Q A Baby Sign Language

Questions and Answers About Sign Language for Your Baby adn Toddler.

Baby Sign Language: Questions and answers about sign language for babies and toddlers. Will my baby not talk as soon if she uses sign language? How can I stop my toddler from using sign language before his oral words?

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Sign Language for Your Baby and Toddler

Questions and Answers About Sign Language for Your Baby and Toddler.

Mary Moore

Sign Language: Questions about your baby or toddler and the use of sign language. La

Sign Language vs. Verbal Communication

I would like to use signing, or sign language with my daughter, but I amafraid she won’t talk later on if she learns to talk to us through signlanguage.

The baby who is exposed more and more to the outsideworld soon finds that verbal words are readily understood while signlanguage is not understood. Sign language naturally gives way to verbal communication.

A group of researchers studying sign language with infants and toddlers at The Ohio State University’s Infant-Toddler Laboratory Schoolagree. Dr. Kimberlee Whaley, an associate professor of human development and familyscience says, “What we found is that their first spoken words are usually words they had already learned to sign. As thebabies learn to speak more words, their use of signs fades away.”

You will eventually find your child gradually abandoning sign languageif there is no reason to continue it–such as your encouragement or a need tocommunicate with the hearing impaired.

Son Prefers Sign Language

Teaching our baby sign language was wonderful. We usually knew what he meant wellbefore he was a year old. Now we have another problem. My son is able tosay many words. But he usually won’t without trying sign language first. That isfine within the family–we know what he means. But it is not fine in the outsideworld. How do we get our son to switch from sign language to words now?

Try this. Don’t immediately reward signing. If you feel that he could justas easily use a word or two for what he is communicating, simply say to yoursigning baby, "Use your words." Be consistent and this will start theprocess of switching to verbal communication.

However, you mentioned that he tried his sign language first, then used a word when he was not understood. He will gradually replace sign language with words in the outside world, anyway.

Keep Communicating in Sign Language?

We have very good results with communicating with our infant daughter through signing and sign language. Now she is 28 months old and is beginning to replace signs with wordsalmost entirely. Is there any reason to keep up the sign language?

Many experts think there is a good reason to keep babies using signlanguage. The obvious one is that they will always be able to communicate withdeaf of hearing impaired people. Other experts think that the baby who is learning two or eventhree languages will learn both (all) of them better. And for years research hasshown that it is easier to learn multiple languages as a toddler or young child. There may be otherbenefits. Read the research here before encouraging yourbaby to keep or giveup sign language.

American Sign Language vs Family Sign Language

Help. We are really confused. Which sign language should we teach our baby–our own "made-up" sign language or American Sign Language?

There are certainly two schools of thought on the matter. Whenever I amconfused, I try to look at both sides closely. The two best videos are Sign with Your Baby Complete Learning Kit by Dr. Joseph Garcia (American Sign Language and Baby Signs (some American Sign Language and some made-up signs) by Drs Linda Acredolo, and Susan Goodwyn.If you have the money plus the time and/or the motivation to make your owndecisions, buy both videos and study both systems. We bought both (and a fewothers I would not recommend) and then decided to use American Sign Language in teaching ourson. In looking back I can say we used American SignLanguage. Our son did create a few of his own signs though, primarily because his own signing was not perfect. We were so excited that he was signing that we used his signs, too.

Back to other articles about sign language.

More about children developinglanguage skills.

More information about sign language for your baby or toddler.

Teaching Your Baby Sign Language.

Don’t spend a fortune on books and videos for sign language products before you have experience. The truth is that sign language is not hard to learn for you or for your baby. I would only purchase two, possibly three, sign language items.

My recommendations for teaching your baby sign language:

1. Dr Joseph Garcia authored the classic in the sign language field: Sign With Your Baby.

Buy the video only or buy a kit which contains the video, a short and simple to understand book, plus a chart showing the signs.

The sign language video is a must for the section on teaching sign language and the last section which demonstrates American Sign Language words. I would buy the kit to get the accompanying sign language book unless you buy the CD Pick Me Up at the same time. That CD includes a workbook.One sign language book is probably enough although both of these sign language books have their positive and different attributes.

2. At the same time I would add the music CD Pick Me Up for the signing and singing as well as the excellent sign language workbook for parents. This fun, interactive experience for you and your baby is all it normally takes to rapidly add words to your American Sign Language vocabulary.

3. If at any time you or your babies are having problems learning sign language, purchase Baby See N Sign, Volume I. It presents American Sign Language words three different times: as a still picture, in slow motion, and at normal video speed.

Frankly, I believe the above three items are all the sign language products you need to own.

If you have an expanded budget, here are some other sign language products I would consider buying.

See sign language products I would not buy and the reasons I would not buy them here.

Why purchase any sign language items? Why not use the library for your sign language needs?

You probably need at least one sign language product on hand for reference. A CD of music to sign by teaches sign language daily. Plus your baby can watch a sign language video like Baby See N Sign to supplement your own signing.

Parents: Have you had experience with baby sign language? Will you share that sign language experience with CyberParent readers?If so, please click here. Wewould love to publish your baby’s or toddler’s success or failure with sign language. We will not usefull names, but would like to publish your general location. Thanks for your sign language assistance!

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Note: The opinions expressedherein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect theposition of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of ahealth, legal, or other professional whose expertise you might need to seek.

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