Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why Not Sign It?

Have you ever thought of trying sign language with your baby? I know it sounds wierd to consider signing with a hearing child, but the results are amazing!

My husband and I have been using signs with our children since they were born....the results, happy, social, inquisitve babies and toddlers...and on through childhood, too! At 16 months our youngest daughter had mastered several signs, and payed close attention to new ones. An interesting side effect was an absoulute oral explosion. Her baby babble quickly evolved into words and combinations, some with accompanying signs! Whether your child is hearing impaired or not, signing can give you both a new way to communicate.

In their books How Babies Talk, and Einstein Never Used Flash Cards, Drs. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff support the benefits of signing with your baby. Sighting a study in which 140 families sighned with their babies, they state that the parents reported their joy in being able to communicate with their children, and that the babies were a lot less frustrated. They also state that babies in families that were encouraged to sign, when tested, were more advanced in language and intellegence tests, and that on average, babies who had been taught signs knew about 50 more words by age 2 than their non-signing peers.

This method of communication with babies is the result of research by the American writer and researcher, Joseph Garcia who made an important observation some years ago. He had many deaf friends and spent much time with them and their families. During this time, he noticed how hearing babies of deaf parents were able to communicate using hand gestures (signs), far sooner than their peers could communicate via speech. He began researching this idea more intensely and eventually came up with the wonderful Sign With Your Baby Complete Learning Kit. The kit is based on the idea of using simple signs (borrowed from the vocabulary of genuine sign language), with hearing babies as young as 6 months old. Signing is not used as a substitute for speech, in fact it is extremely important to say the word as well as signing it, that way your baby has a choice of two forms of communication: speech or sign. Inevitably, the sign will be the easier option.If you would like to try signing with your child there is a wealth of resources to help you on your way.

Signing Resources:

Sign With Your Baby Complete Learning Kit- by Joseph Garcia (available a bookstores everywhere)The Sign with Your Baby Complete Learning Kit will enable you to communicate at new levels with your baby long before she can speak. This comprehensive package of book, video, and reference guide shows how simple gestures can communicate ideas like "I'm hungry" or "help me."

Baby Signs- By Linda Acredolo, Ph.D., and Susan Goodwyn, Ph.D. Their two decades of research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, have proven that Baby Signs has extraordinary benefits for your baby—including reducing tantrums, boosting your baby's emotional and psychological development, and helping your baby learn to talk sooner!

SIGN with your BABY - A comprehensive web site and official home to Joseph Garcia’s award-winning SIGN with your BABY ™ product information and links to local resources including workshops and ongoing classes.

Signing With Your Baby - Learn how to get started signing with your baby or toddler with our current articles sign of the week photos of signing babies getting started signing books and video and much much more.

American Sign Language Browser This is a fantastic resource for the signing parent, and is one of my favorites. This browser features an extensive index of easy to follow recorded signs.

I hope you have a wonderful time signing and communicating with your baby. I know from experience how rewarding it is to really be able to communicate with your baby. Best of luck to you all, and happy signing!

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