Anyone who has tried guessing whether their crying infant had a wet diaper, was hungry, tired or just wanted their favorite teddy bear, knows the frustration. A simplified version of sign language can be taught to babies to let parent and child communicate long before the child matures enough to speak. Between 6 months to 3 years of age, babies have the capacity to learn to use their hands to form simple signs that give them the ability to communicate their thoughts and needs.
Mary Hall, owner of Signing 2 Baby, is an independent certified instructor for the Baby Signs® sign language program. Baby Signs, Inc., is the leading developer of curriculum materials and has more than 1,000 certified instructors. The DVDs, CD-ROMs, books and other teaching aids provided help to keep the babys interest and allow both the parent and child to learn and integrate new signs into their daily activities.
As seen on 20/20, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Good Morning America, the developers of the Baby Signs® program, Dr. Linda Acredolo and Dr. Susan Goodwyn, have more than 20 years of research behind their approach. Jane Pauley of Dateline NBC said, Babies are a lot smarter about language than we thought, and long before they can talk they can speak in symbols and gestures.
Several levels of classes are available through Signing 2 Baby. The Sign, Say and Play class runs for six weeks at a cost of $10 per session. Parent and child can attend. The carefully-researched learning sequence begins with a set of basic signs and then expands to anticipate the areas of interest of parent and child alike. Both morning and afternoon sessions are available.
The Parent Seminar is a one-session event for those who feel comfortable learning and teaching with the Baby Sign® materials. The 75-minute workshop introduces all the curriculum materials and discusses the teaching methods that can be successfully employed. The seminar is $15 per person.
Classes for professional child care providers are also available. Instructors can learn the same signs parents are teaching their children to allow the day care person to reinforce the learning process and more effectively understand the childs needs while in their care.
A kit of Baby Signs® teaching materials, which includes DVDs, books, and music, CDs must be purchased through the Signing 2 Baby Web site for each class. Through the site, signing2baby.com, Hall provides more detailed information about the research that went into the development of the baby sign language and the success it has achieved.
The Research page reports that 8-year-old children who were taught baby sign language as infants were compared to their non-signing peers and were found the have scored 10 to 12 points higher on standard IQ tests.
Drs. Acredolo and Goodwyn also have a book titled Baby Signs in which Dr. Robin Hansen, M.D., comments, Baby Signs is one of the best things you can do for your baby. As a pediatrician, I enthusiastically recommend Baby Signs to new parents.
Hall expected to begin classes in Rockford in early August. Registration and classroom kits are available through the Web site, www.signing2baby.com, or by calling 398-9145.
From the Aug. 16-22, 2006, issue