Many parents use the signs to communicate with baby. Is this a good way to help your toddler to express himself?
Signs to help communication with the child
Baby sign language is a language of transition that allows to use gestures to illustrate common words (eating, over, sleep ...). The use of the signs can be helpful for parents who wish to facilitate communication with their baby from 6 months to 24 months, before he or she speaks and at the beginning of speech learning .
During this period, baby understands several words, but is not able to say them, which can be frustrating. However, he is already able to communicate with gestures. For example, he shows his finger or tends his arms. Learning new signs can help you communicate your needs more clearly.
However, even though the signs may be useful for helping communication in the beginning, their learning is not essential.
At what age can we use baby signs?
It is possible to show signs to a baby from the age of 6 months. He should be able to start using it by the age of 10 months. Since the signs are intended to make communication easier, it is advisable to first teach him the words of his daily life: "eat", "still", "milk", etc. It is important to say the word at the same time as the sign it represents, because the signs must not replace the word.
Using signs with a baby can also help parents to adopt good communication skills. When we make the sign, it actually encourages us to wait for the child to look at us to talk to him, to be at his height or to speak less quickly.
If you use signs to communicate with your baby, do not insist that he do your actions perfectly. The important thing is to understand what he wants to say and to continue to set an example by doing the right thing. However, take it back if you notice, for example, that he makes the sign of the dog when he sees a cat !
Can signs delay speech?
Research shows that learning signs does not interfere with speech development. Your toddler will drop the signs of himself when it will be easier for him to speak.
Resources to learn
Avoid creating your own signs. This will allow your toddler to be understood outside of his family. There are several sign directories that vary from one language, country, and region to another. In Quebec, the Quebec Sign Language (LSQ) remains the main reference. The LSQ Dictionary allows you to learn several signs. It is offered free of charge on the website of The Foundation of the Deaf of Quebec.
Some companies also specialize in teaching signs adapted to the communication needs of babies. Most are inspired by the LSQ. They often offer workshops, DVDs, illustrated materials, applications ... Interested parents can choose what suits them best.
Sign language for infants: To remember
- It is possible to show signs to baby from 6 months. He will usually start using them around 10 months.
- The signs allow the child who does not speak yet to express his needs, but they are not essential.
- Always say the word as you make the sign.
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Resources and references
Note: Hypertext links to other sites are not updated continuously. It is possible that a link can not be found. In such a case, use the search tools to find the desired information.
- Dictionary of the Sign Language of Quebec. Foundation of the Deaf of Quebec. www.courslsq.net/ewac/lsq/dictionary.php
- Signed Baby. www.signebebe.com
- Signs and wonders. www.notrebebe.ca
- Symbolicone. www.symbolicone.com/petitsigne
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