Does Sign Language Really Help Babies?

What a great question! Many times we are asked here at Signing Time if learning sign language really can help kids and/or babies communicate better, read better or have higher IQs. I’m going to speak from my own experience and link to a few resources that might help you decide how you feel about these great questions.

I’m a father of 4 and have taught sign language, using Signing Time, to my two youngest daughters since they were a few months old. Ok… so let’s be real, my wife has done most of the teaching while I’m here working to help make Signing Time a great community and product. She deserves the credit.

I’ve noticed that my two youngest daughters seem to be able to talk easier, and communicate better with us as parents when compared to my older daughters who did not learn sign language or baby signs. I’d say that with my younger ones there have been less tantrums and meltdowns as well. Is it due to learning sign language with us from Signing Time? Or maybe we’re becoming better parents because we’ve had more practice 😉

Dave Munger over at Cognitive Daily has posted a nice blog on the topic. It’s definitely more scientific in the results and conclusions then my brief examples above, so I highly recommend taking a few short minutes to read his report: Can sign language really help babies get along better?

The study was conducted by a team of people lead by Rachel Thompson with very interesting results that support sign language helping babies. Below are a  few interesting tidbits from the study:

…parents and children universally seem to appreciate the ability to communicate at an earlier age than would otherwise be possible. This study demonstrates that a rigorous laboratory procedure can yield these benefits in the real world.

…so signing may actually make life easier for these children and their parents.

There was a similar post in 2005 on the Cognitive Daily blog discussing if sign language helped to learn a spoken language.

Now that you’ve heard my voice… Let’s hear yours! I’ve created a little poll to get your thoughts. Take a brief moment and let us know what you think by filling out the poll, posting a comment or both.

<a href=”” mce_href=””>In what way has learning Sign Language most helped your Baby or Child?</a><br /> <span style=”font-size:9px;” mce_style=”font-size:9px;”> (<a href=”” mce_href=””> polls</a>)</span>

6 thoughts on “Does Sign Language Really Help Babies?”

  1. My darling grandson, is still to small to comunicate, except for crying & showing signs of fustration already! He watches me closley when I sign to him, & I believe strongly that having a way to communicate is a very important tool in learning, and a way to communicate with him , long before he is verbably able to do so. thank you so much Singing time!!! It was your wonderful show that got me started on this journey. May you continue to be blessed, & do your work on behalf of all the wonderful children, who will benefit from all that you do!

  2. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Learn Sign Language - Signing Time News » Does Sign Language …

  3. Our daughter has Down Syndrome so communication tends to be delayed. We started Signing Time with her when she was a baby. She is now 3 and 1/2. She absolutely loves to sign. She watched us and experimented with her hands and fingers and I believe really found enjoyment and pride that she was able to tell us things way before her words formed. We are still continuing signing with her even though she can now speak quite well. We all really like to watch the new DVDs and learn words through signing.

    Signing not only helps the child with communication, but I think that it is also the interaction between child and parent as well. Children need and love that attention, plus there is a result from all that fun.

    Thank you for providing this wonderful and fulfilling gift to us and so many others.

    The Smith Family

  4. I too have a child with Down syndrome who is 18 months old. She is my third child, and we have all been learning to sign with ST.

    Our experience is that we now think ALL parents would benefit from teaching their children how to sign. We love being out with our older two kids (9 yo and 4) and being able to communicate with them without saying a word. We like saying “NO!” at Target with our two fingers. I love being on the phone and answering a question when I’m being rudely interrupted with my hands. We like when we are at the pool and it is hard to hear to sign “sit down” if our child is misbehaving at swimming lessons. I also can show our oldest that I love her without saying a word during the Halloween parade. We sign all day, and love it.

    Beyond that, it is so neat to see our baby sign “love” and all the other words that are beyond her ability to say right now. She has over 30 signs now, and we would be so frustrated with out the words we’ve learned through ST with her.

  5. Wish I could have checked more than one. Not only has learning Sign Language helped my youngest son, who has Down syndrome, but Signing Time has been the most helpful series to teach him. Before he could speak clearly, William was able to sign his needs to us. At 4½ yrs old, William began reading words he’d seen on Signing Time and currently at 8½ yrs old in the 2nd grade, his reading is at his current grade level. He is in a mainstream classroom and his reading and spelling abilities are better than 50% of his class, according to his teacher.

    ASL has been so beneficial to William’s education that his teacher and specialists have made a note in his IEP that when William is taught anything using Sign Language, he retains that much better than when he is taught something without the use of Sign.

    At home, the ability to sign has aided communication time and time again, most recently when Daddy couldn’t quite make out what William was hurriedly trying to say, so William fingerspelled “M..I..N..U..T..E..M..E..N..” the movie he wanted to watch. Without ASL, I would have had a very frustrated Dad & son on my hands.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top