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Is Baby Signing Useful?

  1. #1
    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Tsuen Wan

    Is Baby Signing Useful?

    I am thinking about starting baby signing with my 7 month old. I just wonder who has done it and what their experience and success rate has been with it.
    Do you think it`s useful?
    And will it stop my son was emitting high-pitched shrieks when he wants to say something?

  2. #2
    nicolejoy's Avatar
    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    North Point
    hehe - it won't stop his shrieking ;)

    I think it's useful IF you do it AALLLLL the time with him. We did the course (and Singwa was great!! I'm sure she'll probably come and give her opinion too... she teaches it over here. Buckeroo, I think she's called...) - but we haven't signed as much as we should have... My daughter's 9 1/2 months now and only does the sign for "milk" and "bye bye". I think though, with her personality, she's very easy going and not very demanding... probably for a more high maintenance baby, it's more useful... I do recommend learning about it, even do the BabySigns course if you like. And then you're equipped to use it as much or as little as you like.

  3. #3
    monte is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Hong Kong
    We started doing it on a fairly casual basis when our son was 10 or 11 months, and even at that late age we found it (and still find it) so helpful. He was getting upset at the table, banging on it and pointing, and we realized that if he could ask for more or for water it might help his behavior. It really made a difference for us! We didn't take a course or anything, just use a book and look up words as we need them or think they would be helpful. It's really been an organic process for us ... when it seems like he's trying to communicate something that we don't have the word for, we look it up and start using it. He learns fast, and generally it just takes a few days for him to get it. Right now (he's 17 mo) he knows and uses more, milk, water, cracker, sea cracker (our word for nori, his favorite snack) bed, dog, poop, wash hands, hungry, and book. It's funny, some of these words he speaks and signs at the same time, some he only signs, and there are words that he speaks but doesn't sign. As I said before, we're pretty casual about it, but I think anything that helps our kiddos to communicate is good, and it's been great for us!

  4. #4
    southside852 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    I think it's great that all have found baby signing to be so helpful as I definitely see the benefits of it with them to communicate their needs in what can often be a frustrating time.

    But for me personally I would hesitate to teach anything that would hinder their verbal skills. I would rather my son try to learn new words and their sounds especially since boys are often delayed in speech compared to girls. My son does get frustrated sometimes when he points or reaches for something and I give him the wrong thing, but I would rather give him everything on the table and then have him learn the word of the item he actually wants.

  5. #5
    LEMJ is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Happy Valley
    I'm sure that no parent would want to hinder the verbal skills of their children. I am not aware of any research which suggests that using simple signs with babies would negatively impact upon their speech development. The research I have done so far in this area seems to indicate that the opposite is in fact the case.
    Southside, I am curious. Why do you think that baby signs would hinder development of verbal skills?

  6. #6
    carey is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    I am also interested in learning baby signing.

    monte, could you share the name of the book that you are using for baby signing? and where did you get it?

    Thank you very much.

  7. #7
    momwboys is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Hong Kong
    We used signing with our children. Never a formal class, but like Monte, just using words that were useful. Sometimes, he even made up his own signs!

    Re: verbal delay, my son had a muscular issue when he was born. So we saw our share of therapists the first few years. All of the physical therapists and speech therapists encouraged the use of signs. However, we always said the word when we signed it and encouraged him to do the same.

    Now that he is 8, we still have a way to communicate across a room. It's become a bit of a "family language" of sorts.

  8. #8
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2009
    I've not done any baby signing with my son. I "listened in" on a few threads when he was less than 1-year-old, asking the same questions SZJ asked here.

    My conclusion that for my son, myself, our family and our lifestyle, signing was more of a burden than a help. At that time, I felt like adding signing to the mix would be just "one more thing" that we were trying to learn/teach/accomplish.

    My son has always been very busy and up until recently, not one to focus for any significant amount of time and at the time when I considered doing baby signing, I felt that teaching it would require too much focus from him.

    Having said all that, my son invented his own signs for things like "I want it/Yes." When he was about 1-year-old he started putting his right hand behind his head when he wanted something or wanted to say yes. We think this came from him seeing us ask him to nod his head yes but he couldn't figure out the up and down nod part so he would put his hand behind his head to manually tip down his chin in a nod fashion.

    Now that he's 21-months-old he now says "please" and "thank you" as well as most words for the objects that he wants "book, ball, milk, bread, food, light" etc. So, I really don't feel like we missed anything with not signing. Really, more and more there are very few times that we really don't know what he's talking about.

    I guess because we weren't using signing we all just became really tuned into what different facial expressions, sounds and gestures meant in terms of communication from him because we didn't have any other form of communication from him up until when he started really babbling and talking.

    I'd say that if you've got time on your hands and are curious about it, it wouldn't hurt to give it a try and see if it works for your baby and for you. There are lots of resources online that can show you the basics for signs with babies and some theory behind it and probably a lot of ladies here who can teach you the ropes. Every family is different so maybe signing will be a good thing for yours?

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