Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sign Language At 17 Months

Some parents, apparently the enlightened ones, are teaching their children a few words in sign language from the very earliest days. Or very earliest months. It takes a while and is intensive in the amount of work involved, but the young ones learn how to communicate before they are verbal and it seems to help a lot.

Cuts down on crying spells and tantrums, for one thing. The frustration of not being able to tell mommy and daddy what they want can lead to meltdowns.

When the kid wants something, or needs to express a feeling, the sign language comes in real handy. Parents report it works well and their children become verbal at the ordinary age. They almost become bilingual, which is not a bad thing; I’m “bilingual” in Braille and it has been a good thing to know, even when I’m not working with the blind.

There is far less “what do you want, dearie?” when the child can actually tell you in sign language. No more having only one way: crying and guessing what the crying means. “Diaper” is much easier to indicate; “hunger” is another; “pick me up,” similar. Why not? Just because you never experienced it doesn’t mean you can’t use it.

Sure, it takes time; time well invested. But after the two of you get the hang of it, you can sort of chat in a rudimentary way, expressing needs. We are far more intelligent even in our earliest months, than we have been led to believe. So whip out those fingers and make those signs; talk to your tiny infants.


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