Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Infant Sign Language

In an attempt to reduce frustration in our son's language learning, we decided to try to teach him sign language. Since babies develop sufficient motor skills to sign before they develop the verbal skills to speak, signing can serve to help them communicate and reduce frustrations. He was a bit hesitant at first, but now he has a few signs down...and he's sooooo excited when he uses them. For example, when he wants more food, we ask "do you want more?" If he does, he'll start wildly signing more and giggling with delight at the thought of "more" food. It's wonderful to watch, and it's another sign of progress for us.

The hardest part for us was actually learning the signs, but even that wasn't too hard. I bought a small book, Baby Sign Language Basics which was helpful, but it's hard to get the nuance of the signs from a still image. A friend suggested Baby Einstein - My First Signs, but we haven't felt we needed it yet. Once his vocabulary starts expanding we might consider it. The most valuable tool for me has been Signing Time on PBS. The host speaks and sings while signing...it's fun to watch and easy to learn. I picked up a few common signs, and we just keep using them again and again when referencing items/actions. Even better, it's free :-)

3 comments:

What Works For Us said...

We're trying to start signing as well. Our son LOVES that Baby Einstein DVD. One word of caution we receive a lot is that signing further delays talking. for whatever that's worth...

Keep us posted on your progress!

MetaMommy said...

That's interesting. I've heard that signing can actually speed up verbal skills. That said, that never made sense to me because a baby without sign language is likely to be motivated to speak sooner due to a frustrating lack of resources with which to communicate. At least that's my take on it.
Either way, I'll definitely keep you posted!

Cathy said...

I LOVED the My Baby Can Sign DVDs from Baby Hand Productions - they were great for my oldest and I'm trying to use them with my baby (I just keep forgetting b/c I'm so busy!).

I don't think signing necessarily hurts or helps speaking - I know babies who signed who talked up a storm very early, and then there's my son, who signed and learned to talk at a very average rate. And those signs sure came in handy when he couldn't verbalize what he wanted.