Baby Sign Language & You
Want your child to get a head start? Whether your baby is deaf or can hear “baby sign language” has been proven to have it’s benefits. Infants as young as six-months-old can understand basics signs, and can sign right back to you just a month or two later! According to psychcentral.com, babies have the capacity to learn concepts including “thirsty,” “milk,” “water,” “hungry,” “sleepy,” “pacifier,” “more,” “hot,” “cold,” “play,” “bath,” and “teddy bear.”
No more guessing games for Moms- the baby can tell you what it wants before it can even talk! Infants and toddlers can often have those nasty tantrums that make you want to pull your hair out, but some of these tantrums are connected to communication issues: Babies can not communicate what they want so they get frustrated. By learning some basic signs and concepts they can now communicate those needs, and reduce the number of awful tantrums. (Sorry, Moms… We can’t do anything about the kid that gets mad you won’t let him play with the candles.)
The benefits for deaf children learning Sign Language seem obvious, but aren’t well known to parents (especially if they themselves are not deaf). More than 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents, and they ALL can benefit from learning sign language. Deaf children that learn sign language often have closer relationships to their family and friends and have more faith in their own abilities. States even have special schools for deaf children so they can thrive and learn in the language that they have the best chance of understanding: Sign Language.
Learning sign language at such a young age can also lead to psychological benefits, for both deaf and ‘hearing’ babies. Most studies point to an increase in confidence self-esteem (from being able to communicate as early as possible) and can even help them learn how to talk a bit faster. “But wait, doesn’t learning Sign Language delay learning speech?” NO, of course not! Does learning how to throw a baseball inhibit their ability to learn to throw a basketball? No, but both might help improve their coordination. Similarly, learning two languages does not force a child to learn only one. If that weren’t true then we wouldn’t have shows like Dora the Explorer, verdad (right)? So go ahead and teach the kiddo how to ask for more Cheerios- you won’t be holding him back.
What’s the best way to teach your baby some sign? Experts recommend the following:
POOF! Now your child can tell you when he really needs his Teddy before he can even say a word. How cool is that?
Deaf History Spotlight: Nyle DiMarco
This week we’re giving our spotlight to a man who’s making history, Nyle DiMarco! Nyle was born into a multi-generational Deaf family and raised in Maryland. He attended the Maryland School of the Deaf and graduated from Gallaudet University with a degree in Mathematics. Nyle communicates in American Sign Language and often utilizes lipreading and gestures, and writes in fluent English.
Nyle became a sensation after competing on America’s Next Top Model and winning in 2015, making him the only deaf contestant in the show’s history (and the second male winner). He then signed with Wilhelmida Models in New York City and continues to model to this day. One year later he took the world’s breath away as he danced his way to the winner’s circle of Dancing With The Stars, along with professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd. As if his constant crushing of societal expectations wasn’t already apparent, he has even walked the catwalk for Giorgio Armani at Milan Fashion Week, for the Spring/Summer 2017 collection.
Nyle uses his fame for activism: He has founded the Nyle DiMarco foundation, which advocates for language and literacy within the Deaf community. He also isn’t afraid to tell the world what he thinks on Twitter and can often be found calling out companies (including airlines and movie theaters) for their lack of ADA compliance and general lacking of consideration toward the deaf. Nyle DiMarco has also come out as “sexually fluid” in an Out Magazine interview.
ASLdeafined has never been more accessible: Not only can you learn more than 16,000 signs on your computer at home, work, and school… you can also access our site for FREE with our mobile app! Whether you’re a student, teacher, or a parent learning sign language for their child, anyone that has an account with us can have our awesome app absolutely free!
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Have a great idea for ASLdeafined? We LOVE feedback! Email us at [email protected] to help us improve and keep teaching Sign Language, one sign at a time!
Handshape of the Week: 1!
The 1-handshape is really easy- it’s just holding up your index finger, as demonstrated in the sign for ACHIEVE below.
Other signs that use the 1-handshape include: