I first thought about doing baby signing when Hayley, who is going to be 3 in October, turned 5 months. I read all about it but when I told people that I was interested in her learning it, I usually got negative comments. All the negative comments revolved around hindering speaking language if you start relying on sign language. I almost didn’t go through with teaching her untill I was talking to my sister-in-law, who is a speech pathologist. She told me how advantageous it was to teach sign to a little one.
So, I went with my gut and began to start signing to her. Around 8 months she did her first sign which was for “more”. We were so excited to see her doing that first sign! It looked like she was clapping when in actuality the sign for “more” is the opposite fingers coming together and tapping. It was a start though. For then on, she began picking up signs very quickly. The next few signs were “dog”, “bird”, “drink”, “milk”, and “eat”. I have to say that we eliminated the guessing game of knowing what she wanted. We eliminated a great deal of tandrums. When she wanted cereal, she signed it. When she wanted milk, she signed it. I bet you want to know if this hindered her speech. Absolutely not! She said her first word at 11 months and was speaking full sentences by 18 months. To this day, her speech is extremely advanced. I give a lot of credit for her speech to learning sign language.
To this day, we go over signs at least once a week with her. She now knows over 100 signs. We recently started teaching Zane signs together. It is so cute to have her watch me feed him and then for her to sign to him while simultaneously saying, “Do you want more?” I see what signing can do and hope my son will learn this awesome language.
Most states have places where you can take baby signing classes. You can start right away. Even though they might not sign for a few months, exposure and repitition to signing is key. We recently started taking Zane last week at 4 months. For anyone in Rhode Island, I highly recommend Kite Tails(http://www.kitetailsplaycenter.com/).
Below is a video of Hayley at 15 1/2-months signing “more” and “cracker” (we have earlier ones but I can’t seem to find them).