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Thread: Sign Language with babies

  1. #1

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    Question Sign Language with babies

    I had my baby shower on Saturday and a friend had her 15mo daughter with her (so gorgeous!!! ). I was absolutely amazed at the skill her DD had when it came to signing. She was signing about 10 different things. And I was really impressed, her DD was so content, not fussing or anything, and I think it had a lot to do with the fact that everyone knew what she wanted when she signed for it. Like food or drink or more etc.

    I had always heard about signing in babies, but never really thought it worked IYKWIM. I don't know why but I was always skeptical. Now I've seen it in action, I am amazed.



    My friend said she started as soon as her bub started intentional waving.

    Shel and I were so impressed, we're thinking of doing this too. Just wondering what everyone thinks of this. Does anyone here use it? What are some tips?

  2. #2

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    We started doing it with DD but she started talking before she worked out the signing I thought it was a really good idea and will probably start it with #2 as well although if they are anything like DD it will be redundant quickly.

    I know of people who have found it to be really useful with kids who are later talkers though as it helps them express what they want and often results in fewer tantrums.

  3. #3

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    I too am just looking in to this!!! Kane has hearing problems, that are getting worse each time its tested

    So his speech is very delayed, he is 1 next month and only says "mamma', with NO babbling as he cant hear the sounds, so cant form them in his mouth.

    Dont really know how to start though, or if he will understand, I need a crash course!!

  4. #4

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    Jodie, there is a program... my friend borrowed it from her local library... I'll find out what it is. It was a DVD, and thats all she needed to get started

    ETA: The DVD she borrowed was called TinyTalk: baby sign language. Google them

  5. #5

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    Yep we are doing Tiny Talk - it comes with a DVD, a book, some charts, some flash cards, etc. So far I'm signing, eat/food, boobie, drink, more, wash, sister, mummy & daddy but we haven't had any signs back yet (DD is 9 mths old). I"m doing it because my 1st DD had a slight speech delay, and OMG the tantrums we had because she's quite bright and could understand everything but couldn't make herself understood. So we figured that we'd nip it in the bud with DD2.

    Can't wait for the first sign back!!!

  6. #6

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    oohh sounds great... def off to google it!!!

  7. #7

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    I think it is a great idea and wish I had started sooner! Friends of mine have been doing it since around 6 mths and he knows a few things but is still learning (he is nearly 12 mths) Iz has just recently started doing these hand signals for everything, it means "give me water" "pick me up" "get me off my bike" "I dropped it and don't know where it is" etc!! It is really cute and great because it is another way she can communicate with us and her language skills are a bit behind for her age! Good luck with it - I might have to go check out our local library!

  8. #8

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    Hi Ladies, I'm very interested in this topic as I've put myself through a few sign language classes - just something I've always been interested in. I mentioned to someone in the class that I would love to teach my baby to sign (currently ttc #1) and was told that she'd heard this can itself lead to delayed speech. I would love to hear what the experiences have been like first hand and not through what someone has just "heard".

  9. #9

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    Studies show that signing alongside talking (you *always* say the word when giving the sign) actually helps with language acquisition (hence the use of makaton to assist with language development with those kids with severe delays). There is a bilingual signing-English preschool in Adelaide that is well attended by both deaf and hearing kids. My auntie taught there for a while - and the signing is considered a tool for further language development and not the other way round.

  10. #10

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    Thanks Marydean. Now, see that, to me, makes sense. I have worked with autistic children where signing became a very important means of communication and along with signing we would always encourage speech which we eventually were able to get out of some. I feel that the speech would have been far more delayed had signing not opened them being able to communicate in the first instance.

  11. #11

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    signing is fantastic! I am definitely a supporter of teaching baby signing.....it is rather cute too as both my girls have put their own spin on the signs I agree that it actually enhances the vocab when you teach by signing and saying the word together. Its also been very useful when encouraging DD#1 to remember her manners.....mummy or daddy subtly signs "thankyou" and DD#1 pipes up, 'thank you!' hehe And for us, we have always taught "please and thank you" not 'ta' and DD naturally went from signing these words to saying them correctly......rather amusing when family asked for something or gave her something and said to her, "ta" and she'd look at them wondering what they meant! Teehee! - so again, I agree it boosts their vocab

  12. #12

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    My friend started doing this when her bub was quite young (eg. "all done" at the end of a meal, "more", etc). By the time she was 18 months, she knew 75 words!!!! (either spoken or signed - not 75 signs). Anyway, it has definitely inspired me to do likewise with DS. We have started with "all done" after a meal, but I'm planning to introduce others when he's about 8 months.

  13. #13
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    I signed with DD from about 6 months onwards. By 15 months she had about 40 (spoken) words. At 26 months she has around 300, learns about 4 a day and speaks in up-to 9 word sentences. It does NOT delay speech!

    We did "no" "yes" "hungry" "drink" "more" "mum" "dad" and various things like "teddy" "doll" "baby" "apple" "orange" came later. I used makaton, as i felt it'd have the widest application (she can communicate with deaf kids because makaton is based on BSL and speech-delayed kids because their carers/teachers tend to use makaton now) and we still learn songs with the makaton actions on occasion.

    Since about 18 months she hardly uses the signs, but sometimes when she's very ill or tired she'll come and sign to me "ill mama. hug." Breaks my heart when i know she's too tired or ill to talk, but SO great she can still get her needs met

    Bx

  14. #14

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    That does sound gorgeous hoobley. Aaaaah I cannot wait to have my own little bubba communicate "muma" and "hug" to me in any way possible!

  15. #15

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    I signed with DS from birth. He looks at my hands for certain words or songs, but won't make them himself. I tried to follow his signs for things too, but he gave them all up when he saw me imitating them. He is really contrary! But he's still a right chatterbox and uses pointing to get what he wants now - especially as he's stopped using words and everything is "goidy goidy goit" right now. He'll use English and German words quite happily and understands both languages (or rather, understands English and simple commands and phrases in German because I'm not fluent in that language). He also understands some French, but doesn't use that language himself yet.

    My sister is a speech therapist and cannot tell of one instance where signing delays speech - when speech is delayed, signing encourages the children to try to talk. It is because children realise that "when I say/do this then mummy understands me" and therefore makes the child want to communicate more and in as many ways as possible - look at toddlers, they want to walk as many ways as possible (DS will try to swim in his bath, crawl, wriggle on the ground, walk, cruise, walk backwards and sideways, run...), and the same with communicating. If you can say "cat" and mummy knows you've seen a cat, what about signing "cat" or saying "Katze" - will mummy still understand? Yes! OK, how about calling it a "goidy goidy goit"? OK, that one doesn't work, but worth a try as it is a great sound to make.

  16. #16

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    We started at about 6 months and had the sign for *finished* given back to us at about 7 months. He knows the signs for drink, boobie, food, gone (really important at one ), biscuit etc but he chooses not to use them (except gone). His verbal language skills have just expanded exponentially in the past few weeks which has been amazing. He is a pointer too and it is driving me mad because I know he knows what the signs are and we would all be a little less frustrated if what he wanted was clearer It has been fun teaching the little person - and DH as well

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