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Chamomile

Baby sign language - yay or nay?

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Chamomile

What are your thoughts on teaching baby sign language? 
Do you think it helps them communicate? Or do you think it is a waste of time? Or does it delay speech? 
Very interested to know your thoughts. 

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seayork2002

I have no idea if it works but I can' t see a negative to do it so I can't see why not?

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DQMission

As the parent of a child who was nonverbal until nearly 5yo, I can tell you sign language does not inhibit language, it improves communication. Basic sign language (makaton) is what we used, my husband was worried it would delay language further, but it ended up encouraging communication and even attempting speech.

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SeaPrincess

I had used Makaton when I was teaching, and I had attended signed English classes (not the same as Auslan). I signed with all of my children. It certainly didn’t delay any of their language and it helped them communicate.

The main sign that they all used was “finished”, and they would use it for everything - didn’t want what I gave them to eat, didn’t want to sit on Santa’s knee, ready to go home.... 

 

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Fluffy Potatoes

We used some basic signs with both boys and found it really useful in reducing frustration. DS2 has a significant speech delay and it’s been great because the whole family already has some basic signs to work with. 
It did not inhibit DS1’s speech development whatsoever, I would say it encouraged more effective communication for him. 

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Jenflea

I did a bit of basic sign language with DD, mostly drink or eat etc and it was really helpful for us both. 

I didn't hot house her or anything, I'd just do it along with saying the word "Do you want a drink?" *sign for drink* or a snack *sign for eating* type thing. 

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blimkybill

I didn't do it with my kids, but from what I have read it can be worthwhile and decrease frustration for littlies. And it definitely doesn't delay speech. I'd do but obly if you enjoy it. 

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Chamomile

Thanks everyone. Seems like everyone is in favour of it. I’m being pressured to do it and I don’t want to. 
I’ll think about it some more. I’m not stuck in my ways, but it’s a fairly big commitment. So I’ll have to consider it. 

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gracie1978
6 minutes ago, Chamomile said:

Thanks everyone. Seems like everyone is in favour of it. I’m being pressured to do it and I don’t want to. 
I’ll think about it some more. I’m not stuck in my ways, but it’s a fairly big commitment. So I’ll have to consider it. 

I'm with you, too much work.

Also daycare wouldn't be supportive

 

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Jenflea

Who is pressuring you? **** that for a joke, your baby, your choice! 

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Lou-bags

I tried it a little with DS1. I downloaded an app that had a few signs for basic things like breastfeed (not that he needed a sign to tell me he wanted that lol), water, all done, more etc.

I gave it up pretty quickly though because he spoke early so he wasn’t using them. I can see how it would be really helpful for a child who couldn’t yet communicate what they wanted with words, less frustration for them. 
 

You could always give it a try with one or two to start with and see how that goes? 

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Pip_longstockings

My kids picked up some sign from daycare. It was fabulous. We just used a few simple signs but it really helped with communication. 

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Zippypeaks

I'm not a fan personally,  who's to say if a child is practising a sign vs actually communicating a sign. Unless there's a specific purpose for it, let kids explore their own way to communicate.

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MumsyToBigOnes

Wasn’t a great option for one of mine who had speech issues due to physical disabilities. We resisted that route on the advice of their medical team who felt it would provide an easy ‘out’ for them as opposed to the hard yards (more difficult for them than typical kids without the physical disabilities mine has affecting speech). Funnily, they basically made up their own version of sign language and essentially trained us all (including their day care 1:1 carer) with what they were communicating. At a certain point the instruction we received from their team was to feign ignorance and pretend we didn’t understand what they were communicating to us saying ‘I don’t know what you want, use your words’ and don’t fold until it happened. This ensued a rapid shift to speech that they obviously deemed too much effort prior to then given we all knew what they were communicating due to the sign language they had made up. Of course there were lots of tantrums and tiaras while they were forced into speech but wasn’t going to happen otherwise. 

Edited by MumsyToBigOnes
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amdirel

I tried it with DS2 but it was too much hard work to remember to do it. He was my 3rd kid though, so everything was too much hard work by that stage.

If you don't do it OP then don't. Honestly I wouldn't bother.

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SeaPrincess
13 hours ago, Chamomile said:

Thanks everyone. Seems like everyone is in favour of it. I’m being pressured to do it and I don’t want to. 
I’ll think about it some more. I’m not stuck in my ways, but it’s a fairly big commitment. So I’ll have to consider it. 

If you don’t want to do it, then don’t. IRL, I only know one other person who has chosen to to do baby signing with no actual reason to do so, and it wasn’t at the time when I was signing with mine. 

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can'tstayaway
14 hours ago, Chamomile said:

Thanks everyone. Seems like everyone is in favour of it. I’m being pressured to do it and I don’t want to. 
I’ll think about it some more. I’m not stuck in my ways, but it’s a fairly big commitment. So I’ll have to consider it. 

It only has to be as big a commitment as you choose (barring any other issues and professional recommendations).  If your brain can’t handle another thing, then don’t stress over it.  I remember those days when seemingly simple things were that one step too much. 
 

Whoever is pressuring you can sign with the baby whenever they see them.  Kids are smart and will learn to communicate in many ways.  Think of those who are bi and tri lingual and know which language to speak to different people in. 

I did it with all of my children but it was slightly different each time based on the child.  The first really took to it and although spoke really early (phrases before age one that could be understood by strangers), they continued signing with words to emphasise their communication.  Finished really meant finished 😂 

My second had some minor speech issues due to ear infections early on.  We worked with a speech pathologist who commented that the signing probably helped to alleviate feelings of frustration because they could still communicate effectively.  

My third was not into baby sign language and would create their own ‘signs’.  Having older siblings was a distraction and their personality was such that they just wanted to be following and doing whatever the siblings were doing.  The hero worship still exists now which is kinda funny.  This child also spoke clearly from a young age as well.

 

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Fluffy Potatoes

Don’t do it if you don’t want to. We only started because Ds1 came home from daycare using some signs and it grew from there. 
Our most used signs were finished, more, food, drink, milk, toilet, work, wait, go, later, thank you and help. 

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3babygirls

I did with my eldest who picked it up super quickly, but then was non stop talking fairly early on so it felt a bit wasted so I didn't bother with my second.. unfortunately at nearly 20 months she basically doesn't talk so I wish I had done it with her, eliminate some of the tantrums!
I will definitely do it with my 3rd nice and early. 

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Hypnic Jerk

I was hell bent on using it with DS.  It was never going to work for him though as it turned out he was very strongly autistic.  Just teaching him imitation was a huge task in itself so the signing didn't get us anywhere and just added to my feelings of failure.

DD was born talking.  Almost.  Interestingly we think she is also autistic but not yet diagnosed.

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