From all the studies conducted in this field the benefits of introducing your baby to sign language are vast.
Baby sign language:
Can empower your baby to communicate with those around them before they are able to speak
This means that your baby may be able to communicate what they want when they want it. It may also enable them to initiate a conversation about topics that interest them. Furthermore, it bridges the gap between no language and spoken language.
Can reduce frustration for both you and your baby
Sign language may allow your baby to tell you what they want, what’s wrong or what hurts. Therefore your baby may experience less frustration, tantrums and crying. If your baby is able to communicate their basic needs to you, it means you do not have to try and interpret their cries. Sign language can help reduce those tear-filled frustrated moments.
Can enrich the parent-child relationship
By introducing baby sign language into your home, you are enhancing the bond with your baby. The nature of baby sign communication leads you and your baby towards responding to each other in turn and this is a really valuable skill. Signing involves daily interactions with your baby that will eventually lead to a two-way conversation.
Can provide an insight into your baby’s mind and who they really are
Baby sign language allows your baby to initiate a conversation with you about what they are interested in. It allows you to see what they are thinking, what they are interested in and what the world looks like from their view. All this before your baby can talk!
Can stimulate intellectual development and improve memory
Children are fascinated with sign language and often pay greater attention to what is being taught when it is involved. It has also been shown that when children learn a word in conjunction with the sign, they are more likely to remember the meaning of the word.
Can accelerate the speech process
Some research has shown that children who use sign language may acquire spoken language faster than non-signing children.
Can enhance a baby’s confidence, self-esteem and self-expression
Due to a baby’s ability to communicate their needs, wants and interests through signing, a baby may become more confident.
Can stimulate brain development and potentially increase your baby’s I.Q.
Teaching sign language can stimulate your baby’s brain development. Signing can stimulate brain development as, when learning sign language, you use both the right and left hemisphere of the brain compared to learning a spoken language, which only uses the brain’s left hemisphere. This use of both hemispheres results in the brain building more synapses (a structure that permits a neuron or nerve cell to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another cell, neural or otherwise).
Children who keep up sign language are effectively bilingual
By introducing your baby to signs, you are introducing your baby to a second language. Brain research suggests that language skills are acquired best in the first years of a baby’s life. Also, by introducing SASL (South African Sign Language) to your baby and continuing to use this wonderful language after they can speak, you are giving your child the gift to communicate with the South African deaf and hard of hearing community through sign language.
For more information:
For more information see Baby sign language or Parenting.