Babies are quick to pick up simple signs. Author and parent Ian Creaser shows a common sign for babies.
Mooloolah Valley authors Ian Creaser and Lisa Baade have spent 13 years making signs at babies and children.
Now, they have published a “how to” guide of sign language for children. This slim volume is highly visual and reveals that babies can interpret and understand what their parents are saying long before their vocal chords are developed enough to form words.
The book, “toddler interpreter” is a parent’s guide to baby sign language for hearing babies and toddlers. It demonstrates in vivid pictures and easy steps how parents can accelerate speech development, stimulate brain activity and reduce frustration in children.
The most relevant baby signs are taught first, making it easier to learn. Those signs include eat, good, milk , sleep – all concepts Ian demonstrates in pictures.
Ian and Lisa have found from experience that a mix of signs and sounds speeds up the learning process. Psychologists believe there are six concepts that babies can recognise. They are naming someone, something (mum, dad, milk, food), finding something (where’s the dog?), something finished or missing (all gone), asking for more (more food, more milk), and owning something (my cat, my teddy).
Toddler Interpreter uses these basic concepts in making signs and then progressing to the words that accompany each concept. Teaching your baby sign language also teaches them that there is more to communication and social interaction than just words. Effective communication does involve hand gestures, body movements and facial expression.
Ian Creaser says using meaningful sign language with toddlers is as easy as waving goodbye in front of them when someone leaves the house. The parent needs to be flexible and patient and of course, repetitive. The success in signing is to make it enjoyable and engaging.
Through years of research, the authors of this book have found that signing with babies helps to accelerate their speech process and provides a strong foundation for early literacy.
“Baby sign language gives the child a 3-6 month head start on two way communication”, claims Ian. “This milestone may seem to be a small advantage to begin with, but research has shown us that this small advantage flows through to a much bigger impact later on in life”.
What is also sobering is that even as adults, the majority of information we absorb comes from what we see. The words we hear only make up the other 10 per cent of what is being communicated.
If you are interested in getting hold of a copy of the privately published “toddler interpreter”, the quickest way is to visit the authors’ website: www.toddlerinterpreter.com The book is also at Rosetta Books in Maleny and at the Beerwah and Maleny libraries.