Will Signing Delay Speech?

by Heather LoBrutto and Sara Bingham

Sign with young children was introduce to the popular world about ten years ago, although Deaf families in North America have been signing with their Deaf and hearing children for over a hundred years. The question will signing with my baby delay speech still comes up.

Speech or language delays as a result of signing with young children are  absolutely not true and unfounded. Studies have shown that babies who were exposed to sign language during the early development stages are more likely to have a higher and broader vocabulary than those children without the exposure.

Signing to a child gives them more of an understanding of the world around him/her. A child's visual understanding comes much quicker than auditory understanding. Why not give that understanding earlier while increasing the language comprehension and expressive skills?. This will actually be a long term benefit through the child's identification ability, expressive skills, spelling skills, and vocabulary usage.

Heather LoBrutto is a speech-language pathologist and a certified WeeHands Instructor. Sara Bingham is the author of "The Baby Signing Book" and the founder of WeeHands, a sign language program with instructors across North America. 

WeeHands is the world's leading children's sign language and language development program for babies, toddlers and preschool children. WeeHands' mission is to respectfullly share our knowledge of American Sign Language as well as our strong understanding of earlly language development. We are strongly committed to reaching every family, educator and health professional in North America and helping them to connect and learn with the children they care for.

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