Baby Sign language

by Matt
(Evanston)

Hello,

My wife is worried that our son (15 month old) hasn't learned any signs to refer to things he wants. For example, making the sign for milk when he wants milk. My wife says her friend's kids do some of these signs.
Is it important for us to teach him that? Wouldn't just normal spoken language suffice at some point? Why do people teach this?

Thanks!
Matt

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Sep 22, 2013
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Baby sign language
by: SpeechTherapyTalk

This is a great question! Thanks for asking it.

It is very popular to teach baby signs at the moment.
Many believe that teaching baby sign language will help their child develop speech and language skills faster. However, there currently isn’t any concrete research to support this claim.

On the other hand, teaching signs to children with speech and language delays/disorders is an excellent way to jump start communication. It is highly recommended, on a case-to-case basis. Some parents of children with speech/language delays believe that the use of baby sign language will delay speaking since if a child signs, he or she won’t find speaking necessary. This is not true either. Naturally, humans follow the path of least resistance. Talking is easier since you don’t need your listener’s eyes on you to communicate. Talking is the path of least resistance and children, once able, will prefer talking over signing.

However, it doesn’t sound like your son has a language delay. At 15 months, your son should start to say his first words soon. Doing baby signs will not delay or speed up this process.

If you are interested in baby signs, do it! It is a fun bonding activity for you and your son. Is it necessary? no.

Bridget

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Bridget is an ASHA certified, practicing speech language pathologist. She is passionate about providing parents with information on child speech and language development as well as provide functional, easy activities to do at home! Parents have the power to make a real difference.

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