Medical Minute 3-3: Baby Sign Language

By: Ramin Khalili Email
By: Ramin Khalili Email

Barely one year old, fraternal twins Chase and Russell Anderson are a couple kids on-the-go, so for mom Christy, communication is key.
With the twins just months old, Christy started using sign language with them. Yes - she was skeptical too, but at 10 months - the kids were signing back.

"I believe this is just another way to communicate with your children," said Christy Anderson.

A government study found 24-month-old babies using sign language were talking like 27-month-olds. And 36-month-old signers were talking like 47-month-olds: Nearly a full year's difference. At 8 years old - signing babies scored an average of 12-points higher on IQ tests than non-signers.

"Children have the ability to express themselves and begin communication around six months of age," said Robert C. Fifer, Ph.D., Director of Audiology at Miller School of Medicine.

The University of Miami's Robert Fifer says this won't turn junior into a genius - but it sure can help. Studies show signing boosts self confidence, builds self esteem, and reduces aggressive behavior, too.

"That's good for language foundation, it's good for brain development, and it's good for cognitive development later on."

To start - parents simply have to speak the words along with their hand movements. This makes it easier to move from signs to words when babies start talking. Discoveries that speaks volumes.

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