How Baby Signing Can Assist Your Baby's Development

by Douglas Titchmarsh - Date: 2006-12-11 - Word Count: 577 Share This!

Young babies are excellent mimics, primarily because they don't copy purely due to instinct, but in fact they actually enjoy copying your behaviour. Experts now recommennd that this natural mimicry be harnessed by parents for positive benefits to the infant and parents which can help in long term ways. Experts are encouraging the parents to teach their children baby sign language even before they learn to speak. By giving the young child a way to express itself through signing its needs to the parents, it makes for a less stressful experience for all concerned. In this day and age one less stress for parents already coping with modern life just has to be a good thing.

Signing is a useful stepping stone in the development of communication for the baby, and helps to lead the infant towards speech. Even as the child progresses to speech there are extra benefits to continuing to practise baby signing. Some may be led to believe that trying to learn two languages (spoken and signing) at the same time may confuse the youngsters brain, but tests, and ral life examples have proven that this fear is unfounded. In actual fact the twin languages can actually be used to augment each other and to help explain context where difficulty does arise.

A number of scientists believe that teaching sign language to your baby can actually result in better development of your childs brain. Babies who learn to speak via the route of sign language get higher levels of brain stimulation than those who miss out sign language, and just jump straight to learning to speak.

As always the beliefs of these scientists are based on the facts they know about the workings of the human brain. Learning speech and sign language simultaneously is akin to learning two languages at the same time. As a baby learns speech the information is processed by the brain, and then stored for later reference in an area of the brain's left hemisphere. Conversely when the baby is using signing the entire process becomes more complex. When using baby sign language, the brain is forced to consider the visual cues, which are processed in the right hemisphere, and then transferred for re-processing and storage to the left hemisphere. As you can see this will benefit in better left brain right brain communication, and use of the brain as a whole. In addition scientists like Dr. Marilyn Daniels note that the babies who are learning just speech make use only of two organs, the mouth and the ear. Babies using sign language also develop hand co-ordination, and have to use visual clues bringing their eyes into use.

All of this combined means that using baby sign language helps to develop a better comprehension of language earlier in the childs development. Recent studies also showed that signing assists in the children's reading abilities. The sign-trained children already have the ability to remember words visually in conjunction with their real meaning, so they are less prone to forgetting the meaning of words when they start to learn to read. Non signing children have been found to have more difficulty when first learning to read.

Now you understand some of the benefits of baby sign language it should be easier to make the decision to start teaching your baby sign language. There really doesn't seem to be any downsides so far as tests have shown,so why shouldn't you give your baby the benefits that signing can offer?

Related Tags: baby signing, baby sign language, child development, learning baby signing

Douglas Titchmarsh is the webmaster of the Baby Sign Language resource site at

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