We used it a little, though we liked Joseph Garcia’s “Sign With Your Baby” better because it’s based on ASL and came with a great video.
We weren’t real consistent, but Cranky Jr picked up a few words. Milk, kitty, airplane, flower, more, eat, words like that. A few other moms I know were more dedicated, and their kids did very well with it, picked up a lot of words, and were able to communicate their needs and thoughts earlier. Pretty cool. We stopped altogether when Cranky Jr started talking. I wish we’d kept it up.
We didn’t follow any books or sets of instructions, but since Feynn and I both know some sign language (he has worked with a variety of clients who use it, and I use to date a guy who was deaf), we did teach our girls some basic signs before they were speaking. Just enough so they could let us know of their basic needs (hungry, thirsty, whatever), plus please and thank you.
We quit using them once they were speaking. Maybe we should have kept it up, but I don’t remember enough signs to make them fluent in sign language, and didn’t really have the time to learn more myself.
My parents both signed to me as a baby (they’re deaf) and I started signing a LOT earlier than I could speak. Obviously, with deaf parents it became my first language, but I fully intend to sign to my baby too. I think it’s an excellent way to communicate with your little one before s/he can form words. Good luck.
Mrs. Spritle and I did (still do) the same thing lolagranola described. We know a little ASL and taught some of it to The Littlest Doper[sup]TM[/sup]. We used basic words like: eat, thirsty, you know, the usual.
One thing to consider when using ASL (or probably any signed language) is that babies don’t have the digital dexterity that adults have. TLD isn’t able to stick his thumbs and pinkies out dto make the sign for “play” so he uses his fists. He adapts and so do we.
If an ASL sign is way to involved for him (in our opinion) we make up an easier sign. This language is for him to communicate with us, so it can be very personalized.
We started around 6 months and he started using it around 1 year. He’s now 17 months and will come up to us and make the sign for “eat” when he’s hungry. It’s pretty helpful. It also helps reduce his frustration when he’s trying to tell us something but he hasn’t the vocabulary/vocal control to make the sounds.
I would love to try sign when/if I have a child. My question to those who have used it, do you think it delays the onset of a child speaking? In the sense that they are commicating their thoughts and needs well enough with sign, that there isn’t such an over-riding need to communicate verbally hence, a delay in talking?
In reply to trishdish, I didn’t have any problems with my children learning to speak verbally. As a matter of fact, an afternoon with my children (especially my four-year-old) should alleviate any worries you might have on the subject.
The hearing parents who teach their babies sign language speak at the same time that they use the sign. So the child hears the proper word each time (actually, multiple times, as I tended to repeat things 2 or 3 times when I was trying to cement the sign). Given this and the fact that they are in a world full of spoken sound, I don’t think it delays them. It just alleviates frustration during those early months when they want to communicate but haven’t learned how to form words intelligibly.
I think I have heard some parents say they feel it accelerates the motivation to learn to talk, although I don’t know about that. I know that some of the older Downs syndrome kids I know began to talk better once they used sign language.