Hi there! I am one year old and I just saw a beautiful car go by. Let me tell you how interesting I find this car. I will sign you the sign language sign for CAR with a big smile on my face. That way, I’ll be able to share this exciting discovery with you: a loud car just passed by, how exciting!
Oh, what does mommy say and sign now? Is a red car. How cool. RED. When Mom first heard about the activity of listening to parents beckoning with her hearing children, she thought it would delay my speech. She loved the idea of being able to communicate with me in sign language long before such communication was possible with verbal speech. However, she did not want the joy of early and meaningful communication to come at the cost of verbal speech delays. She then she read the research and instructions from the books “Baby Signs” by Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn and “Sign With Your Baby” by Joseph Garcia. These researchers showed that using sign language with hearing infants actually accelerates the development of verbal speech.
I guess when you think about it, it makes sense. My brain is exploding with growth and development right now. The more I learn, the more I can learn. I have been testing my verbal apparatus for a while, but it is not yet ready for the precise use necessary for verbal language. However, my hands are ready for sign language and are capable of meaningful communication using sign language. Well I’m sure this accelerates the development of the “human language” part of my brain. It is a part of the brain that scientific research has shown to be activated whether verbal language or sign language is used. It’s no wonder my group of signed babies speak verbally before any group of babies they don’t know.
Hee hee! I just closed a door. It’s very smart of me to do that. Let me tell you about this. I will sign you the sign language sign that means CLOSE A DOOR. Who cares about those theoretical aspects of signing with babies? This is a lot of fun to do. I love doing what I can do. I learn new things and new skills every day. And I love being able to “talk” about them with Mommy in sign language. I have been moving my arms and legs to express myself since I was born. Sign language is so natural to me.
My older brothers also find sign language fun. Whenever I sit down watching funny sign language music and videos that have been produced especially for me, I find that my older brothers and sisters join me. It is fun for them to use not just another language, but a language in another “way”, in the visual-spatial channel. This should be the ultimate when it comes to being bilingual. It seems to them a secret and magical language.
Mom and Dad sometimes join us to watch the signature videos. Sign language is the language of deaf people, but my mom and dad are not deaf. So watching videos is an easy way for them to learn new signs to use with me.
Of course, my siblings and I remember sign language signs faster than our parents. Our brains are wired to learn languages in the same way that a sponge absorbs water thank you in sign language. However, despite having old brains, my parents find that they can easily pick up the signs of sign language as well. My mom is also learning new signs and how to sign with me by reading a baby sign book. I am not reading those books. I am too busy right now. I have to go close the rest of the doors in the house. Later, we could go to a baby sign class with other moms and young children.
Well, this whole game and communication was great today, but now I’m getting tired and hungry. Thank God I can tell my mom in sign language that I want MILK and a COOKIE. After that, I want my TEDDY BEAR, in case I fall asleep, although I will try not to fall asleep. Imagine if I didn’t have the sign language to communicate these things that I want. I would have to sit there and cry a lot until these things magically appeared. I could go to the refrigerator door and cry, but my mom could give me some juice instead of the milk I want. When I want something, I don’t have the patience to wait, you know. Not surprisingly, researchers have found that babies who sign have fewer tantrums and more satisfaction and confidence.
I also try to say words verbally, but Mom doesn’t seem to be able to understand my clearly articulated verbal communication. I believe that she will develop better verbal comprehension skills when she is older. For now, Mom is delighted to be able to use sign language