Baby Sign Language
My 18 month old granddaughter, Claire, signing "All Done!"
I’ve been using American Sign Language in my classroom for many years. As I struggled to learn in school, due to ADHD, I came upon my first exposure to American Sign Language (ASL) while looking for a book in our school library. I became very intrigued by using my hands to communicate with others. I found it helped me to focus and to remember information so much easier. Fast-forward a few decades… I developed an ASL phonics program to teach the alphabet, sounds, reading, and the spelling of words to my students. I even teach French using Sign Language! It’s amazing to see my students grasp information so quickly and become more proficient at reading, spelling, and speaking French due to learning sign language. See my ASL phonics videos
American Sign Language is the 4th most studied modern/foreign language at Colleges and universities in the U.S, according to the Modern Language Association’s statistics. Among hundreds of signed languages around the world, up to two million people speak ASL in North America alone. Some studies claim that ASL is the 4th most used language in the U.S.
If you are a parent of a baby, toddler, or currently pregnant, you may have heard of “Baby Sign Language”. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing about the benefits to teaching your child to use American Sign Language (ASL).
You may be thinking, “ Why would I want to teach my baby to use sign language instead of just learning to speak?”
Signing with your baby provides him/her with the ability to communicate earlier than speech.
Early communication may help to decrease tantrums. Many early tantrums are often a result of a child's inability to communicate their needs and wants effectively, due to frustration. By giving this wonderful gift of ASL early on, you may see a decrease in tantrum behavior due to being able to communicate to you more effectively than with speech and gesture alone.
Teaching ASL to your child may also increase your child’s vocabulary and language skills.
Teaching ASL can be a special bonding experience. Teaching your infant or toddler ASL you’ll need to share close, eye-to-eye interactions to help your child talk, label, describe, and demonstrate the signs.
Teaching ASL to your child may increase your child’s reading and spelling skills, visual attention skills, joint attention and even IQ! Fingerspelling helps students learn how to spell a word letter by letter. I use fingerspelling while teaching spelling lessons in my class. The children become very proficient in letter/sound recognition. I’ve found that my students have a better understanding of vowels and consonants due to using my ASL Phonics Program.
Bilingualism of any languages (whether signed or spoken) is a great booster for the brain. It enriches and enhances your cognitive processes: higher abstract and creative thinking, better problem-solving, greater cognitive flexibility, better listening skills, greater academic achievement, and more! It also promotes cultural awareness, literacy, and other intellectual benefits.
Learning more than one language promotes a healthier brain! Speaking at least two languages increases gray matter in the executive control region of our brains - the area that controls higher cognitive processes like thinking, analyzig, making connections, and synthesizing information, compared to those who only speak one langauge. Studies indicate that bilingualism can not only improve brain funcioning, but also keep age-related neural disorders like Alzheimer's disease and dementia at bay!
Improves fine-motor coordination - so beneficial when learning to hold eating utensils, crayons, and pencils!
Below, I’ve included eighteen of my most recommended signs to introduce to your baby/toddler first. Next week, we’ll be posting short demonstration videos to assist you in teaching ASL to your child.
If you have any questions, please comment below and I’ll get right back to you! We'd love to hear your wisdom on this! Remember, we learn from each other! Thank you so much for stopping by our website! Wishing you all of the joy in raising a healthy, happy child!
Peace and Grace, 💖
Mommy in ASL
Daddy in ASL
Grandma in ASL
Grandpa in ASL
Milk in ASL
Eat in ASL
More in ASL
All Done/Finished in ASL
Dog in ASL
Cat in ASL
Diaper in ASL
Toilet/Potty in ASL
Book in ASL
Thank you in ASL
I Love You in ASL
Bird in ASL
Deer in ASL
Nose in ASL
Pictures from my favorite baby sign language website: babysignlanguage.com