Friday, January 23, 2009

RPF - Baby Signs!

Random Poll Friday is back! Today, the topic is using sign language with babies. One of the comments on my previous post about signing with babies talked about using sign language and possible speech delay. Sorry to call you out Tearese, but I'm curious about your observations. :o) You mentioned you observed that babies who used signs talked later. Do you mean later compared to Elora? Is it possible that Elora's speech development is just advanced for her age? I actually believe that using sign language with babies could enhance their speech development, since you not only show the sign, but say the word out loud along with it. I don't know very many people who used sign language with their babies, but the ones I do know don't seem to be delayed in their speech at all. So tell me more about it! All of you who have anything at all to say on the topic! :o)

ETA: If the poll doesn't show up, try refreshing your screen. It seems to be having some issues...


Sabrina said...

I need a button on your poll: "I wanted to but was just too lazy and/or always had the baby in one arm so the two-handed signs were just too difficult". Actually, my neighbor was a deaf-ed teacher so she signed A LOT with her son and he was right on schedule with the talking--actually a little advanced for his age.

Mimi said...

William: (4.5 years) he was speech delayed but we used ASL to bridge the gap (what a blessing). Bilingual.

Evelyn: (2.5 years) early talker, avid signer and it helped just as much. They even sign to each other. Bilingual.

Signing does not delay speech. William was speech delayed because he was bilingual and now he's pretty much fluent in both languages at almost 5 years. + 100+ signs in ASL

Which do you prefer? Speech delay for a little while or a perfect bilingual child for life???

I see ASL as the same. You're adding more communication. Who does it kill if you're child does not speak complete sentences at 2? The only thing it hurts is your pride. Are parents afraid people will think their kids are less smart if they are late talkers? It's not a competition of who has early / late talkers. ;)

btw, all ASL can be used with one hand but it gets more complicated. but honestly if you and your child understand each other, that's all that matters. (I am as ASL interpreter at church)

Kelley said...

I've never done it before, but I want to. A friend of mine visited today, and she's used sign language with most of her kids. Her youngest is 2 and he's the ONLY one that wasn't speaking well by his birthday. However, they communicate perfectly because he signs so well. It was pretty amazing to watch.

I wish I'd had sign language with Josh since his speech was so delayed. He didn't put two words together until 3 or use phrases he'd come up with on his own until almost 5. He started talking in phrases at 4, but they were mostly from books or movies. Honestly, I wish I'd had a better way to communicate with him sooner.

Alicia said...

I have been a signer for over 10 years now. In one of my sign language classes my teacher told us about a study that proved that signing with your babies and young children helps them learn to communicate sooner. It can also greatly eliminate tantrums and frustration as your child has the tools to communicate to you what they do and don't want. It also works great for talking to your kids in church. Children who are born deaf to deaf parents are actually able to "speak" much more fluently at an earlier age than hearing children to hearing parents, because babies develop large motor skills before fine, they can learn to move their hands much easier than learn to form the sounds for a language. So as you can tell I am strongly for using sign language with your children. Keep in mind that for it to be a benefit for your hearing children you must also speak the words when you sign them. Children who have delayed speech and sign were probably only taught the signs and did not hear the words at the same time.

Linda! said...

Love the poll!

FYI - Research by Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, shows that babies who sign learn to talk sooner and have larger vocabularies than their non-signing peers (control group). Children who signed as babies scored an average of 12 points higher on the WISC-III IQ test than their non-signing peers. To see the research, visit

Linda Easton
Director of Product Development
Baby Signs, Inc.

Canda said...

You know I never really thought about it with my first three. We are signing with Sofia though, and I hope it doesn't delay her more than she is. I think it is helping. I am impressed with what she does sign. You can kind of see her thinking about it before she does it which is neat to see that process. She has yet to do mama though, and boy now that Katia is saying mama, I really want a sign out of Sofia!

tearese said...

Maybe it was just the people I knew. I can think of three or four specific families that used sign with their younger kids, and they all seemed to talk really late. But they were all boys, and maybe they were going to talk late either. I know there have been studies that link it to speaking earlier, so I was just speaking from what I've seen, which of course can't be applied to everyone!

tearese said...

I meant "anyway" not either.

Bonita said...

I signed with all 3 of my children and they did not have delays! They were very advanced in speech and as shown in the NIH study- when they did start speaking, they started using sentences much faster! It is important to realize that some families sign with their children because the child is getting frustrated because he/she can not communicate, so it looks like the signing is causing the delay, when it is actually relieving the frustration that the speech delay has caused.
Signing will not make small motor skills develop faster (tounge, lips,..)but signing can give children a way to express themselves while the muscles develop. NO research has proven a delay...but several studies have shown the benefits! And if ou are concerned about delays...come hangout with my family for a may wish it had caused a delay!