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baby sign language. What's your opinion

(14 Posts)
NannyJo Tue 29-Mar-05 21:14:13

I had never heard of this untill recently but am not sure what i think of it. Surely it's best to teach babies the real words and meanings so they don't reley on signing as a form of communication therfore delaying natural language.

like i say i've never used it so no proof to back this up which is why i am stll quite open to the idea maybe??

wobblyknicks Tue 29-Mar-05 21:19:42

I've used sign language with dd for the past few months, read 2 good books about it and they both said it actually helps their language come on as they can already communicate with you so are less frustrated and more eager to tell you things through speech. However dd, at 21 months, hasn't started talking yet but I don't put that down to the sign language, she seems to be very laissez-faire about every developmental stage and waits till you you're really worried about her before she plunges in and does everything she's supposed to.

Have found sign language very good though, dd has been able to communicate to me, has picked up loads of signs, some of which she invented herself and is really happy to be able to 'talk' to me!

SenoraPostrophe Tue 29-Mar-05 21:21:33

I've read about it, and it does kind of make sense - little babies physically can't say words, but signing can get the concept of language formed earlier. I think the idea is you stop using it once they start speaking, so language wouldn't be delayed, BUT a baby who can sign and speak is effectively bilingiual (I think)and recent evidence suggests that bilingualism is good for children's brain development in many more ways than the obvious.

I didn't try it for either of my 2 because they are biligual anyway and I didn't want to confuse things, but I think I would if they weren't.

wobblyknicks Tue 29-Mar-05 21:23:53

The books say that once a baby can talk they'll drop the signs because they don't need them anymore, unless you religiously keep using them every time you speak. But can't say anything on that as dd isn't talking yet!!

NannyJo Tue 29-Mar-05 21:26:31

Wobblyknicks, what are these books you used? perhaps i should read into it a bit more it does sound quite interesting to try.

leahbump Tue 29-Mar-05 21:28:22


I have been doing baby sign language since ds was 6 months. (now 13 months) He signed from about 9 months and seems to have really taken off from about 11 months. IT is wonderful that he can sign 'pain' (not always very acurate!) 'milk' 'eat' 'duck' 'snake' and more signs. He loves it that I understand what he is interested in.

He has also started vocalising well and says 'doggie' and 'daddy' very well!! I don't believe it has slowed his development but rather sped it up!

I have enjoyed it sooo much that I have trained to teach sing and sign within our local franchise and am teaching in my local area from april the 22nd. (Newcastle)

Sing and sign have consulted speech and language therapists about the benefits and potential failings of singing- and the specialists have said that it is a plus. However I NEVER sign in silence NEVER!! I think this is crucial. If a child is picking up loads of signs but not developing speech it is advisable to seek profesional advice (but most likely just a child going at their own pace in terms of speech development!). If a child neither picks up signs nor speech at all that is great cause for concern.

I am planning on using sign with ds 2 (due august!) and gues we'll be signing for a few years yet!!


BTW- sing and sign recomend that parents continue to sign until their child drops signs in favour of speech. So the child must stop first Nto sure how that will work as I am nt there yet!!

QueenEagle Tue 29-Mar-05 21:33:35

ds2 had significant speech & language disorder and delay, statemented at school, SALT etc.

From the age of 2 1/2yrs we taught him to sign as well as using the proper words, alongside speech therapy sessions. This enabled him to "communicate" without the emphasis on actual speech. I found his talking from then on came more freely as the pressure on him to talk was taken away even though he could not pronounce some words and sounds due to the disorder he had. At the age of about 6 he was discharged from SALT and you'd never know he ever had a problem - in fact I sometimes find myself wishing he'd shut up!

ds3 is 2 and also has speech delay. We are again using sign language with him and this definitely helps with his frustration as he can actually get across what he means when he is unable to say the words.

I must emphasise here that both my ds's have no other learning problems so I'm not sure if signing would be helpful to children who do. They need to have an adequate level of comprehension to use signing effectively.

wobblyknicks Tue 29-Mar-05 21:34:59

I used this one mainly (its American but as dd probably won't be chatting to deaf people etc I didn't think it mattered) and also this

I personally don't think it matters what 'language' you follow iyswim, as long as you're consistent with each sign.

leahbump Tue 29-Mar-05 21:37:40

agree wobbly knicks!! I started with asl based signs but quickly switched to makaton based ...glad I did as we can also use 'somthing special' from cbeebies to learn new signs.

sing and sign is makaton/ bsl based. But we use some asl signs as they are simpler that bsl ones!! Basically it's consistancy that matters!!

It was those books that convinced me to give it a go btw!!

NannyJo Tue 29-Mar-05 21:38:37

thank you

wobblyknicks Tue 29-Mar-05 21:41:54

leahbump - i used something special too, dd doesn't seem to mind, she just treats all new signs as new, regardless of the language

Shazzler Tue 29-Mar-05 22:15:48

I signed to my dd from about 10 mths. It took a while for her to catch on but once she did it was great. I don't think I signed enough but she has started making up her own signs along with words to help me understand her.

She is my second child and I understand what she wants a lot better than I did my ds at this age (I didn't sign to him). Her speech has come on a lot quicker than his did.

I was amazed at how well it worked and recommend it. My friends all think it's great too.

As others have already said it is supposed to help improve their speech rather than delay it. I think its to do with how much more you are repeating things to them when you sign as well.

Rarrie Tue 29-Mar-05 22:24:50

I am a big fan of signing! I started when my DD was 7 months. She is now 16 months and her langugae is quite advanced for her age. She has over 80 signs now, and can say over 25 different words (although some of the pronunciations are a bit dodgy) plus even more sounds for words! According to the bumpf I got from the health visitor the average number of words for her age is about 6 - 10!

Just recently, sure start has recommended its use, and now every nursery in my home town is being encouraged to use it. So my DD is now doing it at nursery too. The research on it is amazing, and shows that it does help children to communicate earlier. Some studies even suggest that it may help to higher a child's IQ!

But that aside, I have found that it has been amazing for our relationship... in comparison to other babies I know, she has far less paddies, because she just tells me what she wants! Right down to, "I want a book", so I get her a book - and if its not the right one, she'll tell me the one she wants! (by signing frog for example, so I know she wants the book with the frog in it!). She tells me when she's tired, hungry, thirsty, has a pain, wants me to play with her, wants me to read a book to her... the list goes on!

presonally, I cannot see any reason for not signing! It really is as amazing as it sounds!!

OscarPsmummy Tue 29-Mar-05 23:16:33

sister of oscarps mummy (who is Fabulous) I totally agree with using baby sign language and use as much as possible. My 11 month old understands lots of words and can usually express his needs. He absolutely loves 'something special'. We use a variety of signs from asl, bsl and signalong as well as some made up ones. My dh also uses these and overall it works well. hope to continue into the future, lovely to hear others are trying too!

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