If you are a new parent… congratulations! If you are like me when my children were born, you are worried about how you will teach your little one and what is best for them. You have all these experts telling you to do this or to do that. It can feel very overwhelming. I know it did for me. However, rest assured, you will do great!
You may have heard of teaching your baby American Sign Language (ASL). Well, I can tell you, not only as a mother who taught her children ASL, but also as a former educator of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, that there are MANY benefits to doing so.
So why teach your child ASL? First, babies can use their hands a lot sooner than they can master the ability to move the muscles in their jaw in order to speak. Second, a baby’s mind is like a sponge. They are constantly learning new things within their environment, and by signing with them you are adding to the fun of learning. Third, babies understand a lot more than we think. They can understand what we are saying, but because of the lack of the muscle control in their jaws, they cannot verbally say what they want. By signing, they can tell you their wants and needs. This reduces the frustration levels for them, which one would equate to a “temper tantrum.” There is even research out there that shows that babies and toddlers who learn ASL, actually increase their vocabulary versus those of similar age who did not learn ASL.
By providing this additional form of communication with your child, you are giving them an outlet to communicate with you and their environment. Teaching your child ASL will not delay them verbally, but give them a means to communicate. Some babies and toddlers might not mimic the sign back to you, and that’s okay. It does not mean they do not understand you. Children learn differently and respond differently. Just remember you are having fun with your child and learning together.
Below are some resources for you to use if you would wish to learn more signs to teach your child.
E-book through Overdrive:
Materials through Hoopla:
Baby Sign Language: This site provides parents with basic signs that they can do at home with their babies and has additional information available for purchase. It also has printable charts for visual reminders.
Signing Savvy: This site provides parents with a basic word list to teach their little ones, along with a short video of how to sign each word.
ASLU: Online dictionary that provides a signed video of each word that a parent may want to learn in addition to words listed above.
ASL Pro: Online dictionary that provides signed video of each word within its dictionary.
Signed Stories: An app from iTunes that provides ASL signed stories. It also has a small ASL A-Z dictionary that is free within the app once downloaded.
Any questions please do not hesitate to get in contact with me. Call the library and ask for Miss Jenni. Happy signing!