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Baby signing

(22 Posts)
Ieattoomuchcake Fri 17-Dec-10 22:07:32

Wasnt sure where to post this.
Does anybody have experience of or views on baby signing class?

My DD is 7.5 m (but was prem so is 5.5 m adjusted). I'm toying with starting baby signing classes after Christmas.

My concerns are.
1. I am going back to work when she's a year old. May or may not be able to fit in classes when back at work. Is she likely to get much out of it if I go from when she's 6-10 m adjusted? Will she just be starting to pick up stuff and then we'll have to stop the classes as I'll be working?

2. I've heard that signing delays speech. Any thoughts on this?

Thanks in advance for any input.

prettyone Fri 17-Dec-10 23:54:40

Why are you thinking of starting signing classes? Does your DD have a hearing problem, or someone in the family? I can't see, if you did signing, why it would delay speech, unless DD doesn't hear any speech.

camdancer Sat 18-Dec-10 09:13:31

It depends on the class and what you want to get out of it. If you want a child who is signing everything at 10m, then it isn't going to happen. But if you want a nice class to go to, learn a few songs, a few signs and meet some other nice people then give it a go.

I've done signing with both mine. DS loved to sign and learnt lots of signs. Didn't seem to delay his speech but it did cut out a lot of frustration that I saw other children go through not being able to communicate. DD doesn't really care about the signs at all. She spoke early and hasn't stopped! I don't remember her signing at all - apart from copying in class or copying Mr Tumble.

I found a really lovely signing class that was about the same price as a singing group. It had nice songs and nice people. That's why I went. The signing was an added bonus.

OctaviaOstrichJollster Sat 18-Dec-10 12:25:23

largely agree with camdancer.

I did four terms of S&S with my DS from the time he was 7 months. Don't think he signed once in class hmm but he enjoyed the singing and social side. Also I didn't buy the DVD as most of the others did, and I confess I didn't sign that much with him out of class.

DS is 2y6m now and is behind his peers in talking, we are in early stages of speech therapy. I had heard the suggestion that signing might delay speech, but I don't believe it, and in fact all the SALT people I have seen so far don't believe there is a link either.

DS is now signing quite a lot (initiated by him). E.g. his colours he can say pink, blue, purple, but signs red, green, black, white, yellow. In the last 3 weeks words he was just signing (milk, more, mumma) he is now saying.

So FWIW I say try the class and think of it as a good social fun opportunity and if you get other benefits too, so much the better.

Scherbatsky Sat 18-Dec-10 14:24:09

I think baby signing classes are one of those things that you can't tell how it will work out for you IYSWIM. Loads of people I know did it, it was quite the done thing around here for a while, some loved it some hated it.

One family I know did it with both kids, the first DS took to it really well, somehow didn't have any of the 18mths+ tantrums etc and she swore blind it was because he could communicate so no frustration but that theory went out of the window when their second, their DD who also did baby signing had worse tantrums that I have ever seen before. (I admit that I did have a small chuckle to myself about the many self righteous 'our DS doesn't need to tantrum because he can sign' type conversations I had with her!)

Another family I know did it with their DD and again she took to it really well (started at 6mths and went weekly til about 16 months), could sign all sorts really early on and it made life easier to know when she was hungry because she could tell them, but now at nearly 3 and and half she still relies on her signing and having started preschool none of the nursery nurses know what she is trying to say. Her speech is actually pretty good when she does speak but she chooses to sign, so that is now an issue for them.

Then there were quite a few friends who just did one or two terms of it as a nice social thing to do with baby, a singsong, some fun signs and then coffee with some other mums afterwards and tbh those are the people who seem to have enjoyed it most

I think it just depends what you want to get out of it, if you want a fun activity that might help a little with communication but mostly have fun together then I'd go for it.

If you are hoping to use it to improve any future behavioural issues etc etc you may be disappointed (but would have still had a nice time at the classes).

