Sue's Tiny Signers

American Sign Language for Hearing Babies,Toddlers & Adults

                    Frequently Asked Questions...























  • What is the right age to start signing with my baby?
  • Does signing with my baby affect his/her speech developement?
  • How will Sign Language affect my baby's language developement?
  • How long will it take for my baby to produce the signs?
  • What Scientific Research supports the idea of signing with babies?
  • Will it be difficult for my baby to learn & understand the signs used in the SIGN with your BABY Program?
  • Will it be difficult for ME to learn to sign with my baby?


What is the right age to start signing with my baby?

     No age is too early to begin learning and modeling signs with your baby, though most babies will be physically unable to reproduce signs until the sixth to eighth month. A baby needs to develop memory, dexterity, and cognition adequate for recognizing, retaining, and producing signs.

    At the same time, it's never too late to start; even toddlers who have a few spoken words can significantly benefit from signing. Learning specific signs for "ball", "bath", and "bottle" can help distinguish the specific word when "ba-ba" is used for all three items. Using the sign paired with the baby's spoken sound can help reduce frustration for both you and your baby.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Does signing with my baby affect his/her speech development?

       Research conclusively indicates that babies who sign tend to have a stronger command of verbal language and often begin speaking at an earlier age than babies who do not sign.

     Countless parents and caregivers have confirmed these findings with their personal experiences and observations. In addition, many Speech-Language professionals, pediatricians, and educators are supporting the use of signs to encourage early language development.


How will Sign Language affect my baby's language development? 


      Through signs, babies learn that their thoughts can be conveyed symbolically. For example, a baby may think "All I have to do is touch my fingers to my lips and my parents will understand that I'm hungry!" Babies also learn that language can be used to influence others. "I can get Dad to put more crackers on my plate if I sign MORE." Signing lets babies begin to explore and understand the basic functions of language at a very early age.

     Babies can use signs to choose the topic of conversation. This allows them to direct an adult's attention to the things they want to investigate. "All I have to do to get my parents to tell me more about airplanes is make the sign for AIRPLANE."

    In addition to giving babies an early understanding of the functions of language, signs help reinforce the meaning of spoken words, especially when both words and signs are used simultaneously.


How long will it take for my baby to produce the signs? 

     You should take into account the age of your child, how frequently you and other caregivers use the signs, and how interested the child is in communicating. Some parents see results within a few days, others wait several weeks, and others, months. Consistently using a few signs on a daily basis is the key to success in this program. The further along children are in their development, the sooner they may begin to produce signs.

     Allow a few moments for your child to respond after you have followed the correct process of signing while speaking a word. Over-anticipating your child's needs may prevent them from taking the time to draw on their memory and cognition in order to communicate.

    Remember, all babies are different and they will develop along their own unique timelines. Be patient and consistent. Before long, you will experience the joy of witnessing your child's first attempts at two-way communication.


What scientific research supports the idea of signing with babies?
     Joseph Garcia first researched the concept of learning and teaching signs to babies in 1987 as part of his Master's Program at Alaska Pacific University. A longitudinal study was conducted at the University of California at Davis by Drs. Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn. This study, which followed babies through their eighth year, indicated that signing with babies offers many benefits, including a strengthened parent-child bond, increased interest in books, enhanced verbal language development, and higher IQs.


Will it be difficult for my baby to learn & understand the signs used in the SIGN with your BABY ®  Program? 

     No. Most babies learn to identify & then form signs quickly. The structure of American Sign Language (ASL) is compatible with the nature of language development in infants. One sign can relate an entire concept. Young children begin communicating using one-word sentences (in this case, one-gesture sentences) to express complete thoughts or needs. For example, by making a single meanful  gesture by raising their arms, they are able to communicate "Pick me up!"


Will it be difficult for ME to learn to sign with my baby? 
     No. Successfully communicating with your baby doesn't require fluency in American Sign Language (ASL).  Rather, lots of love and repetition!

We recommend introducing a few signs that are relevant to your child's interaction with the world around him/her. We provide a collection of 145 illustrated signs in the SIGN with your BABY® Book, all of which are demonstrated by author Joseph Garcia on the Instructional DVD, and 54 of the most commonly-used signs on the Quick Reference Guide, from which you may select signs that are meaningful to your baby.

 It is most important to be consistent while signing: identify which signs you wish to use, and use them frequently during interactions with your baby.



Frequently Asked Questions AFTER you've Started Signing with your Little One ...

  •  How many signs should I be showing my baby to start with?  Could I be introducing too many signs at one time?
  • How do I know that my baby is really producing a sign and not just playing with her hands?
  • My baby never pays attention to my signing! He always seems too busy!  How can I teach him the signs if he won't look at me?


How many signs should I be showing my baby to start with? Could I be introducing too many signs at one time? 

     Pick a few signs to start with..Make sure they are signs that you can use often with your baby  (Milk, More, Eat, Bath are great ones to get started with!     Use these signs every opportunity you can. Feel free to sign BOOK if your baby is holding a book or BALL when she plays with a ball.  As you say the words and sign them, your Tiny Signer will begin to learn! 


How do I know if my baby is really producing a true sign and not just playing around with her hands? 

     There are several things to watch for and ask yourself as you wach your baby's signs.   Does your baby want something right now?  Is he trying to tell you something? Is the sign repeated everytime the event occurs? Recognized your little ones signs will come with time. When you see your baby doing what you think is a sign, pay attention to what they could be asking for or seeing.  For example, if  you think your baby is signing MORE, watch for this movement to be repeats at times that you can give more. Or if your baby is drinking MILK and appears to sign MILK, watch for the movement to be repeated the next time you give your baby milk. 


My baby never pays attention to my signing! He always seems too busy! How can I teach him the signs if he never looks at me ? 

     Your baby may be paying attention even when you think he is not! Do not stop signing to your Tiny One just because you think he is not paying attention. They are watching you more often than you think!

      Take advantage of the times when your Little One is looking at you. For example, when he is in the highchair. He is going to be in one spot for a certain amount of time and you have something that he wants. Another great opportunity is bath time, when he is again, not going anywhere for a little while... although you may become wet while teaching these signs!  Be involved, be close, and have fun signing!


                       Teach your Tiny Signers when you can.....Relax...... enjoy   evey moment.....and have fun! 

 (Because they grow up toooo fast!!)









"All Done"