Is anyone out there teaching their LO ASL?
Or do you want to teach your LO to sign and don't know where to start? Just ask us and join in!
So confused on where to start?
Some really great basic signs to start with are:
If you have a family pet, you could do the sign for that animal or the first letter of their name.
Confused on when to start:
Now! Your baby is a sponge and you can jump in any time!
Fun things to pass the time:
Finger spell the alphabet while singing
Finger spell your baby's name
Research on baby sign language has found that teaching baby signs improved cognitive and emotional development. Far from slowing down speech, baby sign language actually increases the rate of verbal development and at the same time increases the parent/child bond.
The most significant research was an NIH funded study comparing two groups of 11 month old babies. One group was taught baby sign language. The second group was given verbal training. Surprisingly, the signing group were more advanced talkers than the group given verbal training. The lead of the signing group continued to grow, with the signers exhibiting verbal skills 3 months ahead of the non-signers at 2 years old. Their lead seemed to shrink a little after two years old, but even at three years old the signers were still ahead1.
The authors of the NIH study, followed up with the children at 8 years old. Surprisingly, there was still a difference. Signers showed IQs 12 points higher than the non-signers, even though they had long since stopped signing. This put the signers in the top-25% of eight year old, compared to the non-signers who were close to average2.
Q: How does Baby Sign Language affect speech development?
A: It accelerates speech development.
Professor Linda Acredolo (U.C. Davis), and Professor Susan Goodwyn (C.S.U.) have received a series of NIH grants over the last twenty years to research baby sign language. Their research shows that signing babies have larger vocabularies and improved cognitive development. Baby Sign Language seems to help bridge the gap to speaking for infants. It also seems to get them more interested in learning.
In fact, if a baby has trouble speaking, most speech pathologists will teach the baby to sign as a bridge to speaking. The reason is that talking can be very hard and frustrating for babies. They try to form words but they dont quite come out right. For example, instead of ball the child might approximate by saying ba. When the words arent recognized by the parents babies can get frustrated and give up. When the baby does the accompanying sign, parents recognize and reward the approximate pronunciation. Over time as the babies speech gets better, they drop signing because it is too slow much like a walking toddler stops crawling.