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Sign Language with Babies & Children Lock Rss

Hi smile

I'm looking for other people interested in using sign language with pre-verbal hearing babies & children as a bridge to verbal communication.

Shell smile

Hi again smile

Just incase anyone is interested... I have started up an MSN community called AUSLAN/Makaton Resources
I have invited ppl from other AUSLAN or Makaton sites I have found & so far have 2 new members so if you have any questions you could get some expert replies There is a page of links that can be added to by any member, a page of documents that can be added to by any member, & a chat room & discussion board. All it need now is a few people to get it started with a few questions...

Shell smile

Shell smile

Can you give us more information on what this is about please!!!!

Sounds interesting

Lee,QLD,18/12/02 baby girl 26/09/05 baby boy

Hi Lee smile
Thx for you reply! Yes... I can definitely give more information smile I'll have to apologise now that it will be a bit long winded though :/

(from - cropped)
Sign language is commonly associated with hearing impaired individuals, but it can be used by hearing parents, to communicate with your hearing child. Infants develop the fine muscles in their hands before they develop those required for speech, so they're equipped to communicate with you before they can speak.

Most babies will invent their own "signs" to get their meaning across. A baby may learn to wave bye-bye, for example, or point to his or her nose when it needs a wipe. Why not encourage this natural communication and develop a system of gestures (based on sign language if you wish) to use on a daily basis with your child?

(from - cropped)
Research shows that babies who learn sign language are able to communicate their needs much earlier than children who use spoken language alone. Children as young as six to eight months old are able to understand and sign basic words such as "milk", "more", and "all finished". This helps to reduce frustration in both children and parents, thus, reducing tantrums and behavioral outbursts. Sign language is a beneficial tool to make communication more clear between you and your children.

One common myth is that if a child learns sign language, he/she will be less likely to learn to speak. The opposite is actually true. Because the child is able to communicate clearly what he/she is thinking, the parent or caregiver is able to provide positive reinforcement and additional communication, thus encouraging the child to seek out other ways to communicate (i.e. gestures, pantomime and speech). For example, if your child signs the word "cookie", you respond by saying "Oh, you'd like a cookie? Okay, just one cookie because you need to save room for dinner." You are able to have a complete conversation with your child, which is extremely rewarding for both the parent and child.

The use of sign language may even accelerate speech development. Signing accelerates a child's understanding of the concepts of language. Signs allow them to use language at an earlier age, so they come to realize that symbols can represent specific thoughts and that using these symbols can help them get what they want, interact meaningfully with others, and express what's on their mind. They also get practice in defining concepts; for example, learning the sign for horse and the sign for elephant helps children pay attention to the distinguishing features of each of these animals. As they learn how horses and elephants are alike and different, they refine their concepts of "horse", "elephant" and "animal". Signs allow children to actively explore these concepts by getting feedback from adults. If they sign the word "cat" for concept "dog", they are likely to be corrected and the correct concept will be reinforced.

Sign language is extremely useful for older children for improving vocabulary skills and grammar. Learning English is made easier through the use of sign language as a visual aid. Research indicates that learning a second language, including sign language, actually increases IQ scores. Because sign language is a visual language, both the language cortex (in the left hemisphere) and the visual/motor cortex (the right hemisphere) of the brain are stimulated simultaneously, thus improving eye/hand coordination and general motor function.

Aside from proven research, parents have reported that after learning sign language as a communication tool, discipline or direction can be given to a child in public without the use of voice, thus minimizing embarrassment for the child. In addition, signing enhances bonding and attachment and empowers babies with the ability to influence their own environment.

smilesmilesmile well thats just excerpts from 2 sites that I know of! just put "baby signs" in your search engine & you will see what I mean. It's really popular in the States, UK, & Canada in particular & is just starting in Aus.

Please let me know what you think...

Shell smile

Shell smile

Thanks for the info, sounds quiet interesting. It makes a lot of sence, I have never heard of this.

How old is/are your child/children??


Lee,QLD,18/12/02 baby girl 26/09/05 baby boy

Thx Lee smile
I'm happy that you are interested. I think it's a really beneficial program. I have a Goddaughter Rheanna who just turned 3yo, a neice 16mo who they are starting sign with, & a new neice or nephew due 28 June smile unfortunately none of my own yet sad
Shell smile

Shell smile

You do get around, Shell! lol

Emma, ds 2.5yrs, ds 10mths

Hi Emma smile

I sure do! LOL
Seriously... the more exposure the better!

Shell smile

Shell smile

Im interested. My son is 6 months. I have a friend with a downs syndrome child. He is 7 and still does not speak much at all.They use makaton. He attends my sons school, they have two special classes there and use makaton.

Just thought you should know that my wife and I have been running Baby Sign Language workshops across New Zealand for the last 12 months and will shortly be starting workshops in Australia.

We have based our system around NZSL and Auslan and have taught over 1000 parents how to use Baby Sign Language. Our company is called Baby Talk and the website is We'd love to hear from parents in Australia who would be interested in finding out more.
My little man, Matui, is 4.5 months, and I'm already teaching some signs... Incy Wincy Spider is great - spider, sun, rain... He thinks it's very funny! And of course we have 2 dogs, 2 cats, a bird and some fish - all of which have signs!

I originally found out about this on a developmental e-mail I get from a couple of US sites and apparently they are pushing Baby Signing really strongly in the US and UK.

I bought a book called Baby Signs by Linda Acredolo and Linda Goodwyn - Dymocks Online have it for $28 ish + P&H.

I'm really looking forward to being able to have conversations with Matui about things - already he's an inquistive little boy, and loves books and pictures.


Hi Shell,

I am interested in teaching my 10 month old baby Auslan. A few years ago I started to learn myself but through lack of practice have forgotten almost everything!

I taught oral children with hearing-impairments for many years before becoming a mum and I can really see the value in being bilingual.

Do you know of any classes/groups for little ones on the NSW northern beaches area?

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