A young father recently shared with me that his little boy woke up in the middle of the night and was crying. At first the new dad couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but then he noticed his son using his hands. Both he and his wife had been teaching their baby sign language, and their baby was learning sign language at his child care center. So when the little 11 month old looked at his dad, and signed ‘more music’, the father, recognized his signs, and began singing a lullaby to his little boy. The boy put his head on his dad’s shoulder and went back to sleep as his daddy sang him a lullaby. How wonderful to be understood! How great that the father was able to recognize his signs and to understand the intent the boy had in communicating to his father. How wonderful that the baby could feel understood and respected! ahhhh, the beauty of sign language.
Babies, when given a mode of communication that is available to them, can express themselves even when they don't yet have their vocal chords fully developed. They feel empowered with the use of their hands and intentional eye contact.