WHERE DOES THE IDEA OF USING SIGNS WITH BABY COME FROM?
This idea may seem surprising at first glance! Indeed, popular belief is that the use of sign language is restricted to people with hearing loss. One of the first uses of sign language with children with typical development occurred in the United States in the 1970s.
This idea is not stupid! The child has needs and comments to communicate well before he can do it with the word. The use of the signs makes it possible to exploit this period of development of the intentions of communication by tooling it with a means of expression which is more accessible to him. For the majority, this communication modality will support the expression and the understanding of the child temporarily and over a short period.
WHY INVEST TIME TO LEARN THE SIGNS WITH MY CHILD?
- The use of Baby On Board Sticker is a means of expression often easier than speech in young children in development. For example, the child does ‘bye bye’ and ‘bravo’ well before saying it with his mouth. However, it is not expected that the sign will be executed perfectly to be able to understand the child!
- It is a means of spontaneous communication such as speech.
- Some studies point to the developmental benefits of a broad and precise vocabulary, the development of IQ, the effects on pronunciation, and the length of utterances. This is possible, but the validity of the studies is to be deepened.
Personally, it is not in this perspective that I value the use of signs. Rather, it is to facilitate communication and interaction in a key period when the child has intentions to be transmitted and has the ability to reproduce signs to actualize a message while being limited by the speech. Some say that this has the effect of giving the child confidence in the discovery of his power of communication. It is also with this aim that the use of signs with babies has grown in the last 10 years in Europe. In the majority of cases, the use of signs will be a very temporary means of expression … but effective and may have positive impacts on its interactions.
UNEXPECTED BENEFITS FOR THE PARENT AND THE CHILD
Adults who use the signs with their children would naturally change certain communication attitudes that have positive impacts on interactions. Indeed, the adult:
- make sure to catch the child’s attention and look before talking to him or her.
- reduces his flow, the length of his statements and adapts his choice of vocabulary.
- would be more likely to use natural gestures, facial expressions and variations of intonation to accompany his speech.
- is inclined to repeat the statements.
- also offer more feedback to the child. The fact that the child expresses himself with the signs allows the parent to better understand the child’s level of understanding, which allows him to better adjust his feedback and expectations.
It is important to note that the use of signs is not necessary to develop these good communication skills, but some observe that the parent would do so more spontaneously when using the signs with his child.
AM I WRONG OR CAN IT BE COMPLICATED TO USE THE SIGNS?
- As a parent, it takes timeto learn the signs yourself. This may seem like a huge task. Rest assured, in fact, after watching the videos you will quickly master the basics to communicate the basic needs of everyday life with your child. At this stage, you do not have to sign everything and you will see that many signs are still instinctive or similar to natural gestures.
- In order for grandparents, siblings and CPE workers to optimize their communication with your child, it is recommended that they also know the signs. Via the application ‘Small Sign’, this transfer of knowledge is facilitated since everyone can access it quickly and everywhere.
- In addition to becoming familiar with the sign repertoire, it is important for the different communication partners to know howthe child is performing the sign (the sign can often be approximated). The ‘Little Sign’ app lets you make small videos of your child and share them so that people know how your child is performing the sign.
Communication with baby is not always obvious. Through the signs, discover an effective tool that will help to avoid some crying.