Baby signing

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  • my sister was telling me about this t'other day, apparently there's a sign language designed specifically for pre speak babies, which helps develop their communication centres in their brains, which makes learning to speak much easier, and allows them to communicate before they can speak, which supposedly cuts down on tantrums or anything.


    its really basic, a sign for food, or sleep, or mum, etc.


    i don't have any links or anything but i thought i'd mention my knowing it incase any parent's are interested :)

  • Quote from Perthite

    my sister was telling me about this t'other day, apparently there's a sign language designed specifically for pre speak babies, which helps develop their communication centres in their brains, which makes learning to speak much easier, and allows them to communicate before they can speak, which supposedly cuts down on tantrums or anything.

    its really basic, a sign for food, or sleep, or mum, etc.

    i don't have any links or anything but i thought i'd mention my knowing it incase any parent's are interested :)

    Its similar to makaton, my youngest was taught it to encourage him to speak, it really works too!!!

  • Don't know about other areas but here in Brighton there are plenty of sing and sign groups for tiddlers... my girl went to one and I loved being able to communicate with her before she could talk... it really helps!

  • It's actually a bit controversial. There is school of thought that says it's unnatural and unnecessary, as babies do learn to communicate, and their carers learn to communicate with them. There is also a group of people who feel it should be used all the time with every baby.

    Personally, I think both those positions are a bit extreme.

    I tend to wave my arms arround when I talk a lot, and I use makaton signs fairly spontaneously to support what I'm saying when I think a child won't understand what I'm saying, and I think it'll come quite naturally to do the same with my baby when s/he's born.

  • I used makaton when working as a teachers assistant and found it to be a totally logical hand-gesture system anyway - i think in all honesty signing is something that parents do naturally with their babies anyway - you pick up your own hand signals naturally as you gesticulate and speak to your baby :) makaton is way cool though - wish i'd known about it when charlie was a littley :)

  • Yeah, the one of the ideas of makaton signs is that they should be as 'iconic' as possible - that is, the sign should look like what it represents as much as possible. They are based on natural gesture (what you do naturally without thinking about it) where they can be.

  • I have bought a book on baby signing as we were both really interested in it. But I have reservations. A friend of our who has a gorgeous little girl who was born at 28 weeks (but not grown since 24 weeks) baby signs-she is 1 and a half (uncorrected) now. But spending time with the family it seems that it could actually be hindering her speech, as when they use the signs with her they don't always say the words too.

    I think for some babies it can be very helpful-specially little ones who seem to cry without the parents managing to work out why. But for others I can only see it as a hinderence to speech, as if a baby/child can communicate fine without talking then what is the incentive to talk?

    I think we'll see how we go with little one, possibly use a few signs, but I won't be teaching him the signs for colours, animals etc. as I feel that when a baby can recognise these things then they are almost ready to use the word (or their own gesture) for that thing.

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  • Quote

    but I won't be teaching him the signs for colours, animals etc. as I feel that when a baby can recognise these things then they are almost ready to use the word (or their own gesture) for that thing.

    aye i think that too honey xxx

  • i agree with you whole heartdy :clap:


    from lennon being a young age we taught him sign as our nephew is profoundly deaf also at the time courtney was being taught sign in school with her deaf cousin, and so we used to practice at home
    lennon does prefer to sign when he wants something, he does speak only at home though not when we are out.


    most of our family know sign and when used quite alot it becomes habit even when the deaf child/person is not there.

    Quote from uma

    I have bought a book on baby signing as we were both really interested in it. But I have reservations. A friend of our who has a gorgeous little girl who was born at 28 weeks (but not grown since 24 weeks) baby signs-she is 1 and a half (uncorrected) now. But spending time with the family it seems that it could actually be hindering her speech, as when they use the signs with her they don't always say the words too.

    I think for some babies it can be very helpful-specially little ones who seem to cry without the parents managing to work out why. But for others I can only see it as a hinderence to speech, as if a baby/child can communicate fine without talking then what is the incentive to talk?

    I think we'll see how we go with little one, possibly use a few signs, but I won't be teaching him the signs for colours, animals etc. as I feel that when a baby can recognise these things then they are almost ready to use the word (or their own gesture) for that thing.

  • Quote from uma

    spending time with the family it seems that it could actually be hindering her speech, as when they use the signs with her they don't always say the words too.


    I think for some babies it can be very helpful-specially little ones who seem to cry without the parents managing to work out why. But for others I can only see it as a hinderence to speech, as if a baby/child can communicate fine without talking then what is the incentive to talk?

    As far as I know that's not how baby signing is supposed to be carried out - you're meant to speak and sign, I think. Certainly that's what I'd be advising parents to do - use a sign and say the word at the same time, but accept the child'sresponse in what ever form it comes, whether that's speech, a sign, bith together, an action or whatever.

    There have been a few research projects done and they've all shown that if you use speech and sign together, this doesn't inhibit the development of the child's ability to speak and in some cases can actually help to develop the child's ability to talk. However, if you're not exposed to speech because people only use signs with you, it's natural that you wouldn't develop the ability to use speech - you wouldn't have had the examples you'd need to copy.

    As far as signs for animals and colours go, I'd have to ask whether they'd be particularly useful, at least at first. More useful would be things that would get your basic needs met, e.g.: more, up, down, drink, wet, sleep, teddy, look plus things like mummy, daddy and signs for other family members, friends and pets.

  • I heard about this after my son was talking but would def have tried it had I known about it earlier coz my son 'hated' being a baby and it was hell for both of us until he was able to communicate.And thats despite me doing all the normal communication things you do as a parent naturally.He was referred to a shrink at 9 months (yeah,I know,wasnt my idea:rolleyes:) and she told me his brain was just more advanced than his abilities and he was getting frustrated by it,hence the incessent screaming.


    I think if its used as a tool alongside 'normal' learning to communicate stuff-like Annie says- it can be very helpful for some babies.

  • dont forget it can be on any level too - you could teach baby 4 or 5 signs which you think up yourself to make communication that bit easier before you get to the talking stage...


    speaking as momma to a lazy speaker you soon learn what grunt means what and what sign means what - tuning into your baby is so instinctive its unreal...


    baby sign is cool but was far too much like hard work for me and my severly post natally depressed brain!!

  • It probably naturally develops between you, to an extent - I mean, Izzy will already copy you if you poke your tongue out to her, so I am sure that she'll mimic lots of other things she sees me do over time. So we'll probably be doing our own form of signing without even noticing.

  • Makaton is a simple language system using key words in english speaking order (as apposed to B.S.L. which is a language in its own right) only key words are used and is usually used with children and adults with communication difficulties , this has now been extended to use to communicate with babies . I am a regional makaton tutor but chose not to use any signs or symbols with my child as I believe they get by just fine without