The use of American Sign Language with pre-verbal hearing children (children who are not deaf, but who have not yet started talking) is referred to as baby sign language, signing with babies, and a number of other names. This practice uses selected words to help bridge baby’s communication needs until he or she develops the physical ability to talk.
Long before he can create actual words on his own, a baby is working hard to make himself understood. Giving a baby the ability to communicate opens up the world to him in many ways. First and foremost, this precious child can let you know what he wants or needs. You can understand, and meet the need.
Shortcutting the guessing games sparked by pointing, grunting, whining, and eventually crying and screaming, means less stress on baby and mom, dad, grandparents and caretakers. Reducing the level of frustration of baby and mom is one of the most obvious, and most immediate benefits of signing with babies.
Teaching your little one to sign ‘eat’ means you can focus on feeding a hungry child instead of checking his diaper, wondering if he’s got gas, wants a toy, or hopes you’ll sing his favorite song. Teaching your baby signs means that the ‘terrible twos’ can be much less terrible.
That alone will send most of us clamoring for the best teaching methods to get our baby chatting with his hands. Better yet, it turns out that this convenient skill has many other benefits.
American Sign Language, or ASL, is the language of the deaf used in the U.S. It is a true language used by over a million people.