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Baby signing

(14 Posts)
slightlysoupstainedbabygrows Tue 08-Jan-13 20:46:05

Has anyone done baby signing alongside bilingualism? I went along to a taster session recently, and one thing the teacher said was that as parents we should be careful to make sure we always spoke the word when using the sign.

I didn't think to ask at the time, but I'll be signing and using my language, my partner (who isn't attending the sessions but is interested in learning the signs) will be using English. I imagine that our son will figure it out, but has anyone had any problems?

Tabitha8 Wed 09-Jan-13 16:22:14

I did Makaton with my child for about 18 months. Apparently, "foreign" Makaton is slightly different to UK, but it didn't make any difference to us. We just used the same signs for whichever language. The word order is a little different, but that wasn't a problem either. DS built up to using about three or four signs at once. Children often make up their own signs as they go along as well.

slightlysoupstainedbabygrows Fri 11-Jan-13 14:50:38

That sounds good, thanks! I guess it's not surprising they'll make up signs, given that they make up words with spoken language.

Maia290 Sat 12-Jan-13 21:40:25

I did baby signing mainly because we speak 2 languages to our baby.
I went to classes and learnt all the signs, and I practised them a lot with baby (I always said the words in my language when signing), my husband was also using the same signs (and also saying the word in English when signing).
Although our baby didn't sign until he was about 18 months!
He is now 20 months, and I find signing very useful as I can understand better what he thinks or wants. I still sign to our baby, but my husband doesn't sign as much, in the nursery they also use some signs.
I definetely recommend you to use sign language when speaking to your baby. I think our baby took a very long time to use the signs because we are not as consistent as we should have been using the signs. Also he has always been more interested in physical development, crawling, walking, climbing than in communication, and I think this is his nature.
I belive that baby signing is very benefitial and specially for bilingual children, because the signing language is the link between the 2 languages.

sashh Mon 14-Jan-13 03:19:07

one thing the teacher said was that as parents we should be careful to make sure we always spoke the word when using the sign.

How ridiculous.

Deaf people don't speak and sign at the same time, their children grow up bilingual.

slightlysoupstainedbabygrows Mon 14-Jan-13 11:04:33

Sashh, I may have misrepresented what she said. This was in the context of explaining that we were just using the signs to support some of the words in a sentence, rather than trying to sign the whole sentence, as that would be too much to learn in a six week course, and also might be confusing for us as the word order is different.

Tabitha8 Mon 14-Jan-13 21:20:27

Sashh Makaton is used by many, many children who have no hearing problems whatsoever. Therefore, the word is always used alongside the sign. One reinforces the other. It is used by many children (like mine) with speech delays. It is an aid to speech and an aid to communication. It is not designed to replace speech.

sashh Fri 25-Jan-13 05:36:51


I know that, but to suggest you HAVE to speak is ridiculous. I was using deafness as an example of how ridiculous it is to say you have to speak and sign at the same time.

Also as you say Makaton is designed as an aid, BSL isn't.

notcitrus Fri 25-Jan-13 07:33:25

If you are fluently signing BSL, then the child is being exposed to a language, and no need to speak at the same time, not to mention word order etc would make it impossible.
But if you're just using a few signs like with baby signing, the idea is to get them understanding the concepts faster than with whole language, but not at theyo expense of learning whole language. So you want to speak like you would anyway, as well as adding a sign, rather than introducing signs and leaving out the words they go with.

Lots of parents in the baby sign classes have been in bilingual families doing
OPOL and they've each done the same signs.

Maia290 Fri 25-Jan-13 22:09:31

Baby signing is meant for hearing babies, it is about enhancing, not replacing language, we use the signs to reinforce the information carrying words in a sentence. By this we are making a link between the spoken words and the signs. Baby signing actively encourages the development of speech and language skills.

Tabitha8 Sat 26-Jan-13 16:38:25

Sashh This thread wasn't about British Sign Language. It was about baby signing, usually based around the Makaton signs.

gloucestergirl Tue 26-Feb-13 21:35:43

I tried baby-signing with our hopefully bilingual DD from 10 months till now 3 months later. DD ignores my signing. Much merriment for family and friends is all I have achieved. Shame...I really liked the idea. Perhaps I will stubbornly continue until DD is old enough to be embarassed into it.

fraktion Tue 05-Mar-13 23:17:20

We used Makaton from birth with DS in all languages. He signed for milk at 8 months grin to DH in response to him and then to me a day later in a separate context in my language.

I've seen it work many times and it's very beneficial IMO as a support to spoken communication.

B/ASL is a completely different kettle of fish.

TinyTalkCharlie Sat 29-Jun-13 17:40:07

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