Ineedtinsel Sat 18-Dec-10 18:12:03

My DGD[2.5] has done baby signing at her day nursery, one of the staff is really into it.
DGD loves to sign it definatly didn't delay her speech she rattles away all the time. She doesn't need to sign now but we are continuing it bcause she does. She particularly likes the signs for cake and biscuit oh and she puts them together with more and please.

I would go for it if nothing else it is fun to learn and you never know if she meets a child who uses MAKATON when she is older she might be able to communicate with them.

SilveryMoon Sat 18-Dec-10 18:19:46

I have never taken my ds's to signing classes, but I did/do try to use makaton at home with them.
Ds2 is 22 months and still needs help in some aspects of communication.
When ds1 was small we used it whilst he was learning to talk.
The thing with makaton is that you say the words as you are signing so shouldn't really delay speech as they are still hearing all of the words.
Even if you have to stop going to classes when you return to work, you would have picked up enough to carry it on at home.
It is really easy to learn and all the signs are pretty logical so easy to remember.

beanandspud Sat 18-Dec-10 22:45:00

I only went for a term as I went back to work but it was the "nicest" group I went to and made more friends there than anywhere else.
We did a bit of signing at home and it hasn't delayed DS's speech in any way. If anything, I would say it has helped him to express things and be less frustrated.

FWIW I would go along and see what you think - nothing to lose!

Caz10 Sat 18-Dec-10 22:53:22

Made lovely friends, dd signed from about 9mths, sooooo useful...speech not delayed in the slightest, quite the opposite in fact!

muslimah28 Sun 19-Dec-10 20:19:55

hi weve been going to tiny talk classes they have classes all over the country just google tiny talk. I think in 4 months you will learn lots of signs, and then the point is to use them in context for your dc to pick up. Your dc wont pick up all the signs in that time, but you will. The classes are very good too because i think baby sign just seems to attract nice people to it!! Cant comment on language development but from what i understand you say the word at the same time as using the sign giving lots of opportunity to learn both. When they do develop speech, their resorting to signs can actually work in yr favour-if not done too much- as ive heard anecdotes of tired or ill babies signing when they dont have the energy to talk

Ieattoomuchcake Sun 19-Dec-10 21:24:40

Thank you everybody for your lovely posts.
I think I've been overthinking it a bit.

I will just go along. I think it is a tiny talk class that we've been looking at.

You're all right, worst case scenario it will just be a social thing.

MissTFied Sun 19-Dec-10 21:29:51

I really found it helped with communicating with all 3 of our dc.
To get the most out of it, practice the signs whenever the words come up at home eg I always signed 'milk' before feeding mine, and if we saw a bird, I would sign that.
It's great fun when they initiate the sign.

PocketMouse Sun 19-Dec-10 21:33:58

baby signing was invaluable to us. We never went to classes, but watched Something Special every single day.. My makaton is pretty good now, DS still uses it sometimes even though he is 3.

Speech wasn't delayed at all IMO, he's perfectly normal for his age. I remember the first time he signed something to me.. he said 'butterfly' after seeing one in the garden (I hadn't seen it). He was only about a year grin
We used it A LOT.. I swear he was more chilled out because he knew I understood what he wanted (milk/food/sleep and elephant being the most used signs in our house between 12-18 months)

was lovely.

Now I find it most useful for things like 'go and tickle Daddy'

Caz10 Sun 19-Dec-10 22:48:09

One of the nicest things I remember was DD telling "jokes" at about 15mths or so, hiding things and signing "where's x?" with a really gleeful grin, or making nonsense sign "sentences" and falling over laughing afterwards!

mylifewithmangers Sun 19-Dec-10 22:55:02

Signing with babies is great fun apart from anything else. And when they realise they can communicate meaningfully, it's such a special thing. My DS is starting to talk now (15 months), but he is still picking up new signs to augment his speech. He signed 'Daddy' the other day - though he has being saying Dada for months. It is quite a difficult one to sign too, he was so chuffed when I recognised it.

pozzled Sun 19-Dec-10 23:06:16

I would definitely recommend doing baby signing. I found the classes a good starting point, they were most useful for me to learn the signs then I could teach them to DD afterwards. So it won't really matter if it's a bit early for your DD. Also, I think it's best to do it earlier rather than later- DD was crawling/learning to walk while we went to classes and tbh she wanted to be off exploring, not sitting still singing songs!

