book review:: "Baby Signing"

>> Thursday, September 10, 2009

Baby Signing 123
by Nancy Cadjan

Several years ago I knew a young mother who taught her infant son sign language. Not fluent conversational signing, but a few signs so that they could communicate together. By about 8 months old, he could ask for "More, please!", say "Thank you" and so on.

I never gave signing much thought until pondering the various ways to communicate with my own soon-coming child. Then it became an interesting subject.

After browsing a number of websites and perusing the shelves of Borders Books, I settled on Baby Signing 123.

Nancy Cadjan, creator of Sign Babies ASL Flash Cards, writes about the benefits of signing with your baby, as well as giving clear and simple drawings of nearly 300 signs and their uses. For instance, did you know:

  • speech abilities for children who signed as babies far exceed those of non-signing babies, both in grammatical/sentence structure and vocabulary
  • IQs of signing children average significantly higher than those who didn't sign, as late as the age of 8
  • signing children tend to naturally speak and read earlier than non-signing children
  • babies who sign show the same kind of increased brain activity as children who grow up bilingual from infancy
  • teaching your baby to sign can help to alleviate frustration as they enter toddlerhood because they can communicate basic thoughts/questions/desires before they can even speak
Cadjan also describes how to introduce signing at different ages, and illustrates gentle interactive ways to increase communication with baby. She tells lots of stories about families who used signing in a wide variety of ways, to help the reader get a clear picture of how signing might fit into their family.

Granted, this review is based on my pre-parenting impressions of course, and I'm sure that I'll want to add post-reviews based on my experience using the actual information. But for the sake of information, I loved the book. Whether or not I can recommend it remains to be seen until I've put some of the information into practice. But I'll keep you posted.

Have any of you signed with your babies? How did it go? Do tell...

© Sarah K. Asaftei, 2009 unless otherwise sourced. Use allowed by express written permission only.

8 comments:

Alina,  September 10, 2009 at 12:15 PM  

I know it is impresive to see your litlle one "speaking"...:) I taught Brianna few signs too and she used them very happy. It was only a litle problem after... :) She preffered signs instead of words for more than I thought.

Becky Brooks,  September 10, 2009 at 12:28 PM  

I have a friend who taught her little boy to sign - I was pretty impressed. It was neat to watch them communicate even before he could talk.

Rodlie Ortiz September 10, 2009 at 12:55 PM  

it's true...it works....we didn't use it hardcore...but all of a sudden one day Jonathan started repeated back to us signs we were using...it's pretty cool when they use it before they can speak...

Sheila Hubbell Knowles,  September 10, 2009 at 3:43 PM  

Audrey knew how to sign In to my heart before she was one year old. And still loves sign language until this day. With me being hearing impaired it came esay to me.. I am so glad you may use it.

Suzy Findley,  September 11, 2009 at 4:41 AM  

Oh Yeah Sarah....I taught Truman signs when he was a baby. I loved his little hands telling me he was "finished" eating or that he wanted "more"!! I also enjoyed pardon the pun..yelling at him in church...useing the sign for "NO" I encourage you to teach those signs to help expression.

Angela September 11, 2009 at 5:37 PM  

Teaching your little one it sign is a wonderful thing. I wish we had started sooner with Troy. Once we realized he is a late talker, we started using signs a bunch more. That is awesome is watching him now sign and say the word at the same time. Troy has also made up his own signs for "eat" and "drink" which is really nice. I'm already working on "thank you" with Savannah since it is an easy one. It will definitely help ease frustration on both ends.
My mum taught me to sign when I was a baby (I just learned this a year or so ago!). She would tell me different things from the SS door and I would obey at just two or so years old.

elana September 12, 2009 at 8:57 PM  

Hi Sarah! Great blog, and congrats on the pregnancy. We started signing with Nathan from about 5 months on. It took awhile (I've heard most tend to pick it up around 8 months) and we got a little discouraged because it didn't seem to be working but all of a sudden out of the blue he started signing everything - even making signs we didn't even know he knew. Now everyone is impressed with his vocabulary - he's almost 18 months old and can say 4-syllable words like motorcycle and watermelon and put together sentences. Just remember, the key is consistency.

Tanya Bindernagel,  September 21, 2009 at 5:28 AM  

Sarah,
We've done signing with both kids. It didn't seem to work at first but between 7 and 8 months, the switch turned on and they started doing it. Like a lot of other things, babies absorb information a long time before they are able to reflect it back (including imitating you facial expressions, actions, and words/phrases) but they do absorb it! Once they do start communicating out of all the info they've stored over the months, their vocabulary can be quite sophisticated and suprisingly advanced, not to mention helpful as it takes away a lot of frustrating guesswork... easier to interpret a sign than a scream! Good luck with it!

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