Do a simple Google search on the topic of baby sign language and you will have days and days of reading ahead. The topic is not trendy, it is here to stay. Interest in communicating with babies grows steadily every year. In fact I've read child development experts predicting that sometime in the not so distant future it will be the norm that parents are signing with their babies and those who are not signing with their babies will be the exception.
Well, like with anything else on the internet, there is a lot of misinformation and poor advice out there. Here's one article that had several good points, but had two important misgivings that I address in my post via the Baby Sign Language 411 community. Here's the link to join our community:
Learn what information in this article not to follow by clicking read more in the original post below.
#parenting #babysignlanguage #earlycommunication #childdevelopment
The first: Advising that parents begin demonstrating signs when their baby is between 6 and 8 months old. The reason I disagree with this is simple. Communication is communication. Parents talk to their babies from birth, for the purpsose of language development. Using baby sign language is one way to enhance a child's language development, so why would we wait? As my mom did with me (she is deaf by the way), I signed to my children from birth, signing MILK as I brought them to nurse for the first time. It helped shape our parenting paradigm and not just help our littles to tune in but helped us as parents be more in tune as well. All that eye contact does this. To think that the first 6 months of not developing this attunement could be wasted because poor advice like this tells people to start a much later age than when we normally communicate!
The second: The author shares the concept of Makaton, which until now I had not heard of, the use of gestures to pair with words, not necessarily signs. She suggests that it doesn't matter if you use ASL or Makaton. I disagree completely. Simply put, using gestures has no long term value once speech is acquired, where using ASL provides you and your child an opportunity to communicate with others who use a beauiful language. ASL is the third most widely used language in the United States.
What are your thoughts on signing from birth and choosing ASL based signs over made up gestures?