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Anyone signing?

682 Views 20 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  kJad29
I know some ASL and really wanted to teach it to my little one when she is here. However, I've heard conflicting things about it...some say it really helps with communication, some say that kids talk less with signs. Has anyone signed with their baby, and if so, from what age? How has it made a difference?
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We are signing, and have been for a few months here. We use verbal cues while we sign so our LO is receiving both visual and auditory ways to help him communicate his needs/desires. I can't speak to long-term deficits in verbal language development because we are just in the beginning stages here but I can tell you it has been a god-send. He can't say "drink" but he sure can sign it!

I'm not interested in signing as a second language, long-term. Not that there isn't value in it, but instead we are focused on short-term essential signs (hungry, tired, happy, momma, daddy, drink, nurse, etc.). My hope is that once the oral development catches up to his brain, we'll be able to drop the signing.

It definitely has not slowed down his talking. Little guy talks all day long...
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We're kind of casually signing here. My 13 month old knows nurse (ASL milk) more and finished. I've just introduced again and eat (for solids). DD dosen't talk yet, but I'm not worried about it. It is nice to be able to communicate with her through the signs.

ETA We also say the word and sign it so DD gets both visual and auditory input. When she signs to me I say "Oh you're finished" or "More, what do you want more of?" etc.
We have been signing since DD was about six months old. Just signs that I already knew like milk, more, all done, drink, and up. We are starting a sign class on Monday! I did not do signing with my other two and I think it really helps with DD's frustration level because my boys got frustrated very easily attempting to communicate and DD can communicate most of her basic wants/needs. She does talk to, however she really only says Elmo, dog, mama, dada, and animal sounds but she is not quite a year yet so, so far so good.
We signed with my middle son, who has Down syndrome, and it has helped him a great deal. We plan on signing with our baby too, who is 8 months old now. I think she will be so exposed to the signing we do with ds, that it is ijust logical for her to sign also. My oldest son picked it up easily as we taught his brother and it in no hinders his speaking. lol
I did some basic "baby signs" with DD starting around 9 months. It took awhile for her to use them but once she got the idea it was great. More and all done where favorites.

I started to use signs with both kids around the time that peek-a-boo became a reciprocal game (if that makes sense.) Both kids picked up on them soon after. So maybe 9 months ish for DD and a bit later for DS (who has Ds).

I think it helped DD to be able to communicate very clearly some basic desires before she was able to verbalize them. I do not think it hindered her verbal abilities one bit. If anything, it helped me to recognize her early verbalizations as words since they always accompanied signs.

Something interesting I have noticed, as an older child she would use her signs when she was flooded and unable to speak (temper tantrum type times). She also seems to be using them more now that she has a baby brother who is learning them. At no point does she seem to prefer to sign, they just started appearing along with her speech as DS started using them.
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I am signing with my 15month old and it REALLY helps us cut down on tantrums. She speaks some words but mostly signs. For us it really helped mostly because she has a speech delay and so we avoided a lot of the tantrums that come with not being able to communicate. She recognizes probably 30 signs and signs back about 10 right now. She's learning very very quickly though. Her big sisters are the best at teaching her new signs. I think we started around 5 or 6 months and she was signing back at 9 months. I know people say that they speak less because they can sign but I think it's what you make of it. If you solely taught sign and didn't speak to them, well they would think that that's how we communicate. If you sign AND speak, they learn the sign faster most times and then learn the word while signing it. My middle daughter never really liked to sign and only learned to do a few of them so she got away from signing by age 2. The littlest has trouble with spoken words so she signs WAY more than she speaks and she's just really starting to babble to us and says 3 words consistently so she's nowhere near getting ready to stop signing. When I first started signing to my middle daughter, their dad called me crazy, laughed at me, etc. Thought it was stupid and she just needed to speak. Now he's convinced seeing our last daughter signing back to us. He signs to her all the time and is still committed to teaching her to rely on speaking but he regards sign as an important communication tool now.

By the way, after toddlerhood when they are speaking well, having older children know sign is quite useful. Just yesterday I silently and discreetly reminded my 8 year old to thank our friend for a gift without embarrassing her. And later on in the evening I warned my 4 year old to be careful and pay attention to the little ones on the gym equipment at the Y without even getting up from my position with her baby sister about 20 feet away in a noisy gym. So it is helpful for all ages regardless of speaking ability.
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Yes, he knows "milk" but he only uses it WHILE he's nursing
He doesn't use it to ask to nurse. I want to get the Baby Signing Time video. That reminds me to order it. Off to Amazon!
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Yes. We've signed with both kids. IME it really helps early communication. Ds is 10 months now and has around 10 signs.

We've just started. I use Milk, All Done, More so far but need to ramp it up a bit
I do say the word when I sign. So far, DD is not signing back but she does seem to know what Milk means...
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Yes we sign...well more like her aunts and uncles do. She has a lot of finger dexterity and is picking it up quickly. Except now she will get really unhappy when she signs and we don't understand. She moves her mouth open and close and then tries to bite lol
we sign
i started signing "nurse" when he was 2 months old. Everyone thought I was nuts but now he signs back at 6 months old. Its cool, when someone else is holding him and he is thinking about food he starts signing "nurse" (to himself its so cute) and I feed him before he gets to the crying point.
I have read that it actually helps them speak sooner as it develops the communication area of their brain
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I'm new at signing with my own baby, but several close friends did it with their little ones, all of whom are over 2 now. All but one spoke unusually early, but the one who didn't still doesn't speak well at almost 3. For what it's worth.
We are starting a sign-a-song class next week, that mixes songs with signing. Dd is 4 months old. According to the woman who is running the class, a speech therapist signing does not slow down or delay learning to talk, and if anything encourages it by stimulating the parts of the brain that have to do with speech.

Originally Posted by aurora_skys View Post
we sign
i started signing "nurse" when he was 2 months old. Everyone thought I was nuts but now he signs back at 6 months old. Its cool, when someone else is holding him and he is thinking about food he starts signing "nurse" (to himself its so cute) and I feed him before he gets to the crying point.
I have read that it actually helps them speak sooner as it develops the communication area of their brain
Yay! I don't feel weird now for signing to my baby at 2 months. He's three months now, and I SWEAR he recognizes the "milk" sign...he has started smiling when I ask him if he wants to nurse while making the sign. Could be a coincidence...but, it's still cool to think about. We also sign "mommy" and "daddy" but that's it for now.
I have friends who have signed w/their babes...they all agree that the signs just phase out as verbal language ramps up, and that signing has helped with LOs frustration with communication and made life smoother. So, I'm looking forward to doing more and more.
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We're learning and having great fun. Before she nurses I always try to sign 'milk' and I thought for sure she mirrored me earlier today, but she hasn't done it since. It's fun and we have a good time watching the Signing Time DVDs together.

"It's signing time with Alex and Leah!" Had that stuck in my head all day yesterday.
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DS is signing potty now, he's almost 8 months. I think its adorable. He loves to watch my hands.
Please, please, please do not believe the stories that signing will limit your child's language. It IS language. If your house speaks English and uses some sign, your child won't get stuck on sign. Really.

We used sign with DS since he was born, but he also has hearing loss so it was both our preference and a necessity. He's picking up both languages so fast these days. Pick the words that you use a lot, or the things that you want your babe to be able to tell you earliest, and use those signs all the time.
We started signing with our first ds..he's 14 now.

He has and always has had the most fabulous verbal skills. He was talking in full sentences at 18months. Knew abc's by 22 months.

I definately think signing is helpful for little ones. Helps them communicate without getting frustrated. I in no way believe that is hinders them verbally.
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