Posted by: myautisticmuslimchild | May 24, 2011
What’s Baby Sign Language Exactly?
I wanted to welcome a guest blogger Mey Lau who is a fellow blogger, and passionate advocate of autism research. She is part of the team who is responsible of a creation and development of www.babysignlanguage.com.
Hope you all benefit from her post below.
I remember it so clearly. Being a new mom. Being so very clueless, and too tired to be scared. I remember that one day I had never heard of baby sign language, and a week later, I saw it everywhere I turned. People were asking me if I was teaching my baby to sign. I saw signing moms at the grocery store. Signing moms in the pediatrician’s waiting room. I imagine that other mothers go through similar experiences. Once you are in that new mom social circle, baby sign is everywhere.
And yes, I dove headfirst into sign. It just seemed like one more good thing I could do for my baby, along with nursing and organic vegetables and kisses. We started with the sign for milk and soon added the signs for more, eat, and hurt. My daughter was a signing genius long before she ever uttered a word.
Sign language is so beneficial in so many ways. Of course it’s cute and fun, but it also builds confidence in a child. It also helps a child learn to speak sooner, with more skill, with a stronger vocabulary. It helps a child learn social skills, like making eye contact, and using facial expressions to communicate. One study even suggested that babies who sign grow into stronger readers than babies who don’t learn to sign.
And baby sign language has become incredibly popular with parents who are raising children with autism. Many parents and educators have found that signing helps children with autism attempt vocalizations, and in many cases, helps them with their speech development. Children love to move. They love to gesture. Signing gives them an outlet for this energy, a way to put this instinct to good use.
Signing can also add a level of safety to the family environment. Sometimes children who don’t dare to speak when in new situations around other people are still willing to sign to their parents. And a sign can be “heard” from across a room or across a road. A signing toddler who has just had a collision with something can tell you where it hurts with one simple gesture, even when they’re sobbing too hard to speak.
Now, if you’re thinking right now that you’re already maxed out on time and money, and that there’s no way you can add anything new to your routine, you’re right. If you’re raising a young child, you don’t have time to add anything new to your routine. But that’s one of the beautiful things about baby sign language. You don’t need time. You can teach your child to sign while you go about your daily routine. Just choose one word at a time, and every time you say the word, make the sign.
Parents don’t have to become signing experts before they can start to become signing teachers. We have a free online baby sign language dictionary, with video demonstrations. When you want to learn a word, just look it up. You’ll be surprised at how easy the signs are to remember. Unlike spoken language, signs are incredibly logical, e.g., the sign for down is pointing down – you’ll probably remember that!
You don’t have to go hog wild with sign in order to help your child. Any amount of signing is helpful. Just be patient, and give your child lots of time to learn just a few signs. He or she will likely understand a sign long before you see any indication of understanding, and long before you see a spontaneous sign coming back at you. But when you do see that sign, the joy is just so overwhelming, you can’t help but jump for it.
This article was provided by babysignlanguage.com a website featuring
language flash cards, and baby sign language wall chart 100% free.