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Baby Signing:

Oliver Wolcott
April 19, 2007

Baby Sign Language

            One of the most frustrating things a parent can ever experience in the sounds of their baby crying.  The baby has been fed and changed, so what could the problem possibly be?  Babies cannot communicate with their parents yet, but thanks to a new trend parents can teach their babies to talk to them early on.  Baby Sign Language became a popular after the movie "Meet the Fockers" in 2004 (Fazzini, 2005).  The idea behind Baby Sign Language is to teach children to sign their basic needs and wants, giving parents the chance to communicate with their baby before he or she can talk and create a bonding experience that can last a lifetime.

            Baby Sign Language was invented by Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn in the early 1980's.  At the time Dr. Acredolo's daughter was not quite one year old and making sings for certain objects.  Interested in what her daughter was doing, they created Baby Signs, sign language for hearing babies with over 100 gestures, some of which were taken out of American Sign Language with a more simplistic idea for babies to learn (Unknown 2003).  Today, Baby Sign Language classes are offered at hospitals, community centers and even libraries.  However, Baby Sign Language is so easy to learn the classes are not needed to teach it to a child.  Local bookstores carry DVDs and books on Baby Sign Language.

The best time to begin the learning process is when the child is between six and eight months and can hold their attention for more than five seconds (Fazzini, 2005).  If you start at around six months of age, the child can be signing back by eight months of age (Brady, 2000). Baby Sign Language offers many benefits to both parents and children.  The greatest benefit for parents is that they can now communicate with their children, resolving many frustrations.  Children who learn Baby Sign Language have a higher IQ and if they continue doing their sign language they are effectively bilingual.  After all, researchers believe that teaching a second or third language at a younger age is easier than doing it at an older age.  It also encourages children to begin talking at an earlier age versus those who do not learn to sign.  The difficulty with Baby Sign Language is being able to continue teaching it.  A lot of mother's complain that the biggest problem with Baby Sign Language is that their husbands or relatives do not bother to learn it or reinforce it (Brady, 2000).  Another difficulty is being able to remember what signs a parent has used for certain things, especially if they modify it or make up their own sign.  Teaching an infant two different signs for the same thing can often confuse them.

Baby Sign Language started in the early 1980s and is continuing to grow to this day.  It has become the newest trend for parents.  Being able to communicate with an infant takes away those long fussy periods, the frustrations, and the lack of communication between parent and child.  Baby Sign Language is giving babies a chance to communicate with their parents.  It is giving them the chance to express their wants and needs without having to cry and leaving parents guessing.

Works Cited

Brady, Diane.  (2000 August 14).  Look who's talking -- with their hands.  Business     Week Online.  Retrieved 19, March 2007:

Fazzini, Andrea.  (2005 March 24).  Infants communicate with signs.  BYU NewsNet.  Retrieved 19, March 2007:

Unknown.  (2003 March).  The new baby talk.  Parents Magazine.  Retrieved 19, March 2007:


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