WRT speech development, DD was perhaps a little late starting to speak (first words around 14 months) but the signs were really useful in the meantime. I especially liked 'food' 'drink' and 'enough' - much less stress at mealtimes. She made the transition from signs to words really easily, and it helped us to understand her in the days when her pronunciation was very hit and miss. Now she's almost 2 and a half and never stops talking, I feel it helped her a lot.

PocketMouse Sun 19-Dec-10 23:10:00

aw, this is a nice thread.

DS had a few things that he never would have been able to say at 18mo, but was able to sign them - double-decker bus, tractor, butterfly, elephant, birthday cake, pirate etc

it's worth it JUST for the cute factor... the fact that it's bloody useful is almost an aside grin

helenhicks Mon 20-Dec-10 14:39:36

I went with DD1 as it was a nice social group and it was nice to have a reason to hang out with other mums (didn't get into toddlers until she was about 18 months and I was climbing the walls). She loved all the singing, and I tried to keep it up at home but that was secondary to the social interaction it gave me. She's a total chatterbox, I'd go along with the theory that it helps the communication bits of the brain...

Justalittlereindeer Mon 20-Dec-10 14:58:55

There weren't any signing classes near us when we needed them, so I've just taught myself some signs and then taught DD.

She's now nearly 17 months, and actually has quite a lot of words in comparison to some of her friends the same age. However, the signing is so handy. She can tell me when she wants milk, or food, or when she's ready for a sleep - those 3 signs are worth their weight in gold. She also loves being able to tell me there is a dog or a bird, although that's less useful for me! Lol!

TBH, I think it's helped her speech. We focussed on teaching her words a lot more once we started signing. I think because once she started signing back, there was more reason to point out words. At 12 months I knew she wasn't able to say Sleep, but I knew she was physically able to do the sign once she learnt it.

belindarose Mon 20-Dec-10 16:42:15

Nice to have positive signing stories on here. Often seems to be dismissed as a PFB fad. My DD seems relatively late talking, compared to her other skills, but at 16mo she uses loads of signs (over 100). We didn't do classes as I knew makaton anyway and signed with her from very early on. She only says 'mama' and 'dada' but I'm confident that she won't stop talking once she gets going as she understands the value of communication.

Marylou242 Wed 22-Dec-10 14:54:39

We did signing classes from about 6 weeks old up until 8 months, I then went back to work on the day of the class but we carried on at home.

DS is now 16 months and signing lots. He's started saying a few words which, once he's confident he's learnt the word, replace the sign. Bird is the latest one of these. The cat sign is also no longer used, replaced with Mieow.

He's still picking up new signs though, for things he can't yet say, the latest ones are biscuit and snow. He started signing around 13 months and we've found it really helpful, for example, when we've forgotten to give him a drink with his dinner, he's been able to ask for one. At grandma's house, he used to come and tell us the cat was at the door waiting to be let in. Or if his nappy needs changing and grandma hasn't noticed, he can let her know about that as well.

I agree with PocketMouse, they look so sweet when they sign and it's caused a lot of jealousy with other mums whose children haven't been taught it! I love knowing what he's thinking too.

GoldFrakkincenseAndMyrrh Wed 22-Dec-10 15:01:58

I'm a fan of signing but it's vital to say and sign. Of course much later if you're still signing you can stealthily communicate by signing 'toilet' to an older child without embarrassing them.

Invaluable for bi/multilingual children too, as a complete aside!

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