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What's Going On In There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life
- By Lise Eliot, Ph.D

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Boost Your Child Intelligent with Baby Sign


All parents with a newborn should demonstrate to their baby simple sign language at the same time while talking to them. Two or three commonly used concepts like "drink", "eat" and "more" are easy to teach and do.

Why is baby sign language important? It is the easiest way for an infant and a parent to communicate with other aside from crying. It is ease to demonstrate. Babies can understand sign language in several weeks. Babies who understand sign language are happier babies and less frustrated. They are advanced too in acquiring spoken words.

Crying is the first communication skill of infant. Most mothers can tell the cry of hunger and the cry of being wet. Certainly the cry of pain is familiar to almost all parents. Parents should not use crying as the main method of communication of their baby. They should try their best to reduce crying in their baby.

If a parent consistently uses the sign for "drink" at least three times before giving the bottle of formula, after several weeks, the baby will associate the "drink" sign for the formula that will satisfy her hunger. Another few weeks, when the baby is hungry, she would learn to make the actual sign language which is bringing the palm towards her mouth. She would start using the sign for "drink" often because it makes her mom come with a bottle of formula. This method of communication is easier and happier than crying when she is hungry or thirsty. Now that she can get the attention of her mother by doing the sign for "drink" her frequency of crying will dramatically decrease. Goodbye crying, welcome sign language.

Cullen started to learn sign language at about 8 month old. By 12-month-old, the boy was able to do a "two-word" sign language such as "more drink" and "all gone". According to Cullen's mother, he could do sign language for "thank you", "more", "help", "eat", "yes", "clap" and "bad". His mother said that he is a happy boy and does not get frustrated because he can do some sign language. If he wants to drink, he makes a "more drink" sign and if he is hungry, he does the sign for "eat more."

Results of Baby Signs Study by Linda Acredolo, Ph.D and Susan Goodwyn, Ph.D showed that baby sign actually increase the language and cognitive development in baby. More than 140 families were studied when their babies were eleven months. Each baby was assigned to Baby Signing or Non-Signing groups. Both groups were about similar at the start of the study in terms of: sex and birth order of the children, their tendency to vocalize or verbalize words, and the parents' income level and education.

Both groups were assessed at 11, 15, 19, 24, 30, and 36 months old using standardized language measurements. As many children as could be relocated at eight years old were assessed using the WISC-III IQ test, the most commonly used measure of intelligence in children.

The result of the study showed that at 24 months old, the groups of Baby Signers were on average talking more like a 27 to 28 months old compared to the Non-Signing group. This is a three-month advanced in language that the Non-Signing group. The Baby Signer group was putting much longer sentences. The 36-month-old Baby Signer group was talking like 47 months old making them about one year ahead in language development than the Non-Signer group. At eight years old, the Baby Signers had an average of 12 points higher in IQ on the WISC-III than the Non-Signer group (114 vs 102).

This long term follow up showed that babies who learned Baby Sign from 11 months old had a more advanced language and cognitive development.

Baby Signs, Revised Edition: How to Talk with Your Baby Before Your Baby Can Talk by Linda Acredolo, Ph.D and Susan Goodwyn, Ph.D, Page 28, Copyright 2002

Sign with Your Baby Complete Learning Kit is a training kit developed by Dr. Joseph Garcia to enable you to communicate at new levels with your baby long before she can speak.



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