As parents, we want the best for our children. We would have taught our kids many words and skills before they start school. Making fast progress in the child’s development is a good investment of parents’ time and energy.
Learning and using some American Sign Language (ASL) with your child is a proven method to encourage early language development and get a headstart on pre-reading skills.
There are many good reasons to learn sign language with your children. Not only will you help your child develop language skills faster, but you will also reduce communication frustration. This means less crying and tension in the relationship. A special communication bond will be developed between those who use sign language.
Learned signed vocabulary can be an addition to the spoken language in your home. Using sign language can speed up the acquisition of spoken language and stimulate more areas of the brain.
Have fun using sign language with your child!
Here are some facts on children using sign language:
- Children who learn sign language may have more brain capacity later, learn to speak sooner and do better on future IQ tests (The Daily Oklahoman, 1999).
- 11-month-olds who learned sign language outscored non-signing peers in language abilities, standard IQ tests, and vocabulary comprehension tests after second grade (The Daily Oklahoman, 1999).
Many people misunderstand that learning sign language means the person will not learn how to speak. The Atlanta Journal Consitution shared research that shows babies who learn to communicate with sign language are quicker to speak than their non-signing peers. Signing creates a more verbal environment because babies initiate a conversation about subjects that interests them. Parents are more conscious of repeating words. Earlier exposure to successful communication actually motivates babies to want to speak sooner (2001).
Hearing babies speak their first word, on average, when they are 13-months old. They speak two- to three-word sentences by the time they are 20 months old. Some babies can start signing words such as “more” and “milk” at 8 months and build vocabularies of dozens of signs within months (The Blade, 2001).
Donoghue, Ellen C., “Sign Language and Early Childhood Development” (2014). Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders Undergraduate Honors Theses. 20. http://scholarworks.uark.edu/rhrcuht/20