What is Baby Sign Language?
Baby Sign Language, for us, is simply American Sign Language (ASL) used in the most basic way to communicate with your baby. Utilized in conjunction with spoken language each time you converse with your baby, ASL enhances your communication and helps develop important language skills.
Will my baby’s speech be delayed because of signing?
This is the #1 question we get about our program. “Won’t signing delay my child’s speech because he will be focused on signing instead of talking?” Well, over 35 years of research “speaks” to that with an emphatic NO. In fact it shows the exact opposite is true. Just as children learn to crawl before they can walk, signing becomes a natural transition to speaking. Babies have the ability to use sign language (by utilizing their motor skills) before they have the skills to speak. Additionally, as they mature and develop these skills they will be able to express more complex thoughts and ideas.
Why should my hearing baby learn sign language?
In addition to understanding the concept of language earlier, and being able to speak sooner, there are many other benefits to you and your hearing baby learning sign language. Children who sign are less frustrated because they are able to communicate their wants needs and desires to their parents. This leads to you as a parent being less frustrated because you understand your child’s wants, needs and desires. Babies who sign also develop a closer bond with their parents, because without the frustration, there are more positive interactions between them. Additionally, babies develop a higher level of trust. They know their parents understand them and consequently, are happier and more confident.
Why American Sign Language (ASL)?
American Sign Language is a rich and well known language. Babies approximately six months old have the cognitive skills as well as the motor skills to use sign language. It also offers your baby a systematic way to understand language in a form they can respond to. By utilizing a real language, you are providing your child with the ability to communicate with anyone who understands ASL, which happens to be the third most spoken language in the U.S.
At what age should my baby start learning to sign?
By the age of six to seven months old babies have the cognitive ability as well as the motor skills to be able to form and understand signing. Much research has been done over the last 35 years or so with hearing babies between the ages of 6 months – 2 years (or known as pre-verbal). They were studied by many different experts who have written many books and published several studies showing the positive effects of using ASL.
When should I expect to see my child signing back to me?
As with learning any new skill, this will depend upon your child, his age, your consistency in using signs, etc. Once your baby understands and internalizes the meaning of what you are trying to teach him, he will get it and never look back!
How are Baby Sign-A-Long classes taught?
Our program consists of Three Major Components. 1. ASL- we teach the signs for you to use every day in everyday situations, with all of the benefits that ASL brings. 2. Literacy- as former educators, we realize the important role of literacy in a child’s development. That is why we have made our program literacy-based. We have included books into every class as well as techniques to help you make reading to your child an inviting and natural, positive experience. 3. Parenting Tips - it’s hectic enough being a mom of young children and trying to keep it all together. Whether it is trying to get dressed in the morning, going to bed at night, or just trying to get the car-seat buckled, there is constantly a challenge awaiting us. We introduce some helpful tips in each class that will turn those challenges into positive experiences.
We have organized our classes to be a “typical day in your baby’s life,” from waking up, to getting dressed, to meal time, to going out, to bedtime, and everything in between. This approach will help make signing a natural part of your everyday routines. We learn through signing, singing, dancing, reading, and playing games. We have group time, center time, and individual time, plus a “Parent Reality Check” where you share your experiences from week to week, and by doing so, help each other, and create supportive relationships in the process.