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Signing With Babies And Children: Recognition and Understanding

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Recognition and Understanding

While we anxiously wait for our baby or toddler to produce his/her first sign, remember that recognition and understanding of our signs comes first.  Give your baby time to integrate the meaning of your hand movements that express language, compared to those that are used for other purposes.  Once your child understands your signs, the motivation to communicate back will be endless!

When my older son was about 5 months old, we were on the floor playing with some of his favorite toys.  I signed, without using my voice, "Where-Cow".  Well, he looked at the 4 or 5 toys in front of him and pushed his cow toward me.  Needless to say, I was amazed!  It was about 5 - 6 weeks later that he began so sign!

My younger son, at 4 months old, was in my friend's arms and becoming fussy.  So I got his eye contact and signed (no voice) "Milk?" with my eyebrows raised.  He completely calmed down and I got ready to nurse him.

There have been countless times, even once my children started signing and had full use of speech, that I have signed to them asking a question, making a request, or in response to a need of theirs.  

Hopefully your child will start signing soon, to express his/her needs, desires, and thoughts to you.  Along the way, keep in mind how important the process of understanding (receptive language) is to this process as well.

Happy Signing!  ~  Lora, 


SignShine said...

I loved your emphasis about the process of signing when children understand that you sign with them. You are right- the motivation to communicate back will be endless once we see they truly understand us! Thank you Lora.

Kelly - Sign2Connect said...

I couldn't agree more with the post! Parents and care providers can be watching for cues that baby sends when understanding is there!
"The Swim" as we call it: when baby's arms and legs wiggle back and forth.
Salivation: mostly in boys - babies will salivate when they recognize something.
Other patterns that take place when a sign is shown which signifies the baby's recognition of the concept.