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Reassurance needed re signing and late speaking

(20 Posts)
baileyslover Wed 26-Dec-12 23:03:09

Is there evidence that baby signing delays children's speech?

At the IL's for Christmas with 25 month old DS. He is speaking, but only single words. His vocab is fairly big, but his pronunciation is not always particularly understandable by us let alone other people. His comprehension is good. I was initially worried, but after reassurance from HV and CM, I was happy that it would come with time, but SIL, who is a GP has said this evening that a recent study has shown that baby signing can delay speech.

We went to signing for 18months, and felt that it really helped DS communicate. He hasn't a massive amount of signs, but key ones helped his frustration, but now I am worried that I might have inadvertently hindered him. SIL said that by having single word signs he hasn't felt the need to join words together. Interestingly he is now speaking all the words he signs, and they are the most clear words he uses, so gut instinct tells me to just ignore, but it has made me worried all over again about his speechsad

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Wed 26-Dec-12 23:11:31

No, the evidence is the opposite. Signing encourages speech.

noseynoonoo Wed 26-Dec-12 23:55:38

As far as I know, signing encourages verbal communication.

If it is any consolation, both of my children were very late speakers and, having sat in the car for much of today listening to them witter on, I can confirm (anecdotally) that delayed speech is not indicative of speech problems later on)!

madwomanintheattic Thu 27-Dec-12 00:02:26

Nah. It's bollocks. As long as you have consistently used signing alongside speech, not instead of, it encourages communication. It's er, why speech a d language therapists use it with disabled children, to promote speech, not to delay it further....

Your sil is wrong. You might like to suggest that she chats to some real speech and language experts, because I'd be worried if I had a speech delayed child and my gp was claiming that my specialist therapists advice was harming my kid. Loon. As a gp, she needs to get a grip.

noseynoonoo Thu 27-Dec-12 00:05:52

Sorry, I missed that SIL is a GP!! What strange advice from her. Is she always so 'helpfully-opinionated'?

DoubleYew Thu 27-Dec-12 00:22:39

Yes what they said. Ds' SALT said signing, pointing, dragging you about etc is all good and to be encouraged. You should say the word alongside the sign but you must have been doing that if he has the words for his signs.

Another useful thing she said to us is that talking is actually very difficult to do. Just because adults can do it, don't underestimate how hard it is. Its not a case of "not feeling the need."

They can't put two words together until they have enough words. So you can make sure he knows More, On/Off, Big/Small, colours, Mummy's / Daddy's / [his name]'s shoes, trousers, cup etc.

redwellybluewelly Thu 27-Dec-12 00:29:36

DD is older than your DS, she is 28 months and has very few unclear words. Her receptive language and comprehension are however assessed at a year above her age, hence concern about a speech delay. We have signed since six months on advice of a language therapist (DD was always going to struggle due to brain injury at birth) as it promotes and aids communication skills.

Focus on useful words and speak alongside. And your SIL needs some decent training.

firawla Thu 27-Dec-12 00:33:13

One of my ds has very delayed speech & signing is the best thing we have done with him, it is helping him a huge amount.
as long as you say the word alongside the sign, then its not going to stop him talking.
Also if his speech is delayed then giving him signing as another method of communication will help to reduce his frustration while he picks up the words and helps you to understand him if his speech is not that clear. Imagine how your ds will feel when he is saying a word but you don't understand cos its not clear, so you cant really get it and respond to it - compared to you do understand it cos he does the sign along side so with that bit of context you're able to tell what word he's trying to say. which one will encourage him to communicate more? obviously the signing one!
Signing can also help you to speak slower and with more simple short sentences which are all beneficial for young children still learning how to talk
I would just ignore your sil for now. considering he is only 25 months and you say he has a lot of single words then joining 2 words together hopefully should be just round the corner?

madwomanintheattic Thu 27-Dec-12 16:52:34

Redwelly, dd2 was v similar. We were told she was unlikely to be verbal, tbh. She was statemented for yr r, largely due to communication needs (she was verbal but incomprehensible due to dysarthria caused by the brain injury).

She is now 9 and we can't shut her up. grin 8 years of SLT. grin They even let her in the school choir (my ears). grin. Having a few words at this point is great, it really is. grin (at 5 she was assessed as having a reading and vocab age of 12. That was with the dysarthria....) grin has she been dx with athetoid cp?

FrustratedSycamoreSnowflake Thu 27-Dec-12 17:05:07

Ignore SIL. Please ignore SIL.
Signing promotes spoken language development. My dd doesn't say anything that she can't already comfortably sign. (She is severely s&l delayed, and elective mute due to asd and anxiety, but she will sign)
Sign is communication and if there is communication then frustration is lessened. My dd was terribly frustrated before we started signing, and I dread to think how bad her communication and behaviour would be if we didnt sign with her. It is the best thing we ever did for dd.

ilovesprouts Thu 27-Dec-12 19:16:54

my ds2 is 6 non verbel he signs a little bit .

redwellybluewelly Thu 27-Dec-12 19:19:48

madwoman think we've chatted before but DD is more spastic hemi. We have the option of both private and NHS SaLT starting same week in January. Tempted to go to both but tell neither about the other. We should chat more brew

OneNiceGreenLeaf Thu 27-Dec-12 19:26:26

Your SIL in wrong. I hope she's not telling her patients this incorrect information and causing other parents needless worry.

Keep doing what you're doing smile

madwomanintheattic Fri 28-Dec-12 01:31:48

Dd2's first dx was spastic quad, but she's always been weaker on one side due the pattern of damage. I pop onto the cp thread every so often. grin

hubbahubster Fri 28-Dec-12 16:57:31

We went to signing from 3 months to when I went back to work at 9 months. DS is now 17 months and has about 30+ words, doesn't stop babbling either. So no, I think it's bollocks. Although oddly, 'milk' was his first sign and he's only just started using the word rather than the sign!

Ineedmorepatience Fri 28-Dec-12 19:48:10

Ime, some GP's have shockingly out dated knowledge.

If signing delayed speech, why would many early years setting be using it every day ??

Signing increases confidence in communication skills and decreases frustration.

Keel using it along side speech.

Good lucksmile

zzzzz Fri 28-Dec-12 19:53:15

My son, now 7, has a severe language disorder. Please ask SIL to identify the research she is quoting, because I believe she is incorrect.


TheLightPassenger Fri 28-Dec-12 19:54:04

eh? why on earth would single word signs stop a child joining words together. How does she think BSL works hmm.

hugoagogo Fri 28-Dec-12 20:02:38

ds didn't speak at all until he was 26 months and then only single words for several more months. He saw a speech therapist a few times who suggested some signing (amongst other things).By the time he went to school he was fine.

I think the best advice I had was to speak in a very over the top children's tv presenter way.

Please don't let this advice put you off signing.

signandsmile Fri 28-Dec-12 20:27:05

Hi OP, just wanna say 'ditto' with all the lovely wise women above. grin I do think asking her to give you the research is actually a good idea, as you will probably find it is a Daily Mail article... (say no more!)

as you can tell from my name I am pro-sign, wink (spent a number of years working as a social worker with d/Deaf people), but have seen the benefits of signing with my own ds, (has ASD mild LD and, at 4yrs, had the same 7 words he had at 18 months, however he had hundreds of signs, and could communicate and make his needs known, we always spoke and signed with him and now at 6 he is chatting away wonderfully, (his speech is very random in content, but that is the ASD)

all the research (more than 20 years) shows that signing aids speech acquisition. Good luck, (and continue to enjoy your ds)

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