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Baby Signing

June 13, 2009

I am exploring the idea of baby-signing. I always thought it was something I wanted to do. Anything to help me communicate with my baby is good in my mind. I had heard/read that you should start signing around 6 months of age. So with Penny being 5 months old, I thought I’d better look into it now.

I signed out Baby Signs: How to Talk with Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk by Linda Acredolo, Ph.D., and Susan Goodwyn, Ph.D from the library (amongst others). From it, I am finding out that alot of babies create their own signs naturally, so the progression to baby signing is natural. Babies will build a bigger vocabulary than non-signing babies, will speak sooner and more articulately. Plus they will be happier babies. I know, I know. This doesn’t apply to EVERY baby who signs. But those are good enough reasons for me to consider it.

Can you imagine not being able to tell someone when something is wrong? You can’t talk, you can’t write it down, you can’t even say yes or no for them to play 20 questions with you to try and figure it out. You simply have no way of communicating. That’s what babies face. I know babies have been unable to “verbally” communicate for thousands of years, and we still managed fine. But that’s the point of progress and learning new things.

I want to be able to fix Penny’s problems, to make her happy, before being unhappy becomes an issue. I also met a little 2 year old last week who I could understand perfectly. No baby talk. Her mom said it was because they used full words with her and didn’t mince anything down to the baby-talk level. Personally (I know I’m biased) I think Penny is smart enough to be able to talk properly at 2 years old too. I want to give Penny every opportunity to be articulate and communicative. I will read the 3 books I signed out. I will see if they give me enough knowledge to teach her myself. If not, I might look into a class. But I think we’re going to try this baby-signing stuff.

What do you think about baby signing? Is it a valuable tool in communication or is it a load of hogwash? Did you sign with your children, and if so did you stick to ASL signs or mix them with non-traditional signs?

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