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Signing With Babies And Children: Sign Language Requires that One Communicate Without Multitasking

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Sign Language Requires that One Communicate Without Multitasking

I had a parent share with me that one of the hardest part of signing is that you actually have to use your hands and eyes to communicate and most of the time we're too busy to have our hands and eyes free. We are so used to holding our phones and ipads in our hands, that we often don’t have time or the ability to use our hands to communicate. Our eyes are often so focussed on the screens in our lives that we run the risk of losing the ever critical skill of eye contact. We are so busy doing things and multitasking while with our babies and children, that we often don’t take the time to just focus on communicating with our babies. The beauty of sign language is just requires that you put other things down, and give that quality time that involves your undivided attention to your child.

By exposing our children to sign language, we are exposing them to a more effective way of communicating - one that incorporates body language and facial expressions. Studies have shown that listeners learn from nonverbal cues most often, especially in deciphering feelings and attitudes (Mehrabian, 1972). When our body language conflicts with our words, effective communicators are able to focus on the nonverbal messages.

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