Baby Hands: Learn to Communicate With Your Baby With Sign Language
Sample of Baby Hands: Learn to Communicate With Your Baby With Sign Language
WHAT IS BABY SIGN LANGUAGE?
Baby sign language is the practice of using simple sign language or gestures to assist parents, families and childcare workers to communicate with pre-verbal babies. By watching your baby, you will notice that it is a natural inclination for them to use their hands for visual communication. For example, when your baby requests to be picked up, they will communicate this through a gesture of spreading their arms. Encouraging and developing natural movements such as these through simple sign language will improve the communication channels between you and your baby.
There are two predominant schools of thought concerning the teaching of baby sign language. One involves teaching your baby using symbolic gestures or made up signs. The other involves teaching the actual signed language used by the deaf community in that country, such as Auslan (Australian Sign Language).
The first approach was initially developed and used by Dr Linda Acredolo of the University of California at Davis, and Dr Susan Goodwyn of the California State University at Stanislaus. The scientists have conducted considerable research into baby sign language since the early 1980s and have co-authored a BabySigns book. They advised parents to create their own signs; signs that they believe their baby would respond to and be able to replicate. Their latest book now incorporates some ASL (American Sign Language) signs as well as symbolic gestures as its teaching tool.
Dr Joseph Garcia and Dr Marilyn Daniels are strong supporters of the second school of thought (both authors and researchers in the field). They highlight that using a signed language offers the advantages of standardisation and consistency and introduces your baby to a second language (bilingualism). Dr Garcia wrote a thesis on baby sign language using ASL (American Sign Language) in 1987 and through his research concluded that hearing babies who are consistently exposed to sign language on a regular basis at six to seven months of age can begin expressive communication by their eighth or ninth month. Dr Daniels has been involved in sign language research for over two decades. She advocates the use of sign language throughout a child’s life and in particular in children’s education. Her research highlights improvements in hearing children’s English vocabulary, reading ability and spelling proficiency.
After weighing up the research, Baby Hands has chosen to use Auslan as the basis for the baby sign language in this book. By using Auslan you are introducing an established Australian language. This way your baby may be exposed to an environment where all those involved in signing are reproducing the same signs consistently. This assists your baby with the learning process, opens them up to bilingualism and introduces the whole family to the basics of Australian Sign Language.
However, Sign Language is not a universal language. Just as there are different spoken languages around the world, there are over 140 different signed languages including Auslan, BSL (British Sign Language), ASL (American Sign Language), ISL (Irish Sign Language) and NZSL (New Zealand Sign Language). From these, Auslan, NZSL and BSL all have their origins in 19th century BSL, whereas ISL and ASL are more closely related to French Sign Language. These groups can initially be differentiated by the demonstration of their alphabet. Those with a BSL background use a two-handed alphabet whereas the other group use a one-handed system.
Auslan, although having its origins in BSL, has grown to be quite different over the years. As with different countries and different regions, there are different dialects and accents, this is also true with sign language. For this book Baby Hands has incorporated the signs that are either the most common in all states of Australia or the sign that is the easiest for both baby and parent to replicate. These signs can be found in the illustrated dictionary in chapter eight.
Baby Hands is not designed to enable you to have full conversations in sign language with the deaf community but to introduce you to some basic words in sign language for the purposes of communicating with your baby. This book also endeavours to show you the fun in learning this wonderful language and hopefully encourage you to pursue some further study.
Learn how to communicate with your preverbal baby using baby sign language.
The gift of communication between parents and their babies is one of life’s true joys. With this exciting book, the process of communicating with your baby could happen sooner than you think!
By introducing simple sign language into your home, your baby will soon be communicating what they want and need before they can speak! Studies in baby sign language have highlighted numerous benefits including:
• Reduced frustration for Mum, Dad, baby and child care workers.
• Advanced early literacy skills.
• Improved memory.
• Accelerated speech.
• Stimulated brain development.
“What a brilliant idea. I only wish Australian Baby Hands had been around when my children were tiny. Simple to understand, and helpful on so many levels. More than that, an Australian first!” Lisa Wilkinson, Executive Editor of Madison Magazine, editor at large Australian Women’s Weekly, host of Weekend Sunrise
Please note: This book is based on AUSLAN Australian sign language.
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Jackie Durnin has been interested in sign language for many years and has studied both Irish and Australian Sign Language. She recognised how many friends and family who were parents for the first time experienced a lot of frustration when they did not know what was wrong with their inconsolable child. Through her research, she discovered the use of sign language in relation to communicating with preverbal babies. Jackie was inspired to write the book when she discovered that most resources available on the market at the time incorporated American or British Sign language. As Sign language is not a universal language, she felt it was important to write Baby Hands, a book designed for Australian families on how to incorporate the use of Australian baby sign language (based on AUSLAN), into their home.Find out more