Teaching Babies to Sign
Research has shown that a child's muscles in the hands and fingers develop at a faster rate than those in the mouth and jaw. Basically this shows us that a child is better equipped at a young age to sign before they can speak. Because of this many people are choosing to teach their infants to use sign language as an early form of communication. It has been known to cut down on the amount of frustration on the part of an infant trying to communicate with their parents/caregivers.
Many people's questions then are: "How do we teach a young child to sign (deaf or hearing) in a way that is fun and productive?"
My answer: Through play! I had the pleasure of watching a young, 3-year-old, deaf child play yesterday while I met with her teacher and parents during a yearly meeting for the child's education. I watched this cute little preschooler interacting rather naturally with the toys in the dramatic play area (toy kitchen, doctor kit, etc…). She was using the play microwave and placing the plastic food on a plate and "warming it up" for us. Using one hand to punch the keys on the keypad as she counted off the numbers with the other. Then she took the spaghetti out of the microwave telling us to be CAREFUL and to wait because it was HOT. The teacher prompted the child to tell us what the food was that was on the plate, to which the child answered SPAGHETTI rather matter-a-factly!
The child went to play for a good 30 minutes giving us each SHOTS from her doctor kit and telling us not to CRY, etc…. The language used and expressed by this child was amazing and it was all done through play!
Signing Savvy can help with this educational/play experience by using the printing options to create word cards for you to use at home during your play with your child. By having the food signs printed on cards that can be exchanged when you "order your food" and having the child match up the sign to the food, a child will become familiar with the signs for the toys they interact with daily. Create a menu that not only has the food signs on it but some common phrases like, "Can I take your order?" or "Thank you, please come again".
Have fun with it….you'll be amazed how quickly your child (and you) will be using sign throughout your playful day!