Babies can communicate and gesture with their hands long before they can speak. There are many beneficial reasons that support babies learning American Sign Language (ASL): increase caregiver-child bond and communication and improve self–esteem for both adult and baby.
Signing with your baby is not a new fad. Historically, signing with babies goes back to the 1800’s when William Dwight Whitney discovered children in deaf families out performed their hearing peers. In the 1980’s, Dr. Joseph Garcia rediscovered Baby Sign Language and starts teaching signing to families. As recent as the 1990’s, Professors Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn’s cognitive and language research show teaching sign languages to babies show enormous benefits.
What is Baby Sign Language, and when should a parent help their child communicate in this unique, non-verbal way and how the child can express his/her needs to avoid frustration before learning to speak words? What is a good age to start teaching simple, common signs?
The Baby Sign Language Dictionary captures over 600 common words signs, then expanding to follow baby’s interest. For every word there is a video, diagram and teaching notes to make learning the signs fun.
Books for Parents
Here are some resource books for adults on teaching sign language to babies and toddlers and its benefits. Each word or phrase is depicted in two or more frames with a photo/drawing of a person signing. The following handbooks and manuals and DVD are available at the library or at curbside pickup:
- Baby Sign Language Made Easy by Lane Rebelo
- Baby Signing Essentials: Easy Sign Language for Every Age and Stage by Nancy Cadjan
- Complete Guide to Baby Sign Language by Lane Rebelo
- Little Hands & Big Hands: Children and Adults Signing Together by Kathy MacMillan
- Teach Your Baby to Sign by Monica Beyer
- Toddler’s Handbook: With over 100 words that Every Kids Should Know by Dayna Martin
- Baby Einstein. My First Signs, See and Sign with Baby (DVD)
Books for Babies
- ABC Baby Signs by Christiane Engel
- Baby Signs for Animals by Linda P. Acredolo
- Baby Signs for Bedtime by Linda P. Acredolo
- First Words: Baby Signing
- Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary of American Sign Language
- I want … Teaching your Baby to Sign by Lora Heller
- My First Baby Signs by Phil Conigliaro
- Sign Language ABC by Lora Heller
Learn to Sign Streaming Videos
The library provides streaming videos through our Hoopla service, free with your library card.
Baby Brilliant Kits
PLYMC has developed Baby Brilliant kits on Sign Language for Ages 0-2 and Ages 2-5.
The kit for Ages 0-2 contains age appropriate materials: 10 books, 2 musical cds, 1 toy, and an Every Child Ready to Read resource booklet.
For Ages 2-5: 15 books, 2 musical cds, 2 toys, and an Every Child Ready to Read resource booklet.
For more in-depth information on Deaf Awareness, check out this helpful website and register to view weekly videos from the National Deaf Awareness Conference.