Sign Language for Babies

I’ve been hearing a lot about teaching children sign language. What’s the deal? Supposedly baby signing teaches the child to communicate. But can’t my child communicate in other ways? Is teaching my baby to communicate while she is so young pushing her too hard? Is it worth doing or is it some kind of scam?

A few decades ago, researchers began to notice that children whose parents were hearing impaired and who taught their children to sign, were able to communicate before they were nine months old. Children with two hearing parents don’t usually have much to say until after their first birthday. If you think about it, using the hands to communicate makes a lot of sense. After all, babies have a lot more control over their fingers and hands than they do over their tongue and mouth.
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Speak to Me, Baby

Dear Mr. Dad: I can’t help but notice that some of the kids at my daughter’s daycare are way more verbal than she is. We read to her all the time and we’re a chatty family so what gives? Are these parents doing something we’re not?

A: First things first: not all children develop language skills at the same pace. And there’s no proven connection between the age at which kids start to speak and intelligence. That said, the differences you’ve noticed at your daughter’s daycare could be a matter of genetics or, as you suggested, the parents could be doing something extra that you and your spouse haven’t tried yet.
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