Parent/Infant Sign Language
Psychologist Dr. Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon of the University of Stirling, UK, recently reviewed the research on baby signing. She writes, “Communication is at the heart of child development, be it cognitive, social, emotional or behavioral.” Parents say that signing is rewarding and aids bonding because of the need to make more eye-to-eye and tactile contact. From the parents’ point of view, baby signing could bring many advantages. It helps reduce the guesswork of understanding your infant’s thoughts, as well as allowing two-way conversations. Parents may develop a better understanding of the child’s personality. It also could save much time and frustration.
Baby signing experts believe that frustration and tantrums can be avoided by closing the gap between desire to communicate and the ability to do so. The ability to sign basic words could prove helpful in boosting communication and providing a “bridge to the spoken word.” It may also facilitate the acquisition of verbal and written forms of communication later on. Most baby signers speak earlier than babies who do not learn sign language.
Finally, teaching an infant baby sign language can be a fun process in itself. Infants enjoy learning and games, eagerly soaking up more and more signs. It creates playful interaction and a chance to glow with pride in your child’s abilities.
I have been a fluent signer for over 20 years and use American Sign Language in my daily life. I have taught numerous families and babies over the years and find great joy in watching these babies blossom.