Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why wait to communicate?

Ever Play the "Scream and Guess" Game with your baby, toddler, or preschooler?
I'll scream until I get tired or you figure it out! It's great for building bonds and nurturing communication. I can play this one ALL DAY LONG!
You're not a bad parent! You just don't know what's on your child's mind! You can't know that ... or can you?

Sign language encourages early reading!

It is never too early to start signing with your little one! Some babies can learn to sign as young as 3 months old, or less! In our classes, you can learn to identify your baby's early signs. Is he signing Mama? At 2 months old? Did my 5 month old just sign a 2 word sentence? If you are consistent, you might just see some early indications of signing and advanced cognitive skills!

Many tantrums and the "Terrible Twos" are directly linked to frustration about communication. There is less frustration when your child can augment their communication skills with signs that both of you can understand.

I want more. Is that an airplane? Let me tell you what I want ... Can I play with the ball, Daddy? - see my apple. I can "talk" with my hands! Look Mommy, HAT! CAT! DOG! (I'm only 6 mos. old) I won't be talking out loud for several more months, but we can already communicate using the Wee Hands method of Baby Signing.This also helps in communicating to your child with special needs

If your little one is not signing yet, consider these suggestions

Also try some signs to start with.
And don't forget your ABC's!
Also try a cute little ASL chant.

Long before your baby can speak, he has the ability to understand speech and wants to communicate.

Our classes teach parents how to use American Sign Language with their babies, no made up signs here! We also have a strong focus on language development and provide parents with activities that help them teach their babies ASL vocabulary and include language development strategies.

Since 2001, WeeHands™ has taught over 5000 families, child care staff, teachers and other caregivers how to sign with their infants and toddlers. Our classes and workshops teach you how to use American Sign Language vocabulary with your wee one throughout the day. We teach you ASL signs, songs and motivating language strategies you need to teach your wee one!

# The benefits of teaching sign language to a preverbal baby: Creates a new awareness of a preverbal baby's potential
# Strengthens the parent-infant bond
# Reduces frustration for babies and caregivers
# Stimulates intellectual development
# Enhances infant self-esteem
# Accelerates verbal language development
# Provides a window into baby's world

The benefits of teaching sign language to a verbal child-
# Sign language can be used to improve hearing children's: English vocabulary
# Reading ability
# Spelling proficiency
# Self-esteem and self-confidence
# Comfort with expressing emotion
# Increased interest in books and literacy skills

Sign language helps all children become better readers. Sign is a visual language. As children are learning sign, they are exercising the visual-spatial part of their brain. This is the same part of the brain they will use to read. Research shows children that learn sign language are more readily able to translate letters and words to the written language.

Research also indicates that learning a second language, including sign language, actually increases IQ scores.

# Mother-proven benefits of having a signing child: Children can cry and sign simultaneously
# You can eat and sign
# Parents can correct a child from across the room
# Children can communicate with parent from a distance without yelling
# Children can be reminded to use manners from a distance
# Children learn to read body language
# You can talk in a movie, theatre or church
# You can talk under water
# Your child can complain when a parent is flossing her/his teeth too hard
# Your child can express where they are feeling pain and what they need

# What teachers are saying about signing in the classroom: Boosts enthusiasm and readiness to learn
# Influences a child's ability to attend
# Decreases classroom conflict
# Raises cultural awareness
# Increases self esteem

Using Sign to Facilitate Oral Language: Building a Case with Parents
Shari Robertson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Using Sign Language and Fingerspelling to Facilitate Early Literacy
By Marilyn Edmunds and Debra Krupinski

Capone, N.C. & McGregor, K.K. (2004). Gesture Development: A Review for Clinical and Research Practices. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, February 2004, 47, 1, 173. Retrieved June 28, 2006 from ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health Source.

Clibbens, J. (2000+). Signing and Lexical Development in Children with Down Syndrome. Centre for Thinking and Language, University of Plymouth. Retrieved June 30, 2006 from

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Daniels, M. (1996). Seeing Language: The Effect over Time of Sign Language on Vocabulary Development in Early Childhood Education. Child Study Journal, 1996, Vol. 26 Issue 3, p193. Retrieved July 6, 2006 from EBSCO Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition.

Goldstein, H. (2002). Communication Intervention for Children with Autism: A Review of Treatment Efficacy. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Vol. 32, No. 5 October 2002. Retrieved June 28, 2006 from ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health Source.

Hawkins, L. & Brawner, J. (1997). Educating Children Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Total Communication. ERIC EC Digest #E559, August 1997. Retrieved June 30, 2006 from

Millar, D.C., Light, J.C, & Schlosser, R.W. (2006). The Impact of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention on the Speech Production of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities: A Research Review. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, April 2006, 49, 2, 248. Retrieved June 28, 2006 from Proquest Nursing and Allied Health Source.
Becka has a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and Development, and has 17 years experience in the field. She is a Certified Parent Educator and Licensed Baby, Toddler, and Preschool Sign Language Instructor. You can visit her site, at

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