I don’t know if you remember that scene from the movie “meet the parents” where Robert de Niro is showing some cards to the baby and later the baby does the signs.
Well it turns out that some time ago (around the 80s) this guy “noticed that hearing babies of deaf parents could communicate their needs and desires at a much earlier age than children of hearing parents.” The guy, Joseph Garcia, started what now is known as Baby Signing.
I’m not going to rephrase all the information on the website, you can read it directly. What impressed me the most is that, for example, a 10 month old baby would probably only know how to wave bye-bye and maybe blow a kiss, yet Baby Signing they know up to 40 signs by that age. Just the fact that they can ask for more food, say stop, ask for a drink, or tell you when they want to sleep is enough, now imagine them asking for help or telling you they want to go home.
A few weeks ago I went to a workshop and I think Leily is starting to make the sign for milk :)
A few things to remember:
- Use a standard signing language, this is always better than inventing your own signs.
- You have to make it fun, not only for your baby but also for you. It doesn’t delay nor stops your baby’s talking, it actually speeds the process.
For South Africa you can go to http://www.babyhands.co.za/ .
The workshop includes materials with South African Signing Language DVDs and a lot of information about Baby Signing. The most important part, for me, was that they show you a video where you can see the technique actually working.