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Today I wanted to start collecting some really good resources on a topic that’s very near & dear to my heart, baby sign language!  I can’t even tell you what a HUGE fan I am of this concept; it’s easy, everyone can do it, the educational and developmental benefits are incredible, and best of all…it takes away a lot of baby’s frustrations, which means fewer tantrums.  Even if you start to teach your child signs and later decide it’s just not for you, the exposure to the concept of signing will have done nothing but good (you don’t have to worry about screwing your kids up for life if you don’t complete an entire signing “program”!).

These days there are MANY different books, videos, and classes you can invest in to learn the secrets of signing, but the basic premise on which they are all built: speaking is a physiologically-complex task that requires the coordination of several fine motor skills (movements of the tongue and lips, breath control, vocal cord tension, etc.), while signing uses only gross motor skills of the hands and arms.  Believe it or not, as soon as you are able to make & maintain eye contact with your baby (generally 2-3 months), you can start teaching them to sign!  It’s important to note that most babies won’t begin to sign back to you until they are 8-10 months; however,.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the actual signs used; the majority of programs today use a slightly modified version of ASL (American Sign Language), but the more Montessori-style idea of allowing the child to guide the process and create their own gestures (which the parents then adopt) is quickly gaining popularity.  Both methods can be equally effective in terms of establishing communication; however, if your ultimate goal is to continue to teach signing as a second language, it is more effective to use the ASL-based system from the beginning.

Seriously though, I could go on and on about what an AMAZING tool signing is, but I’m sure you would like to hear from some more qualified experts!  :)  Here are a few sites that I found helpful when I was learning how to sign with my daughter:

 

Resources & Information:

1.  http://www.babies-and-sign-language.com - 

2.  http://www.babysignlanguage.com/

3.  http://www.happinesspages.com/baby-sign-language-FAQ.html

4.  http://www.webcrawler.com/info.wbcrwl.303/search/web?q=baby+sign+language+chart&gclid=CMTB4PKu1a8CFUPf4Aod1V7Weg

5.  http://blog.southeastpsych.com/2011/06/14/baby-sign-language-opens-doors-to-early-communication/

6.  http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200501/the-hands-babes#n%20one%20study,%20140%20pairs%20of%20parents%20were%20randomly%20asked%20to%20use%20hand%20signals%20or%20provide%20plenty%20of%20verbal%20stimulation.%20The%20babies%20whose%20parents%20signed%20to%20them%20later%20scored%20higher%20on%20repea

***MORE TO COME***
If you know of any good references, I would LOVE to hear about them!  Feel free to post them in the comments section below….