baby signing - honest opinions?

(29 Posts)
gretagrape Fri 06-Sep-13 14:58:36

I felt quite enthusiastic about the idea of teaching my son baby signing so we could communicate way before he could talk, but now I'm not so sure.

I've got 2 friends who have used it with their children - one is 2.11 and is only speaking around a dozen single words that aren't really understandable unless you spend a lot of time with her, and the other is 2.3 and doesn't really say anything at all, apart from mama, dada and deep (for sleep).

Could be a co-incidence but it makes me wonder if I want to start using it - maybe it could delay speech because the child can just sign and be understood? Does it make them lazy or think that this is the way to communicate so you don't need to move on to actually speaking?

Has anyone got any positive/negative experiences on its use?

partyondude Fri 06-Sep-13 22:41:17

We did a short makaton course at the children's centre and then sing and sign which is makaton based. It isn't true makaton and uses different signs for pain and uses one sign for nappy change rather than different signs for nappy and change (and makaton has different signs for cloth and disposable nappies which, quite frankly was one step too far for me. Had my child told me what material they wished their nappy to be made from I would have signed them up for mensa and potty trained them instantly)..

however it did slow my speech down and save dd from constant stream of consciousness complex sentences. I learned to focus on key words and phrases that I could sign. I also have a song for any occasion.

MrsOgg Wed 11-Sep-13 23:50:38

Well I'm loving it! My son is 15 months old and this month he has started signing back to me - he does 'where', 'dog', 'bird', 'no', and, randomly, 'snail' and 'flower'.

It is hilarious because he'll do something like throw a toy off the side of the bed, and then do the 'where' sign, while looking really quizzical, as if he really doesn't know where it is. I hid behind the curtains the other day and he spent about 10-15 minutes coming to point at me, then walking back so he couldn't see me and doing the 'where' sign, then coming back to point at me again. He was really enjoying himself and I fell over laughing.

It definitely helped him understand what I was saying too, as soon as I started using the signs for eat, drink, enough, bath, (and probably spoke more slowly and enunciated better as well) it was obvious he understood what was being said.

I definitely recommend the class. And my son is speaking pretty well for his age, he has 15 ish words already that I definitely recognise, and he has a pretty good go at more. He is very very chatty, so I don't think signing is negatively affecting his speaking skills.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 12-Sep-13 00:00:56

I loved it. From what I read it doesn't hinder speech development, in fact it helps it because it is helping them make connections about communication etc and then it's just a case of waiting for the vocal chords, muscles etc to catch up with what they want to say.

DS was talking in full sentences at just gone 2, so no I don't think it hindered him at all.

BTW you mentioned somebody "not encouraging speaking over signing", I don't think it's recommended to encourage either way, they will just use whatever works best for them, and by the time they start speaking a little, the signs just sort of peter out as they have no need for them any more. DS is nearly 5 and I doubt he would even remember any now. But they were really helpful when he did use them.

Also worth remembering it's not a race, and it doesn't make much of a difference whether they talk at 9 months or 3 years, by the time they are at primary school you can't tell the difference.

DeWe Thu 12-Sep-13 10:37:59

When dd1 was a baby I had a friend who did it. At 18 months they were talking well AND had about 50+ signs. She used to learn a new word and ask for the sign as well. She used to sign along side talking. She stopped doing this about 2.6yo, but about 2 years later was out when she saw two (I assume) deaf people signing, and went up and joined in much to their amazement.

I did signing with dd2 and ds after seeing her. Dd2 was my best signer with a couple of dozen signs (I didn't go to classes) and was fully in sentences and had about 300 words at 18 months.
Ds was slower talking because he had glue ear, but was still a good talker. When he's really struggling to hear, he returns to signs now at age 6yo.

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