melt down, she would literally sign to us exactly what she needed!
If that, in itself, is not enough reason to give it a go, I dont know what is!
Baby sign language has been proven to have great benefits later on such as a higher IQ, better grades, and a larger vocabulary! Ivy Leagues, here we come!
Also Check: How Much Hearing Loss Is A Disability Canada
Encourage Others To Sign
You may not be with your baby all the time, so when youre not, encourage whoever is looking after your child to use sign language. This will help your baby with the retention of certain signs and help them learn.
Dont worry if they dont want to sign with your child. This wont have a huge impact of their progress.
Baby Has Discovered Other Means Of Communication
We see this scenario way too frequently. If a baby is able to obtain what they want by crying pointing and pulling it is essential that the parent redirects the engagement and provides the child a visual on how signing can help them obtain what they want or need. Often, we are too quick to give up and just move on by giving baby something to soothe them instead of taking the opportunity as a teachable moment.
Read Also: Can Hearing Loss Affect Your Speech
Our Nonverbal Cues Can Help Babies Learn Language
Imagine I stranded you in the middle of a remote, isolated nation. You dont speak the local language, and the locals dont recognize any of your words. What would you do?
Very quickly, youd resort to pantomime. And as you tried to learn the language, youd soon appreciate that some people are a lot more helpful than others.
It isnt just that theyre friendlier. Some people just seem to have a better knack for non-verbal cues. They follow your gaze, and comment on what youre looking at. They point at the things they are talking about.
They use their hands and facial expressions to act out some of the things they are trying to say. And theyre really good at it. When they talk, its easier to figure out what they mean.
Researchers call this ability referential transparency, and it helps babies as well as adults. The evidence?
Erica Cartmill and her colleagues made video recordings of real-life conversations between 50 parents and their infants first when the babies were 14 months old, and again when they are 18 months old.
Then, for each parent-child pair, the researchers selected brief vignettes verbal interactions where the parent was using a concrete noun .
The researchers muted the soundtrack of each vignette, and inserted a beeping noise every time the parent uttered the target word. Next, they showed the resulting video clips to more than 200 adult volunteers.
What do we make of these results?
For example, consider the importance of pointing.
The Best Way To Learn Asl For Beginners
As with learning any type of language, it takes time and persistence to develop communication skills through sign. While learning a few basic sign language words is easy, mastering ASL takes years of practice. One of the greatest developments in ASL learning has been the ability for teachers, students, and friends to connect via webcam. Online ASL lessons make it possible to build sign language skills from anywhere in the world.
While lesson videos, books, and online resources are a great tool for learning vocabulary and the fundamentals of ASL, there is no substitute for working one-on-one with a teacher. Private lessons allow for real-time feedback and personalized lesson plans, so your sign language skills can reach their full expression.
Ready to take your ASL skills to the next level? Find your sign language teacher today!
Also Check: Is Hearing Loss Normal With An Ear Infection
Baby Sign Language Why How When
Im sure you parents out there have heard the term baby signs thrown out into the universe a time or two.
Some of you may wonder why on earth you would spend the time teaching your baby sign language if theyre not hearing impaired.
Some of you may think that a baby knowing signs will keep them from developing speech Im here to respond to all of the rumors!
Learn Some Common Signs
Here is a free chart from Baby Sign Language that will help you learn 25 of the most common signs. Their website also includes short videos to see the gesture in motion.
For even more words, check out Baby Sign Languages Dictionary of over 600 words, from again to zipper. But remember, your baby doesnt need to learn all the signs! Start off with signs that relate to your babys immediate world and helps them communicate their specific needs. For example, if grandma visits often or they have a favorite stuffed bear, include the signs for grandma and bear in the first twenty signs you both learn.
Read Also: Is Lyric Hearing Aid Covered By Insurance
Sign Language Is Inclusive
Teaching children how to be empathetic towards others who are different is paramount. Cultivating;empathy for those with disabilities can transform a childs future. Communicating via sign language is something that many consider so very different. ;However, sign language can enable children to see beyond others differences and to see people for who they truly are.
Watch below for an inspirational video on the first African-American students to attend Gallaudet University; the worlds only university designed to be barrier-free for deaf and hard of hearing students.
Get started now and click HERE to watch and learn the top 100 ASL signs put together for you from the American Sign Language University!
