-Babies use ASL for communication
-Toddlers use it for vocabulary
-Preschoolers use it for early reading skills
-Early elementary children use it for sight words and spelling words
-Older elementary children use it for whole body learning and cross brain growth
-Tweens, teens, and adults use it as a second language.
Research on the subject shows that in the realm of cognitive development, it seems that children who learn sign have larger vocabularies than those who don't, and retain superior language skills even after they stop signing. A recent study compared “groups of children who were exposed to sign for a single school year” with groups who were taught a similar curriculum without the use of sign language . The researchers found that those children whose education had included sign developed better vocabulary skills during the year they were signing, and that they retained a larger vocabulary in the following year. At the end of the multiple-year study, the researchers found that “the more varied ways a child is exposed to language, the more retention and learning of that language will take place” (Robertson, 2007).
So to answer the question "When should I start signing with my baby?" 4-6 months is a great time to start, and if you have an older child, why not start today?
Signing Time is a fun and easy way for busy parents to teach their child to sign. Click HERE to check out the full line up of Signing Time products.