Both of my children have been signed up for speech therapy due to language delays. It’s ironic that before I had a baby I always said I would do baby sign language because I’d heard it was so good for them. I never got around to it, and what does the therapist suggest is the best thing to do to increase my youngest daughter’s language skills? Yep, that’s right: baby sign language. While she is signing she will not only say the word as she does it, but she also is empowered to be able to communicate with me which has decreased some of the daily frustration we have.
My oldest won’t begin her speech therapy sessions until next month, but even she has picked up on the signs I have taught her sister, and she is just doubly reinforcing them, which is great. It has helped them both to better communicate with us, and since communication is so important it really has helped us not have as many tantrums. I have noticed that since learning sign language my youngest who, when we began said absolutely nothing but an occasional “Mama” now talks more. She has added words such as “mine” (of course—a toddler favorite!) “me”, “alright” and “you’re welcome.” I am so thrilled with her progress.
For anyone who has children in a similar situation I highly recommend baby sign language. While it might seem a little daunting at first, they pick up on it so fast. You can learn about sign language anymore—even Youtube has great instructional videos. I suggest that in teaching the words definitely have something that they want. For example, to teach “more” I gave out a Hershey’s kiss and rewarded them with another one when they showed me the proper sign for more. If they did not, I withheld the candy. I only did this up to three pieces, but that was enough to teach them. Get creative with it and have fun! If you have older children they will look at it like a game and help you teach your younger ones!