Monday, December 13, 2010

Sign Language: A great way to start your baby on a fantastic path

First of all I must apologise for my 5 day hiatus as i was in hospital giving birth to my new daughter Anneliese. Which is why I have not been posting as frequently as I would like. I could not log into the Wi-Fi network.

But on to today's topic of Sign Language and why it such a great tool for early learning and one (in my humble opinion) is the most rewarding.

I started signing with my darling Daughter no 1 when she was approximately 4months old (they say to start at 6 months when you introduce solids but I introduced solids at 4 months) She was approximately 9 months when she signed 'milk' back. Why did I decided to do this? Mainly because I had seen an article on the benefits of early communication with your baby and I decided to do further research into the benfits and of course I was concerned that it would cause speech delay as the child would have no need to speak to you as they would only 'sign' what they would need.

As I looked into the research I realised the benefits far outwieghed any of the negatives. Most children who are taught 'sign language' as babies go on to have very large vocabularies. (I know my daughter does). I also loved the fact that I could identify what she needed as she could communicate with me.

 Once Sophia had realised that I had responded to her first sign at nine months her signing just exploded as well as her vocabulary. By the time she was one she was already saying 10 words on a regular basis hi, bye, mum, dad, cat, dog, cow, milk, cheese and eat.

By the time she was 18 months her vocabulary was well over 50 words (even my Doctor noticed) and her signing was well past 100 words. In that time I had decided to change form teaching my daughter AUSLAN which is Australia's official sign language to ASL (American Sign Langauge) as the resources to teach sign language were better. I was very disappointed not to teach AUSLAN but the DVD programme I use from the states 'signing time' which is very well put together and is fun for me to watch as well. The other thing about ASL is that it is a one handed sign language. Which means most if the signs can be signed by one hand which is great when you  have a baby on your hip and only one hand free. AUSLAN is a two handed sign language based on the British system of sign language. and can be hard at times to use when you are using it with a baby as for above reasons.

My little girl loves signing and uses sign on a regular basis even though she is now two. It has also helped her develop her fine motor skills and is now (to my surprise) starting to write some letters and is very excited when this happens.

I will continue to post more about signing as my daughter no 1 develops more and daughter no 2 starts to use it.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post please find below a link to a study that was conducted on children who were taught sign language vs. children who didn't learn sign language for you to read.



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  2. We love Signing Time, too! I totally agree about the one-handed signs. I learned AUSLAN (just the alphabets) when I was in Primary School because we had a boy who was deaf-mute in our school and would have preferred to continue that but, like you said, all the resources support ASL and the one-handed part is also a real plus.

    We also sing along to Signing Time in the car for music which both my boys love.

    My older boy stopped signing after he could speak but I started signing with him again after I read in Brain Rules for Baby that Signing has lots of other benefits aside from early communication.

  3. I also learnt AUSLAN when I was in primary school as well because we had a deaf girl in our class. A one handed sign language is much better to use which is a bit disappointing about AUSLAN.

    I to have just finished reading Brain Rules for BAby and I thought it was fabulous book and one I will keep referring to over the next coming years. I still sign with my older daughter but she loves to sign and I think it has done wonders for hand development and fine motor skills.

    Thanks for your comment it is so nice to see other Aussie's teaching their kids.