Wednesday, December 5, 2007

me on a soapbox

There's currently tons of research suggesting that teaching babies sign language could help them develop better speech and communication skills, and possibly even raise their IQs. I'd like to offer another reason why teaching your baby to sign is a good idea: They're darn cute when they do it.

Sign language or disco fever- you decide

As you can see from the video, Magic Baby learned the sign for 'popcorn' this week. I've been signing to him his entire life, and while I can't guarantee this will boost his IQ, I will say that it has helped him communicate earlier that I think he would have had he not been taught to sign. He started signing before he could talk, with 'bed,' 'milk,' 'eat,' and 'out.' He now knows more signs than I can count- and at least as many words. His ability to sign has helped us avoid many misunderstandings and conflicts since he has been able to tell us what he wants, even before he could speak. Now that his speech is improving, we could probably stop signing to him but I think continuing to expose him to another language is a good idea. I've always wanted him to learn sign in order to appreciate and understand the language and hopefully keep using it throughout his life; I never intended him to only use it for a few months. This, I think, is where I differ from many other parents. The way I see it, if I was teaching him, say Spanish, I wouldn't suddenly stop using it with him just because he now has a decent grip on English. This is the age at which people are best able to learn a second language and I'd like sign to be his. Plus, since I'm a sign language student, signing with him gives me a great opportunity to practice. And did you see how adorable he is when he does it?

So there you have my rationale for teaching my son to sign: it helps him communicate, it will hopefully give him an appreciation of another language and it's cute. Really, really cute.