Sign Language

Sign language has become an increasingly popular trend in day cares and learning facilities to teach toddlers. Many babies are learning to sign long before they take their first step or form their first word. As a matter of fact, an entirely “new” sign curriculum has been developed; it is called Sign Language 0. It is specifically intended to teach both babies and toddlers one sign per week. The signs that they learn are always toddler-friendly terms that they would use on a daily basis, and are the equivalent to many of the first words that children are able to say.

Studies have suggested that by teaching babies to sign, their overall IQ is raised. They are also able to more quickly develop fine motor skills and enhance vocabulary, while the behavioral outbursts that are typical to babies and toddlers, are greatly reduced.

For instance, the first few signs on the curriculum are the words drink, more, bath, banana, and car! Sign language is taught to youngsters by forming both the verbal and signed word simultaneously in every instance that it is used. Quite quickly, toddlers pick up on the fact that every time they want more, they are free to use both the verbal and sign request.

Language development is one of the fundamental stepping stones that often sets toddlers apart. Some children are extremely verbal and very confident in their ability to express themselves, whereas others are very timid about their auditory communication abilities. By introducing sign language, toddlers are given a level playing field that can enhance social activity, confidence, and eliminate the frustration many toddlers experience by not being able to express themselves coherently.

Studies have suggested that by teaching babies to sign, their overall IQ is raised. They are also able to more quickly develop fine motor skills and enhance vocabulary, while the behavioral outbursts that are typical to babies and toddlers, are greatly reduced. The reason is rather simple, as a baby can use their hands to form signs for things they want by the age of 9 months, whereas few babies are able to actually speak the word until much later. Additionally, the use of the hands and fingers is one of the first motor skills that babies and toddlers are able to gain control of. You will see many 6-month-olds clapping but few actually able to say the word “clap.” This use of their hands to form signs and express themselves is actually easier for them.

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In the toddler years, learning to sign can be an invaluable communicative tool. For toddlers with disabilities, it can become a way for them to bridge the gap between their language abilities and getting their needs met. When teaching sign language to a toddler, it is recommended to teach both the sign and the auditory word so they are encouraged to use both, and therefore develop their speaking skills simultaneously.

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Teaching your toddler to sign can be a fun, useful, and integral way to improve their ability to communicate, as well as build on a useful life skill. By using a toddler system based on American Sign Language, you can ensure they have an avenue of communication for the rest of their lives.

What do you think?

Sign Language

Tell us what you think!


  1. Wenonah says:

    Nope it doesn’t delay language. My oldest son was born into a signing home (we are deaf ourselves) and around when he turned one, the few other girls around the same age in the neighborhood were signing milk, etc before he was. I don’t know if that was because he’s a boy, or because he knew so much more than just the basics that he didn’t just a few words early on. Then too, he hates milk and has never asked for it so teaching him that with the expectation of that being his first word = fail!
    He (because of his hearing) was tested for early intervention and he blew them all away because he tested above average on everything they tested him on. Then in kindergarten he was one of the 2 kids that could read most or all of the 100 sight words at the beginning of the school year.

    There’s a study I read that said bilingual children are just a little bit slower to start speaking (because they are still figuring out which language to use) but that “delay” is momentary because they quickly surpass their peers.

    Teach your babies (and yourselves) American sign language!! There are deaf people all around us, and they can’t learn to hear, but you can learn to sign. Deafness is not a handicap, only the inability to communicate is.

    My 2nd baby is deaf too, and I’ve been signing milk everytime I go to nurse him. Now (he’s 4, almost 5 months old) I am positive he understands the sign because he’ll start moving his mouth and making his ‘hungry noise’ and turn to it.

    As for who’s going to teach the mom… Good question. I would love to teach you while we hang out as friends doing mommy things so find & reach out to deaf people in your community. In person is the best way to learn. Taking a class is a great option.
    The Signing Time series is really good. Check them out from your local library, PBS shows them, and maybe on Netflix, I’m not sure?
    There’s also a website called ASL University by Bill Vicars at – he basically put a college ASL class online and you can go at your own pace.

  2. alicia says:

    I have been signing since my baby was born. Just using basic words and signs like diaper, milk, and eat. He is only 4 months old and I can’t wait to see him recognize and start using them.

