Little Hands Speech Therapy, LLC
Your Subtitle text

Baby Sign Language Workshop Information & FAQ


Little Hands Baby Sign Language Classes

Promote Your Page Too

Why should you sign with your baby?

Your 8-month-old could ask for milk when she's hungry.

Your 10-month-old could tell you he saw an airplane.

Your 15-month-old could tell you if she has an earache.

 

Sign Language:

    •    Helps babies talk sooner... and boost spoken vocabulary

    •    Empowers babies to initiate conversations about what they want to talk about

    •    Reduces frustration

    •    Provides a strong foundation for early literacy

    •    Stimulates intellectual development

(Acredolo and Goodwyn)



Ready to jump-start communication?  Ready for more signing and less whining?  Then our workshops are for you!


Workshops

At Little Hands Speech Therapy we teach baby sign language workshops using a combination of the Tiny Fingers curriculum as well as activities used in speech therapy to promote communication.  Our 90-minute workshop is jam packed with signs, songs, books, and activities centered around learning and using American Sign Language (ASL).  You'll learn over 50 signs PLUS how to teach these signs to your child and incorporate signing throughout your day.  The workshops are geared towards both parents and children and I work directly with both the babies and parents.  I suggest taking the workshop when your baby or toddler is most receptive to learning and using sign language, usually between 6 months and 2 ½ years of age.  However, younger babies are welcome too and many parents are eager to start learning early.  Topics rotate monthly and include: basic signs, mealtime signs, animals, playtime, bedtime, and bath signs.  Each family will receive a packet of signs (including photographs) and songs as well as ideas of activities to incorporate sign language throughout your day.  Workshops are held one Saturday each month throughout the year or upon request for your private group.  Please contact us to get a quote for your group at Kelli@littlehandsspeechtherapy.com or select  "register" from the drop down menu to register for a workshop.


Baby Sign Language FAQ:

Q1. Why should I sign with my hearing child when he is already developing normally?
Signing with your pre-verbal baby can:
     •Accelerate verbal language development
     •Increase his IQ.
     •Increase his interest in books.
     •Stimulate intellectual development.
     •Change the way you interact with him.
     •Empower him to express his wants, needs, and feelings sooner. 
     •Reduce frustration and avert temper tantrums.
     •Build infant self-esteem.

Q2. When should I start signing with my baby?
A. In their book, Baby Signs, Drs. Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn suggest you can start modeling signs from birth.  After 6 months, however, babies are more likely to possess the ability to remember signs and the motor skills to produce them.  You can consider the indicators of readiness below to determine whether your baby is showing interest in communicating.  An answer of "Yes" to any one of them means that this is a good time to sign with your pre-lingual baby or toddler.  For most babies, this readiness falls between 8 and 12 months of age although sign language can be useful to fill in the gaps of communication through toddlerhood.

•Is your baby at least 6 months old?
•Is your baby bringing objects to you and looking for a response?
•Is your baby beginning to wave bye-bye or clap hands?
•Is your baby beginning to shake his head "yes" or "no"?
•Is your baby beginning to take an interest in picture books, playing
“so big” or in finger plays (i.e., itsy bitsy spider)?
•Is your baby frustrated when you don't understand what he needs?
•If your baby is a little older, are there still important things he or she doesn't have words for?
  It’s not too late!

Q3. How long will it be before my baby signs to me?
A. It depends, but if you begin signing when your child is 6-7 months old it is quite possible that by the time your child reaches 8-9 months he will be signing to you. Some children do not start signing back until they are closer to 12 months old. Typically, they will start with the signs and gestures that involve facial expression (blowing, panting), then whole arm signs (i.e., bye bye, clapping), then hand signs (i.e., more, milk) and finally signs involving various hand shapes and more dexterity (i.e., cat, pointing) Once they have internalized the meanings of the signs and have developed the cognitive and motor skills necessary to sign, they will communicate to you.  This process is similar to a child learning speech.

Q4. Does using sign language with babies interrupt or delay a child’s speech development?
A. Actually, research states the opposite is true. Using American Sign Language with your child can accelerate speech development.  Since they are already using language in their heads and putting signed words together to communicate things, once their articulators are able to form the sounds, they quickly add speech to their signs. Gradually, they drop the signs and only use the spoken word.  Much like crawling does not inhibit a child’s ability to walk; there has been no indication of a resulting speech delay from signs. See my website for supporting documentation resulting from 20 years of research by Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn.  

Q5. Do I have to learn an entire new language?
A. The intention of using sign language is not to teach you or your child a second language, but to facilitate earlier communication.  You will be supporting spoken English by modeling signs for key words.  Your child will then sign those key words that will become launching pads for language exposure.  

Baby Signs “pull” verbal language from adults
When babies use Baby Signs to call attention to things, adults quite naturally respond with lots of appropriate words (e.g., “Oh! You see a kitty! That’s right! That
is a kitty! That kitty looks just like our kitty, doesn’t it!”). And
we know that the more language a baby hears, the faster language acquisition proceeds.

Acredolo, L. and Goodwyn, S. Baby Signs: How to Talk with Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk.
New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 2002