Baby sign language is a tool of communication that you can give to your pre-verbal baby. Babies begin to gesture at a fairly early age; putting their hands in the air to be picked up, pointing at things they want etc. They quickly learn that these movements will elicit a reaction from his/her parents.
Taking that natural gesturing to the next level, parents have started to teach their children specific signs that they can use to communicate their needs.
Most people use signs taken from a real sign language such as ASL in North America. By using ASL signs with babies you are not teaching them the actual language, you are simply using the exact sign for the exact English word.
I enjoy hearing stories about how signing has positively impacted a family and how they are able to communicate with their young children. The best complements are when I see signing families in the community and they share how using baby sign language impacted their family is a positive way.
However, there some parents express concern that using ASL signs with their children may delay natural speech and language. The short answer is no! I think the confusion is due to the fact there is often confusion between speech and language. Here is a great link explaining the difference:
http://www.playingwithwords365.com/2012/01/what-is-the-difference-between-speech-and-language/ (this blogger is a Speech and Language Pathologist).
When a child is using baby sign language (ASL signs) they are using language, and bridging the gap to meaningful communication! How wonderful is is that a non-verbal baby or a late talking toddler is able to use a true language to communicate their needs and have a sense of empowerment over their environment?
The Mayo Clinic promotes the use of Baby Sign Language stating, “Baby sign language — when babies use modified gestures from American Sign Language — can be an effective communication tool. Teaching and practicing baby sign language also can be fun and give you and your child an opportunity to bond.”
To read full article:
Our classes are also language rich as teach baby sign language through music, signing, movement, sensory activities. we encourage parents to constantly talk with their children while using baby sign language to support and encourage verbal English.
Please feel free to ask me any questions!