Sunday, March 9, 2008

Teaching Your Toddler To Sign.

In a long-term study funded by the National Institute of Health, researchers found that signing actually makes it easier to teach a baby to talk. Children who had signed as a baby consistently scored higher on standardized tests of both receptive language development (how much they understand) and expressive language development (how much they can say). There are several reasons why this might occur:
Because signing babies communicate earlier, brain development is “jump started” in the development of the neural substrate of language since babies use thinking, planning, and decision-making skills earlier.

Parents who sign with their babies actually speak with their children more. And the more language a baby hears, the faster the language is acquired.

Parents who sign with their babies actually look for reasons to interact with their babies on a verbal level more often. That also increases a baby’s interest in communication and enables the brain to develop faster.

Babies who sign can direct their parents’ attention to objects they find fascinating rather than just listening to labels for things their parents think are important. That means babies are more interested in the conversation.

Signing increases a baby’s interest in even better ways to communicate. When babies see how much they can achieve using signs, they often discover quickly that speaking gets even better results (since Mom can hear requests with her back turned and can’t see the sign).

In an article from USA Today, it is also noted that “11-month-olds who learned gestures outscored their peers in language abilities a few months later, a bonus that remained in place at age 3.” The same research also showed that “those same children outperformed their peers on a standard IQ test given at age 8. Indeed, the 32 children who had learned sign language as babies did an average of 12 points better on the IQ test. They scored an average of 114, while the 37 children who had never learned signs averaged 102. The researchers controlled for family income, education and other factors that influence IQ scores. The average child in the USA gets a 100 on the test."

Article provided by Sign Babies

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