Babies being unable to communicate with their care givers has taken a toll on the babies and the care giver both. When babies cannot communicate with their care giver they cry. Crying and being fussy is a babies way of getting attention and trying to get them what they want. As well as teaching babies to sign at a young age, teachers have started using sign language in the classroom. Teachers have said that the sign language in the class rooms have made their children more active in the class room and want to participate in class (Kilburn).
Babies can understand words long before they can speak. Their motor skills develop much more rapid than their vocal skills. They may not have fine motor skills but it does not take fine motor skills to sign. Babies have the ability to learn sign language just as soon as they start to be able to wave hello or goodbye. People state the argument that babies are not smart enough, but that is not true. Babies are very intelligent and don’t just copy the signs, they actually understand the signs.
At around 5 months babies start to be able to wave hello and goodbye. That is the moment when you know that they are ready to start their signing. You shouldn’t push all the signs on to a baby at one moment but slowly introduce new signs. It will also be easier if you do signs that don’t require a lot of fine motor skills. Milk would be a good example of a sign that does not take fine motor skills. The sign for milk is taking your hand and squeezing it together just like you were milking a cow. When you introduce the sign to the baby you need to say it, do the sign, and then give it a meaning by possibly giving the baby some milk. Another good example of a non fine motor skill would be eat. The sign for eat is bringing your four fingers to your thumb and hen taking your hand to your mouth.
Some people argue that a baby is not smart enough to learn the signs. That the baby is only doing the motions to get what they want. And maybe that is what they are doing in the beginning, but after doing it so many times the baby starts to comprehend what they are doing and why they are doing it. It is just like learning any new language no matter what age.
This new finding may be related to other fads, such as letting your babies listen to classical music, or watching waves to keep them calm. Unlike the fads that I just mentioned, sign language has been scientifically proven to work.
Other than teaching it to babies, sign language can also help elementary and higher students in school. Studies show that teachers who use sign language in their classroom, students tend to have a more advanced vocabulary. The students do not just use the words because they have to, but they also comprehend the words better. Sign language can be a help tool when learning the new vocabulary words. When saying the word, spelling it, and giving it a motion; such as finger spelling, the word tends to stick with the student better, faster, and longer.
Besides the fact that it can help children with their vocabulary, it can also help children who don’t like school become more involved. The children will want to become more involved because it can add a little bit of fun in the class room. It adds fun in the class room by allowing kids to show what they know and move around a little bit while they do it. Kids always hate just sitting in those uncomfortable chairs for hours on ends, but even if it is just their hands, they are still moving.
Another way to use the sign language in the class room is for when children have to use the restroom. When a child raises their hand and asks to use the bathroom and the teacher responds with a yes, all other students see the opportunity and also want to try to get out of class to “use” the restroom. Instead of having students asking out loud for permission to go to the restroom, you have the child come up to you and do the sign for restroom (White). The sign for restroom is very simple, take your index finger and cross it with your middle finger and give your hand a little shake. Besides the fact that it keeps all the children to ask to the restroom at once, it also keep the whole bathroom thing a little more private like it is supposed to be.
As you can see, there are very many benefits to teaching babies as well as young kids sign language. It can do many things to help the child and the people around the child. It isn’t a hard thing to teach the child as long as you are diligent with what you do. That means you need to introduce the rights amount words at the right time, you cant just pile a whole bunch of words onto a new child and expect them to pick it up and know it all at once.
Barnes, Susan K. “Sign Language With Babies: What Difference Does It Make?” Dimensions of Early Childhood. Vol. 38. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 21-30. Print. Kilburn, Mrs. “Using Sign Language in the Classroom.” Web log post. Mrs Kilburns Kiddos. N.p., 17 Aug. 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. http://mrskilburnkiddos.w ordpress.com/2009/08/17/using-sign-language-in-the-classroom/. Kirk, Arie. “The Herald Journal.” HJNews.com. N.p., 16 Mar. 2010. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. . Savory, Eve. “CBC News.” Sign Language for Babies. Prod. Corrine Seminoff. CBC. 10 Mar. 2004. CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 10 Mar. 2004. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. . Transcript. White, K. R., and J. Grewe. “Evidence for Website Claims about the Benefits of Teaching Sign Language to Infants and Toddlers with Normal Hearing.” Infant Child Development. By L. H. Nelson. 5th ed. Vol. 21. N.p.: n.p., 2012. 474-502. Print.