by Christina Schabow, owner Baby Sign Language in Play (Portland, Oregon) This is by distant one regarding the greatest common questions I get from parents: Shall teaching my baby to sign delay his speech?As a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) I like to answer this question! A good deal of studies was done to address this and has shown us that babies who sign do not have an increased risk of delayed speech/language. In fact, studies indicates that many babies who sign definitely leave on to have early, advanced speech. Let us take a look at howcome this is so:1) SIGNING IS NATURAL - Whether you ponder about it, babies read naturally to gesture. They throw their hands up within the space to indicate "up", they clap to indicate "I like that!", they spot to express "I need that". Signing with a baby expands on this already present intuitive means of early communication.2) SIGNS ARE A BRIDGE TO SPEECH - Many like crawling is to walking, gesturing/signing is to speech. Crawling is an baby bottle holder pillow enabling a baby to explore her world prior to she is ready to walk. Signing empowers your child to communicate prior to she is ready to talk. Babies do not decide to forgo walking due to the fact that they already hold a method of moving around -- when their bodies are ready, they shall walk! A spot in time returns when walking is easier and more effective than crawling. The similar to is true for signing and speech. Ultimately when your baby is ready, speech shall be easier and more effective than signing. Just as babies gradually move from crawling to walking, signing babies eventually transition from signing to speaking.
3) SIGNING READIES A BABY FOR SPEAKING - Oh how I like to ponder about, write about, chat related to the many ways signing prepares a baby for speaking. Signing families are very focused on communicating and thus provide a good deal of time in face-to-face, language-rich interactions with baby. As parents are teaching their baby signs, they use many of repetition of most the signs AND the spoken words (speaking & signing should happen simultaneously). They talk related to the objects they can be signing about, and repeatedly display these objects to baby, demonstrating how those objects are used to hold the baby's interest. All this practice with language and words conclusions in signing babies possessing broad receptive vocabulary knowledge. The rest is like dominoes: The earlier a child understands a sign the sooner he can use the sign, the more signs he uses the more words he can speak when his little mouth, tongue and lips are ready! It also should be spoke about that signing babies have the advantage of participating in give-and-take conversations many earlier than babies who do not sign. This too readies a child for spoken communication. All of these things return together to lay the foundation for speech. It's like all regarding the pieces are ready and waiting and as soon like a baby is able, speech shall take off!Certainly there exists times when even a signing toddler has delayed speech. But it's NOT likely the signing that has caused this. In fact, for the reasons stated above, one regarding first things a SLP shall do with a child who is late to talk is teach them to sign! And for those families who do hold a child with delayed speech, I encourage you to ponder related to the ultimate goal of signing and speech: COMMUNICATION. I can assure you that many a family with a late-talking, signing child has thanked their lucky stars that their child should express himself in some way, alleviating so many frustration from breakdowns in communication.Ultimately, signing shall NOT cause your baby to have delayed speech. It WILL be one regarding the greatest things you do to help get ready your baby for talking!