The infant children are great imitators. They do not imitate just out of instinct. They actually love to mimic. The modern child development experts are encouraging the new age parents to hone their childrens natural mimical skills in a positive direction. They are inspiring the parents to teach their children sign language before they learn to speak. As the child starts to express herself through signs, she finds the joy of communication and the entire thing comes as a blessing for the twenty first century parents, for whom a frustrated child means another addition to the list of stress factors making up their already over stressed lifestyle.
Then signing language can be used as the vehicle for taking the child to the next stage of her development; that is to the level of spoken word. However, as the child starts talking, you can continue with the teaching of sign language for some added benefits. It is like learning two languages simultaneously. Contrary to popular belief, learning two languages at the same time do not at all confuse a child with normal mental ability; in stead the child develops a better grip over both the languages.
There are a number of scientists who are of the view that teaching sign language to your baby will actually result into a better brain development of your child. Brains of those babies who learn to speak via the route of sign language get higher levels of stimulation than those who directly learn to speak.
Of course, they have their logic behind their beliefs. Learning sign language is like learning two languages at a time. When a baby is going through the learning phase of spoken language the information is received and duly processed, and stored in a small area of the brain's left hemisphere. But when the baby is learning the sign language the entire process becomes more elaborate. In the second instance, the brain has also to consider the visual cues, which are then taken to the right hemisphere, and then transferred for processing and storage to the left hemisphere. All these make positive contributions in brain development of the child. The scientists like Dr. Marilyn Daniels points out that the babies tend to make use only of their two organs namely the mouth and the ear while they are learning spoken language. But they have to make use of another two sets of organs namely the hands and the eyes when they are learning the signing language.
All these help the signing children have a better grip over spoken as well as written language. They also turn out to be better communicator than their non-signing peers. One of the most recent studies also pointed out that sign training also help in the childrens reading abilities. The sign-trained children already have the habit of remembering the words in conjunction with their real meaning. So it becomes less likely for them to forget the meanings of the words when they just start to learn reading. On the other hand the reading habit often becomes frustrating for the non-signing children, as they often tend to forget the meaning of particular words.
It is never too early or too late to begin to teach your child sign language. The ideal age for introducing him into the world of sign is six to seven month. If your child is older than that you can start right away. Even if your child has started to speak one or two words, using sign language will be beneficial for him, as it will further enrich his verbal skills.