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Signing With Babies And Children: "Help, my daughter has stopped saying words and just signs now!!"

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Help, my daughter has stopped saying words and just signs now!!"

Today I heard about a 1 year old little girl, who had previously been able to say a few words, has recently stopped speaking and is just signing.
Physical deficits and lack of verbal stimulation were quickly ruled out. There were also no major traumatic events in her life at the time.

Of course what the other moms in the class thought was “OMG, what if the rumours are true and Signing DOES stop speech development? Does it make them lazy?”

Let me emphatically say ‘NO IT DOES NOT!’.
40 years of research has proven that Signing enhances verbal development. To my knowledge there has never been any evidence to suggest the contrary.

I have seen this a few times in my 5 year career as Baby Signing teacher. Around the age of 12-14 months, babies hit a major developmental milestone. Apart from the physical (starting to walk or pull themselves up), their understanding of the world also increases – and with it their vocabulary. Some babies go through a brief time where speech is put on the backburner while the information is processed – only to then burst out with a language explosion which surprises the parents! This is perfectly normal in the area of speech and language development and other areas of development as well.

My advice for those who are going through this experience is: Don’t stop Signing, carry on and make sure you always say the word. Be patient – and prepare to be amazed!


SignShine said...

So true! Thank you Katja for clarifying this beautiful developmental milestone. It makes it easy to understand. I heard from a child psychologist that when a child acquires a new skill, the drop all the other skills and concentrate on the new one. You gave the best advice --- Keep Signing!

Baby Fingers said...

Young children often thrive in one area at at time. That's why sometimes you'll meet a baby the same age as yours, but yours is silent and crawling while the other one is babbling all in one place. Also, you may find that your baby was clapping a month ago, and no longer claps--- but has three new signs. Don't fret-- the clapping will return! Be patient and persistent. We all develop at our own pace, and in unique spurts.

Holly Tried It said...

I noticed my daughter would drop her signing for a few days while she developed a speech explosion, but then the signing would return. She's two and a half now and signing and talking like crazy.