Why sign with hearing babies and children?

Communication without words….

My baby might be too young for words, but this doesn’t mean she can’t communicate….Did you know that your baby can learn sign language even before she or he starts to speak?

Why sign with hearing babies and children?  Babies cannot speak at 6 months of age – hearing or deaf – but they can communicate using an actual language if it’s made accessible through sign.

“Some research suggests that baby sign language might give a typically developing child a way to communicate several months earlier than those who only use vocal communication. This might help ease frustration between ages 8 months and 2 years — when children begin to know what they want, need and feel but don't necessarily have the verbal skills to express themselves”.

The positive benefits:

·      Bonding: Signing together can promote family bonding and clarify communication while enhancing motivation to speak, increasing IQ, improving vocabulary and literacy skills, decreasing frustration, refining motor coordination and boosting self-esteem.

·      Bilingual learning: Sign language offers exposure to a real language and another culture, while setting the foundation for later 2nd spoken language learning.  For bilingual families, incorporating signs right away with both languages can help baby understand each one more completely, and begin to communicate much sooner.

·      Robust Vocabulary: Research suggests that “the more a baby used gestures at 14 months, the bigger his spoken vocabulary was at 36 months”

Where to start your learning?

Check out a Sawyer partner, Baby Fingers with classes all over Manhattan and in Queens.

The goal at Baby Fingers is to foster the parent-child bond through music and language. Singing and signing together can be truly successful in achieving that goal – and if expressive language (in signs or speech) develops as a result, the reciprocal interaction is that much richer.

Sawyer co-authored this post with Lora Heller, Founder of Baby Sign Language

Lora’s Bio: Lora Heller, MS, MT-BC, LCAT developed Baby Fingers after her son Zeke began to sign at 6 1/2 months old! She is a music therapist and teacher of the Deaf, the author of multiple books and founded Baby Fingers because she felt strongly about the benefits of ASL in early language acquisition and development.  Lora has also written for music therapy professional publications and national parenting magazines. You can find Baby Fingers “signature sign & song” classes in a variety of locations throughout New York City.  

Already know how to sign? Check out other great sensory development classes here