Talk to Your Baby Before He Utters the First Word: The Wonder Words of Baby Sign Language

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/2/2006 | Parenting

Dont you wonder from time to time about what is going on the little head of your small child? Wouldnt you like to know what pains your little darling when she cries on inconsolably and you have to watch on helplessly because you are left with no clues? Well, there is a way through which your child can share her thoughts with you.  And sign language is the way that makes it possible.

Baby sign language opens up a world of communication for the children who need to express themselves but lack the power to do so through spoken language. The sign language comes to the help of these pre-verbal children---both the infants as well as the toddlers. This also becomes the tool of communication for the children with special needs.

The parents, the preschool teachers, as well as the professional care givers all across the globe praise the signing language as the best tool for understanding and communicating with these little ones who have their own thoughts, but do not know how to express them.

A few decades ago, sign language used to be considered the tool of communication with the deaf children or with the children with special needs. But today, baby sign language---based either on traditional sign languages or innovative modern programs---- is commonly used with the normal hearing children. Millions of families and professional care givers and child educators are reported to be benefited by the training in baby sign language as it has made the communication with the child easier and therefore free of any stress. And this channel of communication can be established between you and your child long before he starts talking understandably. Seventh to eighth month is regarded the best time for starting the signing training with your child.

Apparently, it sounds slightly unbelievable that a child as little as 8 months old can send across messages to his parents. But it is scientifically proven. The babies are naturally endowed with the capacity of expressing their emotions with gestures from an early infancy. Only they cannot frame their emotions in language. This is because it takes longer to develop the vocal chord in human babies than the development of motor skills. Thus, a baby may not be able to utter the word YES, but she will let you know her acceptance by nodding her head.

So it is not at all surprising to find the babies enrolled in baby signing programs learning like any thing and making gestures independently to make their demands known to their parents. The teaching involves uttering of the world with certain facial expressions and finger movement in a contextual manner that is using the sign during the activity. This not only makes the entire learning process very interesting for your child, it also helps him to build up his vocabulary.

If you carry on with the signing training with your child, you will soon find it is all about fun and amusement. For babies, these finger movements and repetition of a word means more of a play than learning. This will be exciting and engaging for them and soon they will start to recognize the link between sign and the word. It will take a little longer to make them actually start sign back to you. But once they start to do so you will be able to carry on with your little angel the most wonderful conversation in your life.