Ask Amma

Baby Sign Language

In How on 5 September 2012 at 10:16 pm

What do you think of baby sign language? Will it delay our baby’s ability to learn to speak?
– expectant parents in Cambridge

What most encourages a baby to speak is to be heard. Nonverbal communication precedes verbal and continues right along with it. Facial expressions, body language, and hand gestures let us know what our baby considers to be worth telling us and help us to become good listeners.

In early months, you may notice squirms, muscle tension/ relaxation or facial expressions that your baby makes before relieving herself, or when hungry or sleepy or wanting to go outside. Around 8 months we noticed that after completing any task, our daughter rotated her hand. We picked up these signs, devised our own for such common requests as water or open, and also used some ASL signs. She continued to dabble in ASL long after she started speaking.

See also: Steve McCurry, To Be Human,
Look how people talk with their hands in Tibet, Lebanon, Yemen, Lebanon, France, Kashmir, France, Thailand, Turkey

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