We know there are many more than 5 Reasons Children Should Learn Sign Language. Be sure to comment below with any resources you find helpful to our tribe.;
Asking Questions With Basic Sign Language Words
A single word question can keep a conversation flowing and help you get to know others. An important part of asking questions with sign language is using your face to look inquisitive while you sign. When asking a yes or no question, the eyebrows are raised. With questions that may incur a more detailed response, the eyebrows are lowered.
The following video guide from Victoria, an ASL teacher, covers many important phrases, including basic questions like these!
Also Check: How To Clean Ears With Bulb Syringe
Parenting Hacks And The Best In Design Delivered Monthly
BleepBleeps News is a monthly curated publication full of interesting, relevant links. Subscribe below and never miss an issue. Preview the latest edition here.
No spam, ever. Your email address will only ever be used for BleepBleeps News and you can easily unsubscribe with a single click at any time.
Possible Benefits Of Using Sign Language For Your Toddler
- Kids can understand spoken words more quickly, especially from ages 1 to 2
- They learn to use spoken language skills earlier, especially from 1 to 2 years old
- Earlier use of sentence structure in spoken language
- Sign language helps babies to communicate. Thus they are found to be less crying and whining
- Improves the bonding between parent and child
- Chances of an increase in IQ
Researchers say that there are no notable drawbacks of using sign language with your baby, and it doesn’t delay the expression of verbal communication. Though some studies imply that sign language doesn’t help in boosting the ability of toddlers to acquire verbal language earlier than usual, even these don’t show any negative impact on the baby’s ability to talk.
RELATED:;10 Fun Ways To Teach Spelling
Recommended Reading: Why Does It Feel Like There’s Water In My Ear
How To Teach Your Baby Sign Language
Start slow.; Trying to teach a baby 50 signs all in one day will be far too overwhelming for everyone involved.
Start with 3 or 4 that will be useful to you like, milkmorefood or all done.; Once they master a few, try introducing two or three more.; Get ready to repeat, repeat, repeat.
Step 1 Implement it into your conversations with them.; When you say one of these words, use the sign as you say it. Are you all done with your food?
Step 2 Sit down with baby and say the word while doing the sign.; Make sure baby is focused on you.; Take their hands and help them form the sign.; Say the word while you help them do the sign.
Step 3 You say the word and do the sign and have them try the sign on their own.; They may have a quirk or two that needs fixing which you can help them with.
Step 4 Try saying the word and see if baby can recognize the word and can do the sign.; If they dont try right away, use the word in a sentence then go back.; Do you want some milk?Can you show me milk?
Step 5 I like to go the extra mile.; When my little one uses a sign on her own, I say the word and do the sign to let her know that I understand her.
This is especially if I cant get her what she wants right away.; If were on the car ride home and she signs milk, Ill say and sign milk back and then let her know she can have it as soon as we get home.; Eliminating emotional break downs in the car? SCORE AGAIN!
Sign Language For Toddlers
The sign language taught to normally hearing infants and toddlers is different from the American Sign Language used for the hearing impaired.
Its a limited vocabulary of simple signs, some of which are part of the ASL signs meant to express the common needs of this age group, as well as the objects they frequently encounter.
Most commonly, such signs will signify concepts like more, all gone, thank you, and where is it?
Also Check: Does Medicare Pay For Hearing Aids For Seniors
Potential Benefits Of Sign Language For Toddlers
Possible benefits of using sign language for your little ones include:
- earlier ability to understand spoken words, especially from ages 1 to 2
- earlier use of spoken language skills, especially from 1 to 2 years old
- earlier use of sentence structure in spoken language
- better bonding between parent and child
- potential IQ increase
From what we know, most of the possible gains found in children seem to level off after age 3. Children 3 years and older who were taught sign language dont appear to have significantly greater abilities than children who didnt sign.
But it may still be valuable to sign with your youngster for several reasons.
Many parents who used sign language reported that their infants and toddlers were able to communicate so much to them during those critical years, including emotions.
As any parent of a toddler knows, its often difficult to know why your child is behaving the way they are. But with sign language, the child has another way of expressing themselves.
While this type of sign language may help your child communicate easier, more research is needed to discover if it can help advance language, literacy, or cognition.