Several independent researchers in the field of language development have found that signing with hearing babies typically improves overall language and speech development, rather than hinders it. One study followed families for eight years and found that many of the children who signed as infants had higher IQ’s, better reading and spelling skills, more interest in books and a more sophisticated understanding of language by the time they were in second grade. Your hearing child hears an average of 4,500 words throughout the day and is receiving constant auditory input, so your little one won’t choose signing over speech. Speech is a natural reflex in all babies; even deaf babies babble until it’s no longer self stimulating. A hearing, signing baby’s speech skills will progress normally, barring any unrelated physiological difficulties. Furthermore, when you sign with your pre-verbal baby, you are targeting receptive and expressive language many months before speech is possible. Babies have language skills and control over their hands long before their vocal chords are developed enough to produce intelligible speech. Many of our former clients have reported that their signing babies began speaking earlier than their non-signing peers, expressed more detailed thoughts sooner and have grown into extremely articulate toddlers! Finally, the analogy of how a baby learns to crawl before walking is a good comparison for how communicating through American Sign Language (ASL) leads to communicating through speech. As infants, we carry our babies because they aren’t developmentally able to crawl yet. Once they can crawl, we “allow” them to do so. We never worry that a crawling baby will chose crawling over walking. Babies crawl and then walk when they are physically able to do so, and both are innate natural reflexes. The same is true for babies when they babble, sign and then speak. They communicate with whatever is developmentally available to them at the time and the final phase of talking, like walking, does happen when your baby is physically able to execute that skill. Just as being carried or crawling does not impede a baby’s ability to walk, signing does not impede a baby’s ability to speak. Finally, as you will learn in our classes
, you’ll only be focusing on American Sign Language vocabulary, not ASL sentence structure, and will be speaking and signing at the same time, so you’ll be exposing your child to more language, not less! Please visit our Supporting Research page
to read the findings of current independent studies.