Researchers from Emory University Determine Videos Helpful for Children Learning Communication

By Colleen Brunetti, M.Ed., C.H.C.

If you’re already a fan of Baby Signing Time, the results of a recent study by researchers at Emory University will come as no surprise. If you’ve ever secretly wondered if using our videos really helps, or if you should be concerned about using the videos with children under age two (a topic we tackle HERE), the results may offer some reassurance. What is particularly exciting about this research is that it looked specifically at sign language acquisition and retention, so the results speak very directly to what we do here at Two Little Hands Productions.

A recent article on entitled, “Infants can learn to communicate from videos, study shows” details the findings of the research. From the article, “Emory’s study found that babies were consistently able to understand the signs and photos of the corresponding objects after watching an instructional video for 15 minutes, four times a week for three weeks. Babies who watched the video performed just as well in tests as babies who had been taught signs by their parents in similar conditions.”

One additional interesting result also noted that after a week with no instruction, babies in the parent-supported groups were able to produce a greater number of signs overall. This is actually quite encouraging. One thing we always tell parents is to not let our videos become just a babysitter (although we all need a break now and then and Baby Signing Time is a nice way to provide that!). What we mean, however, is that parents should be actively involved in teaching their children signs and interacting right along with them while watching the video. After all… what good is a pre-verbal infant using signs to communicate when you don’t know the signs yourself? Therefore, we find the results of this study to support our recommended methodology beautifully.

Mother and Daughter Signing Together

In the article, the researchers do mention that they “can’t speak for the short-term or long-term cognitive effects of video exposure for infants overall – only the potential for instruction.”

Fair enough! However, our white paper: Signing with Babies and Children, details both the short and long-term cognitive effects of learning sign language – and those, we know, are both vast and extremely valuable!

It’s nice to know that science is backing up a little about what we do. What really counts though is your personal experience with our Baby Signing Time videos. Have they helped your child or your family? We’d love to hear how! Let us know by contacting us via email or sound off on Facebook!

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