Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is learning to sign beneficial for babies?

Often parents may worry that using baby sign language with their children may "make them too lazy to speak if you give them the sign language option".

I truly believe signing with young children increases vocabulary and parent/child bonding.  It in no way slows down speech development (my college students comb through journal articles on this very topic every summer). If a baby is in a hearing and speaking world, they are going to want to communicate in the long run in the fastest and most effective way for them to communicate.

To simplify it, language happens in the brain, speech happens at the mouth, sign happens at the hands.  The motor skills needed for signing develop earlier than the motor skills needed for speech.  Sign allows children to learn, use and play with language.  When speech skills catch up they already know the words (the language) because they've been hearing, seeing and signing them.
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