If you are a parent, family member, or caregiver for a sweet little bundle of joy, you understand that meeting their needs and desires is a 24/7 responsibility. However, babies are not always the best at clearly communicating what these are, sometimes leaving those trying to soothe and take care of them at a loss.
When it comes to infant development, most little ones do not utter their first recognizable words until around one year of age or even a bit later. As they develop their language skills, frustration on both sides begins to drop as communication improves, but you may be wondering if there is anything that you can do to speed this process along.
The answer is, yes! You can jumpstart your baby’s development and early education by introducing them to American Sign Language (ASL) for babies. Interacting with sign language provides an avenue of communication for your infant and can be successfully used in babies as young as 9 months. This is because motor skills and hand-eye coordination develop far more quickly than verbal language skills.
An infant’s cognition can understand the signs associated with many different needs relating to eating, sleeping, and the desire for affection and comfort. When a baby is able to express these wishes to their caregivers, it inspires bonding and helps with emotional regulation, as well as lowers the stress level for everyone.
Babies are capable of learning ASL in a modified manner, as infant sign language focuses on single words or phrases. Additionally, teaching sign language to little ones promotes brain development and enhances their language development as well. Studies have shown that babies who were taught and used signing scored higher on language acquisition evaluations and IQ tests than their peers who were exposed to verbal communication alone.
Additional research in the field of neuroscience has demonstrated that the regions of the brain that control oral motor skills and speech closely overlap the brain areas that are responsible for controlling hand movements and gesturing, thus these skills tend to develop hand in hand. Babies who are consistently exposed to and encouraged to use signing are more advanced cognitively and have a larger working vocabulary than their non-signing counterparts.
Babies who are in speech and language therapy are often taught sign language to enhance their ability to communicate as well as encourage the development of any lagging language skills. Learning sign language is often the key to jumpstart their desire to use spoken language.
As you can see, there is a myriad of reasons that teaching baby sign language is highly beneficial, and it is because of these benefits that Imagine Early Education and Childcare utilizes sign language as part of the curriculum in their infant and toddler classrooms.
Our staff is highly trained to foster the highest level of growth and development for your baby in a nurturing environment that is full of love. We strive to be your little one’s home away from home and invite you to contact us to discuss how we can assist you with all of your early childhood education and childcare needs.