Baby Signing Myth #4: ASL signs are too hard for babies (BUSTED!)

MYTH: ASL is too complicated for babies.

Excerpt from SuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years

Whenever I speak to my toddlers, Mendez and Quincy, I use real words so I can provide an accurate model, even though I know they are not yet able to reproduce the sounds I’m making. As children get more speaking experience, they refine their speech and become more capable of accurately pronouncing words. It is a bad idea to invent words to take the place of complex words your child can’t pronounce yet. If he can’t say the word “preschool,” you wouldn’t teach him to call it “baba” because it’s easier. You would just continue to model the correct word until he is able to say it. Similarly, there is no reason to make up your own hand signs because the ASL versions are more sophisticated. You can trust that your child’s motor skills will catch up. – Dr. Jenn

TRUTH: Babies can learn real signs the same way they learn real words.


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1 thought on “Baby Signing Myth #4: ASL signs are too hard for babies (BUSTED!)”

  1. We didn’t make up new signs for our daughter she created her own in a way she could get her point across to us. She never did sign cracker the right way. She would and still does knock on her arm instead of her elbow. And I don’t know what the correct sign is for guitar but she would swipe her hands together as if she was playing the guitar. My husband is under the belief that she would be delayed and would rather sign then speak. With signs for “sorry ” please and thank you. She took longer to actually say the words she would just sign them, usually when we were actually looking at her to see her sign the words. She is almost 3 now, she doesn’t use a lot of the signs now because she can speak fairly well now. But she still signs and says please, thank you and sorry.
    I found learning with her was a great way to connect with and understand her when she couldn’t tell me verbally what she wanted.

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