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Signing With Babies And Children: How did it all start?

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

How did it all start?

In the late 1980’s, Joseph Garcia, a student at the University of Alaska, became fascinated with sign language. While there were no deaf people in his family, he thought that learning how to sign would be interesting – and he began to study it seriously. Once he had a solid grasp of American Sign Language (ASL), Garcia made a number of friends in the deaf community. This resulted in an observation that changed his life – and the lives of many to come. What Joseph Garcia noticed was that the hearing babies of his deaf friends were on their way to becoming sign language “experts” at around 9 months of age. Yet the 9-month old babies of his hearing friends were not communicating much at all. The difference intrigued Garcia so much that he made it the subject of his Master’s thesis.

Why was it possible, he asked, for deaf babies of that age to communicate by gesturing… but hearing babies of the same age unable to communicate at all?

And if deaf parents could communicate with their hearing babies, would there be any benefit to teaching sign language to the hearing children of hearing parents? Using his infant sons as “test subjects,” Garcia was able to demonstrate the positive effects of signing with hearing babies in his thesis. Eventually, it evolved into his popular program, “Sign With Your Baby.” We’ll discuss the benefits of his program later in this module.

Let the Sign Shine!

Etel Leit, M.S.
Founder & Owner

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

History of Baby Sign Language... it really was not long ago that Dr. Garcia was researching the affects of signing at a young age and then the research that followed and continues to follow is groundbreaking.

As a mom and educator, signing has really empowered me with the ability to teach.

What a gift to be able to teach in a visual way without ever having to hold up a pencil and paper. It is a teaching tool that you can bring with you always^_^... that long car-ride home or that hush hush church meeting.^_^