About Signing for babies, toddlers and talkers...
Some common questions.
What is Baby Signing?
Baby Signing is the term used for signing with babies using keyword signing from various signing systems. They encourage babies and children to communicate their needs, emotions, desires and objects prior to spoken language development. By combining speech with signs, language and communication skills are instilled as the child continues to develop their vocabulary.
Will it affect Speech?
Not at all, unless the home environment a non-spoken one! A baby in a spoken environment has every opportunity to speak. Every baby naturally learns to sign at least one word in their life: 'Bye Bye!’ They see the wave of the hand at the same time as they hear the word. That is why 'Bye Bye' is often one of the first words they say! It has been shown that using signing alongside speech in fact enhances verbal communication.
My baby is under 5 months, can we start earlier?
Our recommendation is from 5 months old as this is when babies are more receptive. We do welcome babies under 5 months as we recognise there are parents returning to work after 6 months. Babies are more likely to need a feed, a change of nappy or may fall asleep during sessions, all of which are absolutely fine during the sessions.
Is it too late to start?
It is never too late to start. You can implement signing at any stage with your baby or child for whatever reason. It will always be beneficial to you both.
What signing system do we use?
Here, at The Signing Company, we use British Signing Language (BSL) signs.
Do Signing Babies, Toddlers and Talkers use the grammar of BSL?
No, in these classes we are using BSL signs and are signing keywords of each sentence.
What is Keyword Signing?
Keyword signing is signing the main word(s) of each sentence.
Is baby signing just for babies?
No, not necessarily! “Baby signing” is the term used for signing with babies. The signs that we use in our classes are suitable for children at any age. However a 5 year old probably doesn’t need to use the sign for MILK and so would look for age appropriate signs. Even adults use these signs.
Why are there different signs for the same word
OR the same signs for different words?
There are different signs for the same words due to regional variations in signs, like accents in the spoken language. The sign for toilet has around 15 different signs (variations).
And the same signs for different words are when descriptions or characteristics are similar. (i.e. Man and Goat are the same signs along with Strange and boy are the same signs too)
This happens just the same as the English spoken language, Their, There and They’re, Here and Hear or Mail and Male.
What is the difference between BSL and what Mr Tumble uses?
Mr Tumble uses Makaton! Makaton is a sign and symbol system used to support speech. The majority of signs in BSL and Makaton are the same; a small minority of signs are different. For example – More, Horse, Red and Cat. It is always good to know the two differences as you may come across both system at some point.
We are bi-lingual, will using BSL confuse my daughter further?
No, Babies and young children can learn quite a few languages comfortably. When learning two or more languages – sign language is a perfect tool as it helps to connect the both sides of the brains. The two hemispheres are working together to link two different language words to the same object! As Laura Berg from My Smart Hands explains: http://mysmarthands.com/baby-signing-in-bilingual-or-multilingual-homes/