Since about the 17th century, William Dwight Whitney, a linguist, noticed the amazing capabilities of children who have parents who are deaf. The idea of baby sign language has been around ever since. But it was when Mom, Professor Linda Acredola noticed her one-year old toddler creating her own baby signs in 1987 that the study of sign language actually began.
1. Be aware of the right time to start
According to Goodwyn and Acredolo, there is no universal age that babies are ready to start learning baby signs. The age to start teaching baby language will depend on the child’s rate of development, experiences and interests.
2. Begin small
It is ideal to start small with a few signs if both you and child are learning baby signs for the first time. This is more beneficial to you than your baby; you will need to get acquainted with modelling the various signs to the child and get in the habit of using a specific sign at the appropriate time.
3. Say the word while signing at all times
Teaching baby language is a method for helping the child to learn to speak; research shows that baby signers normally obtain the skills required for speech more easily when compared to children who do not learn baby signs. Therefore, it is very important that parents say the word aloud when making the sign.
4. Repetition is vital
Most of us will know already that repetition is critical to learning. Therefore, the more often a sign is seen (and heard) the faster and easier it is for the child to learn it. When a sign is made, it should be repeated a lot of time for emphasis. Just as how we normally repeat the words when communicating with babies, signs should be repeated.
5. Point to objects whenever you can
When teaching the child the sign for a specific object like a car or a dog, it is always beneficial to point to the object while you are making the sign and saying the word. If you repeat the word or sign a few times, repeat pointing to the object also.
6. Guide your child’s hands, when necessary
Goodwyn and Acredolo suggest that if you believe it would be easier for the child to learn a specific sign by guiding him then you should gently direct the baby’s hands to allow him to get the feel of the sign.
7. Incorporate baby signing into your daily routines
Ensure to incorporate baby signs into the baby’s normal routines such as bath time, mealtimes, washing time, diaper changing time and bed time. It may also prove helpful if you use books with pictures as well as other items that can be decorated with the pictures of the object they are learning.
Read more on Dunstan Baby for Language review
Happy Teaching Baby Language!
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