I came across this Associated Press article and while it’s not anything new, it’s a nice summary of teaching sign language to babies. We didn’t, but sometimes I wish we did…
Sign language class helps babies communicate
By LINDA HANSON
If you’ve seen a baby wave bye-bye, it shouldn’t surprise you that babies can use their little fingers to communicate before they can speak.
Monica Butche of Duluth taught her son American Sign Language and now teaches parents and their hearing babies.
Two 10-month-old babies – one with his mom and dad and another with her mom and grandmother – attended a recent Baby Sign Language class at Trinity Lutheran Church in Duluth.
At times, the babies’ bright eyes followed the adults’ hand movements and lively facial expressions as the grown-ups reviewed ASL signs for things such as “dog,” “bird” and “ice cream.” The babies smiled when the grown-ups sang and signed songs such as “Old MacDonald” and “This Old Man.”
Such scenes are becoming more common as teaching sign language to hearing babies has become popular. Learning simple sign language not only gives babies a way to communicate other than whining or crying, research also indicates it enhances language development, gives a good foundation for early literacy and can stimulate intellectual development.
Butche, who is deaf, said ASL is a language created by and used by deaf people. She teaches ASL at the University of Minnesota Duluth and the College of St. Scholastica. Her sister, Angela Day of Duluth, has taken ASL classes and helps teach the Baby Sign Language class.
Butche’s 6-year-old son, Liam, can hear, but ASL became his first language when she taught it to him as a baby so she could communicate with him.
By 6 months, Liam recognized ASL signs and at 9 months he began using them. When he was 18 months old, he started telling simple stories in ASL, she said.
Read more at The La Crosse Tribune.