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5 Most Frequently Asked Questions!

Q1. Why should I sign with my hearing child when he is already developing normally?
A. Signing with your pre-verbal baby can:

•Enrich your parent - infant bond.
•Accelerate verbal language development
•Increase his IQ.
•Increase her interest in books.
•Change the way you interact with him.
•Avert temper tantrums.
•Empower him to communicate at a younger age (8-9 months old), expressing his wants, needs, and feelings.
•Stimulate intellectual development.
•Reduce frustration.
•Build self-esteem.

Q2.  When should I start signing with my baby?
A. Drs. Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn, researchers in the field, suggest you can start modeling signs from birth.  After 6 months, however, babies are more likely to possess the ability to remember signs and the motor skills to produce them.  You can consider the indicators of readiness below to determine whether your baby is showing interest in communicating.  An answer of "Yes" to any one of them means that this is a good time to sign with your pre-lingual baby or toddler.  Once your baby has started talking, I would recommend you continue to sign with him (this is still no too late to start, either) and introduce new signs since it will be at least another year before he can clearly pronounce all the words he'd like to say.  Once he sees that you understand his spoken word, he will begin to drop his signs, one at a time.

        •Is your baby at least 6 months old?
        •Is your baby bringing toys or objects to you and looking for a response?
        •Is your baby beginning to wave bye-bye or clap hands?
        •Is your baby beginning to shake his head "yes" or "no"?
        •Is your baby beginning to take an interest in picture books or in finger plays (i.e., itsy bitsy spider or "so big")?
        •Is your baby frustrated when you don't understand what he needs?
        •Are there still important things your baby doesn't have words for?  It probably isn't too late (see Question 6).

Q3. How long will it be before my baby signs to me?
A. It depends, but if you begin signing when your child is 6-7 months old it is quite possible that by the time your child reaches 8-9 months he/she may be signing back to you. Many children do not start signing back until they are closer to 11 or 12 months old.  Typically, they will start with the signs and gestures that involve facial expression (blowing, panting), then whole arm signs & gestures (i.e., bye bye, clapping), then hand signs (i.e., hat, milk) and finally signs involving various hand shapes and more dexterity (i.e., cat, pointing) Once they have seem these signs modeled enough to internalize the meanings of them and have developed the cognitive and motor skills necessary to sign, they will communicate to you.  This process is similar to how a child learns speech.

Q4. Does using sign language with babies interrupt or delay their speech development?
A. Actually, research states the opposite is true. Using American Sign Language with your child can accelerate their speech development.  Since they are already using language in their heads and putting signed words together to communicate things, once their articulators are able to form the sounds, they quickly add speech to their signs.  Gradually, the drop the signs and only use the spoken word.  There has been no indication of a resulting speech delay. Click here for supporting documentation resulting from 20 years of research by Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn.  

Q5. Do I have to learn an entire new language?
A. The intention of using baby sign language is not to teach you or your child a second language, but to facilitate earlier communication.  You will be supporting spoken English by modeling signs for key words.  Your child will then sign those key words which will become launching pads for language exposure.  

     Baby Signs “pull” verbal language from adults

When babies use Baby Signs to call attention to things, adults quite naturally respond with lots of appropriate words (e.g., “Oh! You see a kitty! That’s right! That is a kitty! That kitty looks just like our kitty, doesn’t it!”). And we know that the more language a baby hears, the faster language acquisition proceeds.

Acredolo, L. and Goodwyn, S. Baby Signs: How to Talk with Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk.
  New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 2002 

Q6. When is it too late?  My baby already says some words.

Babies are usually close to three years old before they get wonderfully full vocabularies. Up until then, you can teach them signs to be able to communicate about the things they cannot pronounce yet. It may take awhile for them to say crocodile or hippopotamus but your child may like to be able to sign to you while you are reading a book to him/her and let you know that she knows what the picture is! So, even though your child may be pronouncing some words, it is not too late to begin signing with your child. They will likely pick up the signs for the words they cannot say.  In fact, the older the child, the faster they will learn to sign back to you!


My Baby Can Sign!  bumper sticker          
One sticker is included with your kit.                            
.99 cents 


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