#179 Title:

Baby Signs

Special Guest: Nancy Cadjan, founder of Sign Babies, author and podcast host/creator

Description: What if your baby could "talk" to you before he or she could actually speak? Learn how to sign with your child at every age and every stage, and the benefits, with Nancy Cadjan, creator of Sign Babies.

Duration: 43:48

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Show Index:
00:25 Lucky You: Flash Cards
01:17 Intro: Baby Signs
04:02 Do You Have to Use ASL?
08:36 Benefits to Signing
12:01 How to Get Started
17:26 What Age is Appropriate?
23:55 About Sign Babies & Nancy
26:28 Listener: Signing with Siblings
28:41 Listener: Get Teachers on Board
32:42 Sign Babies Flash Cards
38:05 Baby Signing 123 Book
41:14 Closing Comments
42:35 Closing Track: Good Old War

Special Guest:

Music Spotlight:
rss Music: Good Old War
rss Tracks: World Watching

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About Sign Babies

About 10 years ago, Nancy Cadjan saw a program discussing why to teach baby sign language. She began doing her own research and reading everything she could on signing with babies and even introduced her friends to the information on signing.

Quick Links

Sign Babies Site

Sign Babies on Facebook

The Mom Podcast

Babies and Moms: Birth and Beyond

Nancy's Own Experience

When Nancy's son was 8 months old, she began signing with him. By 10 months, Alex was signing back MILK and EAT. By 12 months, he was signing APPLE, BANANA, and MORE. By 14 months, he signed over 40 signs including things like SLEEP, MOON, STARS, PLAY, CAT, DOG, PLEASE, THANK YOU, and so forth.

Then, an amazing thing happened when Alex reached 16 months. He began to speak all the words he knew how to sign. He knew how to speak over 100 words! This is amazing when you consider that most 14-month olds can say 5-10 words.

And if that was not enough, Alex decided to learn the alphabet and numbers 1-9 on his own. He had seen them on a Sesame Street video when he was sick and then stood up and went to the fridge where a few letter magnets were and said, "A, H, C, X!" That was the start.

By 18 months, Alex could say over 200 words and started putting multiple word sentences together. Alex mixed words and signs to express himself. His first 4-word sentence was "Drink go fall down" when his sippy cup fell off the high chair.

Why Signing Works So Well

What is it about signing with your baby that helps children develop more than just an ability to communicate?  Parents express that their children who sign tend to be well-adjusted, more even tempered, more polite, and generally better learners.  Why?  Scientists have shown that certain factors in the first years can help children develop to their full potential.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, these include the following:

• Feeling special and valued
• Feeling safe and loved
• Knowing what to expect from their environment
• Having guidance
• Experiencing a balance of freedom and limits
• Being exposed to language (and to more than one if possible)
• Being exposed to play, exploration, books, music, and age appropriate toys

Babies Who Sign

• Speak at the normal time or sooner than their counterparts who do not sign.

• Have larger vocabularies when they do begin to speak.

• Have more interest in reading.

• Have better skills in spelling and reading.

• Score higher than their nonsigning counterparts on verbal and language tests and have higher IQ scores even as old as age eight.

• Have a better sense of self-confidence because they can get their needs met.

• Have parents who are less frustrated, because they spend less time in the guessing game trying to figure out what their baby needs.

• Have a start on a second language, which develops more of the brain earlier and promotes lifelong language learning abilities.

• Develop both sides of their brains at a higher rate (recent brain scans show that babies who sign have increased activity on both sides, which may occur because signing is visual, motor, and linguistic in nature).

• Those who live in bilingual households have an easier time transitioning between the languages when the same signs are used with both languages.

• Have a close bond with their parents because they can spend more time communicating with each other.

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Additional Resources

Early learning resources to help establish two-way communication between hearing parents and their hearing children through the use of genuine American Sign Language signs.

Sign Babies FAQs
How do I get started? Do I have to learn the whole language? Is it too late to sign with my baby? and more.

Our Favorite Books and the Signs You Can Do with Them:

Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle: food signs
Moo, Baa La La La! by Sandra Boynton: animal signs
Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Eric Carle: animal signs
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton: bedtime and bath time signs
Curious George Are You Curious by H.A. Rey: signs for emotions
Hug by Jez Alborough: signs for emotions
Counting Kisses by Karen Katz: signs for family members
Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton: color signs

Fun Fact

American Sign Language (ASL) is the third-most used language in the U.S.,
after English and Spanish. More than 1 million Americans use ASL.

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