Signing with Babies for Communication & Relationship Support Lisa Keller, M.A. CCC/SLP Speech-Language Pathologist, Early On Kent ISD & Lowell Area Schools Independent Certified Instructor for Baby Signs® Programs
Objectives • WHAT is signing with babies? • WHY sign with babies? • HOW do you sign with babies? • WHEN do you start? • WHERE do you sign with babies?
What is signing with babies?? • The use of simple signs to communicate • “…Provides a means of communicating when the spoken modality is not fully developed.” JSLHR, Vol. 47, 173-186- Feb. 2004 • “Giving babies a way to communicate before they can talk.” Baby Signs® Institute • “Provides babies with signs to express needs, thoughts and feelings.” Baby Signs® Institute
The Baby Signs® Program Scientific Research • Long-term study funded by National Institutes of Health • Participants: 140+ families beginning when their babies were 11 months • Signing and non-signing group • Same in sex, birthorder, tendency to vocalize or verbalize words, parent’s education level & income levels • Assessment • Standardized language measures at 11, 15, 19, 24, 30 & 36 months • At age 8 years, WISC-III IQ test
The Baby Signs® Scientific Research cont’d. • Results • 24 month-olds signers were talking more like 27 or 28 month-olds • Putting together significantly longer sentences • 36 month-old signers on average were talking like 47 month-olds • Eight year-old signers scored an average of 12 points higher in IQ testing • Conclusion • The Baby Signs® program helps children develop both language and cognitive skills
The Baby Signs® Program proven benefits • Reduces frustration and builds trust • Allows babies to share their worlds • Strengthens the parent/infant bond • Reveals how smart babies really are • Promotes positive emotional development • Boosts babies’ self-confidence • Helps babies learn to talk • Jumpstarts intellectual development
Dr. Elizabeth Bates, DirectorCenter for research in Language, University of California at San Diego • “It has to do with how easily one can imitate and reproduce something with a great big fat hand as opposed to the mini, hundreds of delicate muscles that control the tongue.” • “You can also see somebody using a hand, which you can’t do with the tongue.” • The New York Times article, Before Babies Talk, Signs and Signals, January 6, 2004.
More Quotes from Dr. Elizabeth Bates… • “It is well established that the more you talk to babies- and you gesture naturally as you do that- the higher their vocabularies.” • “Something that can increase your child’s vocabulary will increase IQ.” • “Research shows huge individual differences in how much adults communicate with children.” • “… show significant effects probably because a subset of the parents were not communicating with their kids as much as they start to when they enter these programs.”
Will signing hinder the development of language? NO! It helps! • “… gestures enhance rather than hinder language development” JSLHR, Vol 47, 173-186 Feb 2004 • Studies have shown signing to be useful for children with Down Syndrome and Autism • For a bilingual child, “signs help to smooth the road to understanding and speaking both languages” Baby Signs® Institute • (milk) sign=object (milk)=“leche”=“milk”
Will signing Hinder Language Development? Continued… • For late talking toddlers who have good prognostic indicators as well as toddlers with pervasive developmental delays and other language impairments • Including children with SLI, DS and autism • Gestures can be used to compensate for spoken language • Clinicians may need to train the adults in a child’s environment to exploit alternative modalities such as gestures • JSLHR, Vol 47, 173-186 Feb 2004
Baby Signs® InstituteForging bonds of love and affection that can last a lifetime… • A secure emotional bond with loving parents during infancy lays the foundation for future emotional development • “secure” vs. “insecure” attachment depends on sensitivity and responsiveness on the part of the parent; their ability to “read” their baby well and respond in a timely fashion • Children fall in love with those who meet their physical needs, comfort them, protect them, make them feel loved, understood and respected.
Cont’d… • Signing helps parents to “read” their baby well and respond appropriately • Parents pay closer attention to their child as they look for them to sign • There’s really somebody home in there! • Babies can share their world with their parents increasing the joy that each takes in the other’s company • Successful communication and family interactions can build the child’s self-esteem as well as language abilities, JSLHR, Vol 47, 173-186
Baby Signs® Institute Three approaches… • Birth- 8 months • be patient & persistent • “lag” • 8-12 months • see more immediate results • 12+ months • babies are likely to sign more quickly • babies may use their signs for a shorter period of time • Any baby or toddler who shows readiness to communicate, but cannot do so effectively with words, is a candidate for signing, and, as a parent, you should not feel that it’s too early or too late to start.
Baby Signs® Developmental Readiness • Is your baby beginning to point to things? • Is your baby bringing toys or objects to you & looking for a response? • Is your baby beginning to wave “bye-bye?” • Is your baby beginning to shake his/her head for “no” or “yes?” • Is your baby beginning to take an interest in picture books? • Even though your baby knows some words, are there still important things your baby would like to talk about but can’t?
developmental readiness + individual differences! • How often you demonstrate the signs you want to teach • How interested your baby is in communication
Just like teaching bye-bye ! EYES HANDS VOICE FACE
Steps to Success Start with just a few signs, no more than five. SAY the word and the sign together REPEAT the sign and the word often LOOK at baby when you sign; make sure baby is looking at you HELP baby make the sign
How to Choose Signs • Individualized Plan- choose 5 with parents • Match to the child’s interests • objects, actions and describing words • words your baby cannot say yet • words your child does not say clearly • help in dangerous situations • Prevent frustration • Frequently-used words • Some babies make up their own! Go with it!
Suggested starter signs, Baby Signs® Program • Animals: dog, cat, turtle, bunny • People: mommy, daddy • Things: hat, ball • Mealtime: more, eat, drink, all done • Manners: please, thank you • Safety: hot, hurt
When to teach Signs • During daily routines! • Mealtime, bedtime, bathtime, at the park, pets, getting dressed, etc. • Reading books • Singing songs
Signing at home • www.babysigns.comwww.signingtimes.com • www.aslpro.comwww.signingsavvy.com • Books • I Love You Mommy! (A Little Golden Book) • Mommy, cat, dog, ball, hat, eat, hot, more • Out and About (A DK “Baby’s World” Book) • Mommy, daddy, eat, more, hat, ball, hot, hurt • Biscuit’s new Trick (Alyssa Satin Capucille) • Dog, cat, ball (lots of repetition makes this book a good choice!) • Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown) • Rabbit, mouse, moon, stars, sleep, hush, mittens, kittens, eat, brush • Brown Bear, Brown Bear (Bill Martin, Jr.) • Bear, bird, duck, horse, frog, cat, dog, sheep, fish, children
References • 1. Baby Signs How to Talk with Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk, Linda Acredolo, PhD and Susan Goodwyn, PhD • 2. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research (JSLHR), Vol 47, 173-186 Feb 2004 • 3. The Baby Signs® Program: A Helpful Tool in Bilingual Settings, article by Linda Acredolo, PhD and Susan Goodwyn, PhD • 4. Keeping the Bough from Breaking; Signing and Attachment, article by Linda Acredolo, Ph.D and Co-founder, Baby Signs, Inc.
References cont’d • 5. Before Baby Talk, Signs and Signals, article from The New York Times January 6, 2004 • 6. The Boom in Baby Sign Language, by David Hochman February 5, 2005 Life Magazine
Lisa Keller, M.A. CCC/SLP • firstname.lastname@example.org • Kent County Early On • Lowell Area Schools, Infant-Toddler Program • Independent Certified Baby Signs® Instructor • Baby Signs® Sign, Say & Play Classes • Baby Signs® Parent Workshops • Contact me for running these classes for your program