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I have been interested in signing with my LO and have been doing it off and on for the last few months but nothing consistent. We have reading and signing programs at the library that we attend every week for example and use some of the signs at home. Anyway, DD is 11 months now and has no words. She babbles but no mama/dada, etc.... So my question is do you think that if I really started to be consistent with signing that it will hinder her language? Or should I be working on the signing more because she has no words? Any advice would be appreciated!
Personally, I have to say that sign language was very much a life saver for us. Rebecca would babble away and was saying dog, mum, dada, ball, and a few other words at 8 months, and by 10 months had gone completely silent... it was rare to even hear her babble, let alone hear a word out of her! She really started signing around 12-13 months, and it has been so wonderful to have her be able to communicate with us in a way that we all understand (most days, lol). She hasn't been slow to talk really, though I suppose compared to some she is quite slow in that speech department. She's only started using words to ask for things in the last few weeks... and accompanies those words with signs if she knows them, lol. My ASL instructor actually told me that her two hearing children learned to sign as infants, and didn't utter a word until they were almost two, and then she couldn't (and still can't, 30+ years later) shut them up, so not to be concerned if Rebecca isn't talking much, so long as she makes the sounds needed for that speech when she's babbling.
Anyway, all that to say that personally, I'd definitely be teaching your daughter to sign! It helps with language development, helps relieve frustrations, and is so much fun, especially when they really start to get it! Rebecca is signing in 3-4 word phrases almost every day without prompting, and picks up new signs every week... sometimes ones I've never even taught her (I think she learns them at my ASL class... maybe??)! She talks enough now at 17 months to say mum, dada, dog, juice, banana, grapes, chalk, bubble(s), ball, book, cat, and a few other odds and ends, but there's definite language comprehension and nothing wrong with her spoken sounds development, so no concern about the lack of talking.
Signing actually works as a bridge to verbal language. We've been signing to my son since the day he was born (I worked with baby signing for years before his birth, so it was natural for me) At 12 months, he was only saying "dadadadada" in babble. He had a lot of health issues that have hindered his development in speech, cognition, and motor skills, so I can assure you it had nothing to do with the signing. Anyway, I was afraid when we started speech therapy at 18 months (he still would only say dadada) that the therapists would tell me to stop signing in order to "force" him into speaking.
They were actually extremely happy that we had been working on signing with him. His individual speech therapist actually used the words "Thank God you taught him so many signs." She said that it gives them a basis for working with the child on what language is and what it can be used for which is a HUGE leap in speaking.
And personally, it really has been the biggest lifesaver in our house. Without it, Jonah would be able to tell us nothing. NOTHING. Can you imagine being in a world and having thoughts and the desire to communicate, but not the ability? I can't imagine. With signs he can tell us so much! He can tell us that he wants to see the gorillas at the zoo (or hug his stuffed gorilla, or read his gorilla book LOL he likes gorillas) and he can tell us when he is hungry, and often what he wants to eat. He can tell us that he's grumpy. If he hears a bird outside. If he notices the flowers. These might seem like little things, but when I stop to think about what all goes on in his head that he wouldn't be able to tell us without signing, I am just so glad that he has that tool. When he doesn't know a sign and he wants to tell us something, it can be a mess around here. He throws a huge tantrum, and I have to go around the house guessing at what he is trying to tell me. When he learns a new sign, the stress level in the house goes down dramatically!
The theory that they won't learn to speak because "they don't have to" is complete gobbledyguk, and the research just doesn't support it at all. If my son could speak, he would, because he certainly wants to. It is more efficient than signing- he can really only communicate to me and DH and sometimes his therapists (they don't know how he adapted most of the signs, until I tell them) and he is exposed to more verbal language than he is exposed to signing.
Sorry if that was long. LOL I just wanted to share with you my experience as well as my personal feelings on it (which are based on research!)
Click the blinkies!
Thank You, Pattyandthemoos, for my beautiful siggy!
I agree with the other ladies. Bella doesn't say much but I don't think it has anything to do with signing. Mostly, the things that she signs helps us. When she gets stuck, she doesn't scream, she signs "help". When she wants something to drink, she can specify "milk".
I think signing just makes communication easier for them. Your LO will be talking so much before you know it.
Having used signing with my niece, nephew and in the church nursery I'm so excited to use it with my baby. If you sign and speak to her, she will eventually learn that speaking is easier and faster to get what she wants. In the meantime it will provide her a way to communicate and reduce frustration.
Wife to sweet husband Jeff and mother to 2 beautiful girls: Emily (2) and Jocelyn (1).