There are several reasons why young parents choose to use Baby Signs in the communication with their kids. Scientific research shows that a baby can understand and express much more than was previously thought. Babies acquire the ability to understand language long before their muscles enable them to actually speak. You can begin parent/infant communication starting at six months old by using signs, rather than waiting for comprehensible speech to develop at sixteen to eighteen months. The gap between children's ability to understand language and speech production (much later) can be easily bridged with sign language.
Research has shown that using Baby Signs has the following benefits:
- Greatly reduces frustration levels of the baby and parents/caregivers because your baby can express what she wants and feels.
- Signing babies speak earlier since they have already established the communication process. They have learned how to identify objects, feelings and needs through signs. They realize at a very young age that signs are coupled with objects or activities. They also learn that the same sign can be used in different situations (e.g. "more" to want to eat more or if you want to play more; "bear" is not only a teddy bear but can also be a bear at the zoo or in a book). Babies can now skip this phase once they are physically ready to speak.
- Babies often express more than basic needs and wants. Signing enables them to tell the family what they're interested in. That means they can initiate conversations. After returning from a walk around the neighborhood, Isabel looked at her mom and signed "airplane." "Yes," her mom said, "we saw a big airplane up in the sky today. It was flying to a place far away." In this exchange, the child expressed a topic on her mind and the parent was able to elaborate on it, modeling language on a topic the child initiated.
- One of the causes for tantrums and other negative behaviour during the "terrible two's" is a child's inability to communicate. Since your child will have been communicating for over a year, your child will be less frustrated as they have the skills to express themselves. Furthermore, when spoken words fail your child, he can revert to sign language.
- Signing children are usually more interested in books and develop literacy at an earlier age. Research by Dr. Michelle Anthony, one of the founders of Signing Smart, has found that children who can systematically integrate language and gesture systems together display higher literacy rates than do other children. Research by Dr. Marilyn Daniels shows that even those hearing children who are not exposed to signs until the preschool years go on to display enhanced vocabulary, spelling, and reading skills over non-signing children. Therefore, it is never too late to introduce signs to young children. Even preschoolers can benefit from learning basic signs.
- Your child will be able to communicate with deaf or hard of hearing children!
- Your child can initiate conversation and share what they are interested in
- With the Baby Signs program you can bridge the period between understanding language and being able to speak
- The communication process is established much earlier where your child learns that a sign or a symbol represents an object, person or action. Furthermore, your child learns that a certain word can have different meanings depending on the situation. A car that you ride in can also be a toy car and can also be a drawing of a car in a book
- When children start speaking, many words sound alike. When your baby signs these words, you get "subtitles' as it were to their babbling, can avoid misunderstandings and directly respond to what they want to share.
- With children that are raised multilingually, the signs act as a bridge between the spoken languages and the signs can help desipher which word the child is trying to say
- Since you need to look at each other when signing, you both have more attention for the interaction and you don't have to repeat yourself
- Through Baby Signs you and your child can communicate with or without sound, even across distances or through a window
- Since you understand what is happening with your child, you can respond to theis want and needs and the child feels understood and seen
- Images are easier to remember than a word you hear, when you sign while speaking to you child - you are creating an image that it can easily remember