  3. Marina says:

    My son is 10 months old. Is he too old or should I start now?

  4. Claudia says:

    I have started teaching my baby and she grasped on to the concept quickly i am impressed

  5. I defiantly want to teach my son sign language. I just dont know where to begin! Anyone have any suggestion or good books to help? Also whats the appropriate age to start? Hes currently only 3 months.

  6. Natasha says:

    I am working on sign language with my son and it is amazing how quickly he picks it up. I mean there are tons of books out there to help parents teach their kids and it makes it so much easier to communicate with your child until they know more words.

  7. i want to teach my child sign language

  8. Jami says:

    We have been teaching our son who is now 4.5 months old how to sign milk, more and mom and dad since he was born. We knew that he wouldn’t pick them up at first but it helped us get into the habit. He watches intently and is now beginning to move his hand when we say and sign the words. It will be interesting to see when he actually signs on his own! You can go to and they have an online dictionary where you can learn how to make the signs if you don’t want to buy materials. You can also print flash cards at that website.

  9. sheenaholman says:

    This is sounding more appealing.

  10. Marti says:

    I would highly recommend Baby Signing Time Videos. You can look them up online and preview a video.

  11. Marti says:

    Our son just turned 3 years, and he is receiving speech services and he has some developmental delays. Sign language has really helped him communicate his basic needs without becoming frustrated or discouraged. If you are interest in teaching you infant or toddler, I would highly recommend the Baby Signing Time Videos. You can order online, or see if your local library has them. They are wonderful!

  12. sheenaholman says:

    Love the idea…but who teaches the mother 😉

  13. Anastacia113 says:

    I love this, and now my 23 month old is trying to sign too 🙂

  14. Grace says:

    i do not know but wish you luck, maybe try a testing center-where the school district sends children to be tested, i agree early help is preventative

  15. Janice says:

    All three of my children were born deaf. The boy’s are my youngest, and are profoundly deaf, and at an early age were being taught sign language as a means to communicate. My daughter the oldest of my children who is also deaf, but is able to lip read and pick up enough sound naturally, and have it amplified to assistance her in processing information, that she not taught sign language as a primary language. But because her young brothers were being taught sign language as a primary language to communicate, she learned from them and from me.

  16. Berangila says:

    How do I get more information for infant/toddler signing for a child with known developmental delays? Been trying to get the therapist to get me information and they tell me noone will work with my daughter until she turns 2. I feel that by 2 it will be to late and we want her to have the same ability to communicate as our other children. Any advice is very welcome. Thank you in advance.

  17. Jeanetta says:

    I think teaching a baby sign language is a great idea, I can’t wait to start teaching my daughter…

  18. Kim Pass says:

    I don’t think it can delay verbal language. It helps your baby communicate more effectively with you. My son used sign language (for "more" "milk" "please") very early on, and he’s a motor mouth now. He had a very large vocabulary at only 18 months. The more signs that are used, along with verbal confirmation of what the sign means, can only increase their vocabulary. I hope that you will use some signs/verbal words with your baby.

  19. Foxin3ss says:

    I don’t think I would want my baby to learn a sign language before an actual language… What if it slows down the baby’s actual speaking language? Can it delay verbal language?

  20. Danielle says:

    Since my daughter was about 7 months she has done the sign for ‘more’ and ‘all done.’ It’s helpful during meal times & I hope we can teach her a few more.

  21. my son was exposed to sign language when he started eating solid food…. he was obviously not signing back right away, but he responded to it with giggles and excitement….. he is now 17 months old and can sign and say about 10 different signs as well as gesturing for anything else he needs…. sign language is FANTASTIC!!! JonnysMommy: i have noticed with some children in daycares i’ve worked in, that their speech gets delayed slightly, but i also noticed that they had parents that either didn’t make them say the word while they sign it….. if you teach your child to say the word and sign it (or at least say it while you sign it) they tend to be right on track or ahead of where they should be with their speech milestones…..

    my son is doing great with his speech and signing while his cousin and my brothers kid are not really talking at all (they are all within a month age wise) because they don’t use sign language…..


  22. JonnysMommy says:

    I’ve heard this can delay verbal language development. Has anyone experienced this?

  23. sayhola says:

    My son is 15 months and uses over 40 signs and gestures! Some days he learns 2-3 in a day!

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