Baby signing - helpful or a load of codswallop?(34 Posts)
So I saw an ad recently about baby signing classes for helping kids express their needs eg. Milk, tired etc Also read a story about a woman who took her son to such a class & was able to tell her 'scared' & 'light' which explained why bedtimes had been such a trial.
Anyway, this sounds interesting & I'd be keen on doing it but don't know if it would be any good or just rubbish really!
Anyone had a good/indifferent experience with it?
I started with DD because she was getting extremely frustrated. It eased it a little (prob would have been better if I started earlier - I started at around 8 months, she did it to actually tell me stuff by around 9.5 months)
She spoke reasonably early too, so it didnt appear to hold her back.
And we still use the sign for toilet when we are in public, and shes 10 now.
Love it love it! DD is 2 next week, and has been doing sing and sign since 5.5 months. We keep trying to give up but never seem to manage - she loves the classes, the teacher is amazing, and it's a lovely bunch of mums and kids. We also watch both DVDs regularly and a Xmas one at my mum's house gets anregulat airing too!
She started saying words at about th same time she started signing - about 10 months, and it all suddenly kicked off at about 13 months. By 14 months her vocab was well over 100 words. I don't sign any more other than to remind her silently to say please and thank you, but she still signs while she speaks, especially if I'm not understanding her for some reason, so it's still useful for her.
I think it was helpful to start around 6 months because it takes some practice but be aware you won't see many signs back til about 12-13 months on average.
If you don't fancy the classes there's a book on it I'd recommend by Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn (actually I recommend all their books).
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I signed with all of mine and found it brilliant for easing their frustration before they could speak. DS1 obvs got the most attention and signed almost exclusively from 9 mo to well over 2 years before the spoken word took over.
We used a video based on American SL which apparently has simpler signs than makaton, so not as useful in an ongoing sense, but just for babies it was great.
The others used a few signs (milk, more, apple, bird, the basics) and I still cherish the little insights into the workings of their mind!
DS2 was sat in the bath playing with the white bubbles and signed to himself "not milk, water".
DD watched the snow falling outside and looked at the mini snowman DS had built, signing "milk cat"!
Obviously milk featured quite heavily
Signing really helps bridge the gaps: aiding babies who can't yet verbalise to use simple signs and gestures to communicate their needs / wants & observations. Support young toddlers & children who don't have all their speech blocks to clarify their spoken word and support their language development. Signs also act as hooks helping children to remember words and associate them with objects.
I started with my son at 8 weeks, just 'milk' & 'pain' by 12 weeks he was reacting to both sufficiently I could tell when he wanted his milk but also (and more importantly to me at the time) tell if it was teething pain or colic that was troubling him - he reacted differently for each - bliss!!!
I continued to use signs with regularly up until he was 3 and a half, as although he had an extensive vocabulary (over 500 words by the age of 2) as his speech was still developing some of his words sounded very similar so rather than constantly asking him to repeat words I didn't understand and knocking his confidence, I would ask him twice and then ask for the sign to clarify. This was much better for his confidence and a lot less frustrating for both of us.
I also found it very beneficial when I left him with anyone else (my mum / my brother etc) rather than spending 2 hours explaining all his little quirks, cries & mutters it was much easier to show them a handful of signs and have confidence that both they & he would be understood & understand.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER IS TO SPEAK & SIGN AT THE SAME TIME. This way babies & children are exposed to spoken word too and you won't hinder their language development.
Try a local session, all groups are different and use different signing structures and incorporate different elements. So its worth asking them what they use and trying more than one if you can - ask if they do a 1 off taster.
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I did sign classes with DD for quite a while. She never did many of the signs but was a good talker so had no need. But it was a fun and gentle way of having some fun and communicating. She liked the songs. If she is feeling shy now she will still do the sign for thank you rather than say the word.
I have never really been interested to try with my boys (5yo and 9m). My eldest has always been a good speaker (although I can't remember when he spoke his first word). And I think I can mostly tell well enough what his younger brother wants without signing.
I suspect that most parents who take their children to signing lessons are pretty engaged with their children and would be doing all sorts of other things that will help with their communication skills anyway - talking about what they're doing, reading stories etc.
The window of time it provides a bridge between 'not being able to communicate' and 'being able to talk' seems relatively short in the greater scheme of things. If you enjoy the classes then brilliant but I wouldn't do it just for the signing.
My baby and I go to a 'baby sensory' class which we both enjoy very much. Lots of music and props and lights etc. The teacher does some signing but it's not an essential to the class and I've never done any at home.
That's my two pennorth anyway!
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