The Benefits of Baby Sign Language extend way beyond the toddler years as the research is now showing.
Baby Sign Language can be used from as early as birth although most children are ready to begin signing back to their parents by the age of 6 months. The signs are often borrowed or modified from traditional sign language and are based on gestures that symbolize the action or meaning of a word. It is a simplified version of sign language designed to be easy enough for baby’s to begin using from 6 months of age.
NIH Funded Experimental Studies discover the Baby Sign Language Benefits
Baby Sign Language is not a new concept, although it still receives much media attention. The first studies were conducted as early as 1989; one of the most referenced experimental studies is an National Institute of Health (NIH) funded study conducted by Drs Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn. The study was designed to determine the benefits of Baby Sign Language and to determine if Baby Sign Language would delay speech development in children. The children were assigned into two groups in this study; the first group consisted of children that used Baby Sign Language and the second group consisted of children that did not use Baby Sign Language. The children were recruited for the study at eleven months of age. Their speech and language development was followed up until they reached three years of age.
The study regularly assessed the speech and language development of the children recruited into the study. The language assessments were designed to measure language comprehension and language production. These assessments were conducted at assigned intervals during the study. The assessments measured the children’s ability to put words into sentences. The child’s intellectual development was also measured at 24 months to determine the long term baby sign language benefits.
The average scores of children in the study that were in the group that used Baby Sign Language were found to be higher than the control group who did not use Baby Sign Language. By the age of twenty-four months, the signing children had a developmental advantage of three months over the non-signing children. By the time these signing children reached the age of thirty-six months, this advantage had increased dramatically. The advantage had now increased from a three month developmental advantage to an equivalent twelve month advantage in their overall language skills and comprehension by the age of thirty-six months.
Since this research was conducted in 1989 there have been many families that have begun to use Baby Sign Language in their home. To date there hasn’t been a single study that has shown there to be any disadvantages to using Baby Sign Language. Many childcare centres are also beginning to use Baby Sign Language, either through song or as part of a dedicated program.
Some parents seem to have a concern that if they use Baby Sign Language with their children that this may delay their speech development. The results of the NIH funded study demonstrate quite clearly that this is not the case. Baby Sign Language facilitates communication between baby and parent earlier in life and is thought by some to be an essential step in the learning process as it aids in the comprehension of words through actions that they understand. By providing a communication method to the baby earlier in life they understand the benefit of communication as they are rewarded with some control over their environment and their needs. This only leads on to a thirst for a more complicated language which is thought to be the reason that baby’s who sign with their parents speak earlier than those who do not. The benefits of baby sign language are not only reflected in the intellectual development but also in their social ability and the bonding of the baby with their parents. If you would like to experience the same baby sign language benefits as many thousands of parents worldwide, download your free baby sign language chart today or go to Toddler Interpreter for some affordable baby sign language resources.
Toddler Interpreter teach Baby Signs and they offer the best Free Baby Sign Language Chart available online and their Baby Sign Language Book is used by parents and childcare centres in the United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to Teach Baby Sign Language. Sign Language for Babies is easy using Toddler Interpreter’s comprehensive Baby Sign Language Dictionary. Sign Language for Toddlers can help reduce frustration and Baby Sign Language has proved very beneficial for Premature Babies, children with Velo Cardio Facial Syndrome and other babies at risk of developing a speech delay.