Baby signing hits mainstream, book published by AAP touts benefits


SALT LAKE CITY, UT November 18, 2010 – When the concept of using sign language with hearing babies was first introduced to the American public, critics dismissed it as a “parlor trick.” Since that time, infant signing has become an accepted parenting practice and has been integrated into early childhood education programs. In the recently-released second edition of “Heading Home with your Newborn: From Birth to Reality,” published by the American Academy of Pediatrics*, authors Laura Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP comment on this phenomenon:

Infant sign language really does deliver on its promise of improved communication…It’s easy to see why so many parents swear by it, and why childcare centers include it in their infant and toddler classrooms, and why it has become so commonplace as an activity of daily learning.” pp. 173-174

The popularity of baby sign language is no surprise. Parents who sign with their babies before they learn to talk see the immediate benefit: reduced frustration. Signing helps them know what their babies want, allowing them to respond to their needs quickly. It cuts down on the guesswork that is common to parenting a preverbal infant.

“Their hands give them a clear and powerful ‘voice’ – quite a contrast to the whining and pointing traditionally associated with toddlerhood,” said Rachel Coleman, co-creator and host of the popular series Baby Signing Time. “The truth is, that using ASL signs with hearing babies is revolutionizing early learning and parenting in America.”

Early childhood educators have been quick to incorporate signing because it can reduce incidents of biting and other aggressive behaviors. In addition, when signs and words are used together in daily learning activities, teachers have a powerful tool for building vocabulary and teaching early reading skills. Signing allows young children to become physically engaged when learning a word, listening to a story or practicing the alphabet. In recent years, classes on baby signing have become standard fare at professional conferences for early childhood educators, both at the national and local levels.


Baby Signing Time is a captivating and entertaining series produced by Two Little Hands Productions. Baby Signing Time features Emmy-nominated host, Rachel Coleman and introduces ASL signs to infants, toddlers and preschool children of all abilities. Two Little Hands Productions also produces the popular Signing Time series, now showing on public television.


*The views and opinions expressed in Heading Home with your Newborn are those of the authors and do not constitute an endorsement by the publisher, the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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