Looking for Regional Information?

Journey from Signs to Words: Babies Can Do All

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/2/2006 | Parenting

Lets start with a little piece of fact: number of researches have established that not only your childs brain, but a number of other developmental components are influenced by the teaching of sign language.

There are many researchers and scientists who believe that sign language using a range of gestures is the best communicative language for a child. This is further proved by the findings that if infants are introduced to the sign language as early as at their sixth month on a regular and consistent basis, they will be able to carry on meaningful communication at around eight months. Since the motor skills are developed at a much higher speed in babies than their vocal skills, it becomes easier for the children to communicate with their hands and fingers than by using the incomplete organ necessary for framing out verbal communication. Even their visual cortex becomes more matured than the vocal cortex, which also enables them to start a non-verbal gesture based communication instead of a verbal communication.

Now, there are various proven advantages of training your child into sign language. It is widely believed that the signing children develop better linguistic skills in the latter course of their lives. Lets explain the reason behind this.

The signing language is a kind of expressive language. As opposed to receptive language, sign language is used for expressing oneself. The training in this kind of expressive language boosts up the students ability to understand the language in its right context and the basic features of sentence construction.

Then in sign language, the words are spoken a bit slowly and at a controlled speed. This helps the child better comprehend what message is being conveyed to him. As the baby better understands the meaning of the message, the communication becomes more effective.

Marilyn Daniels is one of the most respected scientists in the field of baby sign language. She has claimed in her researches that there has been   significant improvement in receptive English vocabulary for pre-kindergarten students in Maryland who have undergone nine months long sign language training in conjunction with spoken English. The better linguistic skills were also reflected by the kindergarten children's use of descriptive adjectives and adverbs. A follow-up study involving the interview of the teachers in charge revealed that these students also had better focusing abilities. This quality in them was believed to develop from their habit as signing babies to watch   all that is happening.

Further according to Acredolo and Goodwyn, a practice in signing helps create an improved framework of brain. This improved framework allows the babies to incorporate words as soon as their vocal chords are matured enough to deliver speech. The program called Baby Sign developed by Acredolo and Goodwyn helped to establish that positive changes do occur in the brain every time a baby uses a sign to communicate. These positive changes place these signing babies in a more advantageous position for mastering the spoken language.

They give the explanation how this becomes possible. It is the circuitry in the brain that controls the function of speaking.  The speaking power gradually develops as a result of the child's exposure to the language. Now, this exposure to the language begins at an earlier stage for the signing babies and their brain circuitry is ready by the time their vocal chords are matured enough for talking. So when at last the signing babies start talking, they talk better and their grip on the spoken language is also greater.

Thus, baby sign language does not only enable you to talk to your baby long before he actually learns to talk, it also helps your child to have an edge over the others when he actually starts talking.