Six Baby Sign Language Myths
Here are six common myths surrounding baby sign language — the information provided should alleviate any personal concerns, and could be used to respond to the misgivings of family members or friends.
Myth 1: Sign language will delay speech
This myth stems from the misconception that sign language replaces verbal communication. This is not the case since speech always accompanies signing. While teaching signs, parents consistently repeat words to help babies make the association between the sign and the word. Sign language actually exposes babies to more speech. Research has shown sign language to accelerate the development of babies’ oral communication.
Myth 2: Baby sign language is a fad
The history of baby sign language reaches back almost 100 years. It has gained popularity as of late (Robert DeNiro’s shenanigans with his signing grandson in Meet the Fockers may have had something to do with this), but baby signing is no passing fad. Speech therapists have been using sign language for years, and children of deaf parents have had generations of first hand use and success.
Myth 3: Baby sign language is not endorsed by educators
Early child development organizations are increasingly incorporating sign language into their curriculum. Many educators with a background in language acquisition consider sign language essential when it comes to early childhood education and development. They cite many cognitive and developmental benefits. Language abilities are also improved as sign language can serve as a bridge between two languages.
Myth 4: Teaching will take too much time and effort
Camping can help children realize their capabilities and become more independent. Learning how to be responsible and take care of themselves and their environment can help boost their self-esteem and give them the confidence they need to face other life experiences. After children spend time camping, they may come away with a new understanding and appreciation of the outdoors and how to be more self-sufficient.
Myth 5: Teaching babies sign language is pushing too hard
It is a wonderful way to unplug from the digital world and become inspired by the beauty of nature. It provides families with opportunities to observe awe-inspiring sunrises and sunsets, search for bright stars, look for interesting wildlife, wake up to the melodic songs of birds, and experience the many wonders that nature can bring. These experiences help cultivate a profound sense of appreciation and satisfaction and can give children a newfound confidence to explore, discover, and create.
Myth 6: Baby sign language will confuse baby
One might think babies will not understand what parents are signing. This is partially true: early on, they will not understand what parents are signing or what they are saying. However, as parents continue to talk and sign, comprehension and association will set in. They learn to sign just like they learn to talk; only they have the motor skills to sign much earlier. As we discussed earlier, they’ll soon develop the oral skills and talk nonstop! These questions will come up repeatedly.
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