What is Sign Language? Learning to Talk with the Baby

    What is Sign Language

    What is sign language and how to use it talking with the baby while she doesn’t say a word yet?

    Child development researches are dedicated to the broad topic of baby sign language. There are many books about it, and this topic is becoming more demanded, available and understandable.

    Every mother wonders:

    • How can I understand my baby when she does not yet understand the language and does not speak?

    • How can we avoid hysterics and achieve obedience?

    • How can I bring up my baby a cheerful person?

    Baby Sign Language is the answer. The results are wonderful!

    So, what is sign language? A sign language is the language that uses verbal and body language to convey meaning. This can be done by drawing shapes with a hand, by the body, arms or hands movement and orientation, as well as facial expressions to convey a speaker’s thoughts.

    The sign language was originally the speech of the deaf and/or dumb people and those who needed to communicate with them. They communicated Please note that it is speech – not verbal speech, but speech. It is NOT to be confused with body language which is the way the body subconsciously moves to show attitude and thoughts. Body language is thought to be about 90% of personal communication in face-to-face meeting.

    Sign language replaces verbal speech. It also takes place at the same time as body language. And – like verbal speech – each country has its own sign language! Indeed American Sign Language and French Sign Language are closer than British Sign Language and American Sign Language.

    In some Baby Development Editions there are both American and British Sign Languages. And some parents even create a few of their own signs. The intention is not for infants to learn a language with which to talk to other people worldwide. The intention is for parents and infants to be able to communicate better until verbal speech is possible.

    There are three main advantages of learning baby sign language:

    1. You develop your baby intellectually and emotionally.
    2. Lessons are short and effective.
    3. Learning is exciting and interesting.

    Any experienced mother would say, “Bah, nonsense! I understand my child, we use lots of gestures to communicate, why teach them? “But if we abstract from our high experience in the education of the children, the method of communication with the child by means of gestures may not seem just a waste of time.

    If you remember what you do with your child during a day, you will surely find many situations when you communicate with your baby using gestures. And such communication seems normal and natural for you. For example, you raise your their hands, saying, “How big you are? You are soooo biiiig! “Or wave to Daddy:” Bye-bye! ” when he leaves for the work in the morning, or ask,” Where is your food? Where is mommy? Where are your eyes? ” and point to the plate, to Mother, to the eyes.

    You clap when you are happy and glad and do not expect that the baby will immediately start talking. But you know that he will try to repeat your movements. The baby himself will raise his hand or wave to Dad, will clap to a rhyme rhythm, or point to an apple, and then a big smile on the mother’s face or of another person the child is well familiar with, fills their beings with a great sense of joy. Such joy the child wants to live more and more. A baby learns to communicate namely in this way.

    You should understand that this system does not slow down the speech development, it does not interfere with the parallel development of the “real” words. It extends opportunities not only for the parents but also for all close people who you entrust your child to. Grandmothers will be pleasantly shocked when the child “such a silly and blunt” will be able to express his specific desires in 6-8 months already. He will show what game and how he wants to play and that he wants to sleep or eat. He will “tell” with gestures that he saw something that has impressed him greatly.

    Baby Sign Language is taught to many hearing babies with hearing parents worldwide today. The idea behind it is to facilitate communication as early as possible. It is indicated in the research done by Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwin that after three years of using baby sign language, in many different tests of language development the Baby Signers did better than Baby non-Signers. And furthermore at the end of the second grade in school, the Baby Sign graduates were still outperforming their peers in a standard IQ test called the WISC-III.

    Sign Language

    Babies have emotions before they can express them. A baby may not be able to perform baby signs at 3 months old (although there exists research to suggest that it is possible at this age!), baby signs can be absorbed passively from birth, just like any other language. The official age at which babies are said to be able to perform signs is when they can wave bye-bye or indicate yes or no with their heads. However, they have been seeing those signs for months before they perform them.

    Baby sign language allows the baby to initiate the topic of conversation. For example, the child may sign a cookie – or all done – meaning she wants more or simply informing the parents that she has finished. This in turn stimulates the parent to continue the conversation:

    Would you like something else? How about a banana? It is full of good things and is very sweet and tasty, etc.

    You can create your own words for your baby to use. But be sure that they are physically easy to do.

    The infants learn the sign language in the same way they learn any other language – by repetition and by getting positive feedback from their parents. Older children in the family can join in this process and learn the signs for words. You can also teach by sticking the sings on the walls and the fridge.

    Listen to the baby’s sounds

    In general, baby is trying to communicate with you from the beginning. Baby makes sounds and the mother is delighted and sure that the baby is trying to communicate. However, mother or father are too often discouraged from their healthy instincts and observations by condescending relatives or neighbors who tell them this is just gas! The parent feels silly and stops listening to the baby. What a tragedy! Baby is desperate to communicate. Baby needs feedback.

    Immature breathing systems prevent the baby from speaking clearly at the age of one month while she is trying to say things. So, she doesn’t say words of the language, but nonsense sounds. It doesn’t matter; listen and give feedback. Baby is probably too young to have the motor control to be able to use sign language until 6 months old, yet has been trying to communicate for most of those 6 months beforehand. So, listen to the baby! You must understand this. This simple fact can change the baby’s life!

    You must:

    1.  Listen to baby. Do this while looking at him.
    2.  Talk back to the baby.
    3.  Wait for the response from baby. But it’s baby’s choice if to respond. Not ot expect response.
    4.  Try to find the meaning in the sounds baby is making.
    5.  Answer in actual language, not nonsense sounds.

    Baby signs encourage parents to talk more to their children. And the oftener infants hear the language, the quicker they learn to speak.


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