It’s becoming more and more popular. Parents are jumping at the chance to teach their hearing babies how to sign using American Sign Language. Babies as young as 6 months old are telling their parents they hurt and need medicine. Think about how less frustrating your life as a parent would be if your baby could tell you what was wrong with them?
Diane Ryan, founder of Kindersigns, as well as a Speech and language Pathologist is the expert when it comes to teaching the program of sign language to parents. In 2001 Diane founded KinderSigns, a Florida based practice devoted solely to teaching parents how to communicate with their babies before they can speak. The following is an interview between Diane Ryan and Liz Folger founder of Bizymoms.com and work-at-home moms expert.
Liz: Diane can you explain what baby sign language is exactly?
Diane: Baby sign language is a way to communicate with your baby before your baby is able to speak. Most babies can begin to understand speech around six months of age. Baby sign language is a way of bridging that gap between the ability of a baby to comprehend what you re saying and the baby s ability to actually communicate, and you re bridging it with just a few basic signs or gestures. You re not teaching your baby an entire sign language. You re teaching your baby just a few basic signs so your baby is able to communicate with you.
Liz: How young can you start teaching babies?
Diane: it depends on the baby. I would say in general between six and seven months would be the earliest. there are certain things you should look for to make sure your baby is able to communicate. Your baby needs to have the physical ability to be able to produce the signs. They need to have enough memory to be able to remember what signs you have taught him.
Liz: And when can you expect a baby to start signing back?
Diane: Again, there are so many variables. It depends on the age of the baby, how often you sign with the baby, and how committed you are to the whole process. So in general I d say if everything is the optimum conditions, if you start signing with your baby when they are seven months, you sign continually and you re really into this, maybe around nine months you might see some results. The older the baby the faster you re going to see results.
Liz: Now, what are the benefits of signing to your baby?
Diane: I think the number one question I get is, Is this going to impede my baby s language development? and turning that around and making that a benefit. Because when you do sign with a baby, your baby speaks earlier than if you didn’t sign. So there s absolutely no danger of any language delay or – and it s kind of a logical question because most parents say, Well, if I sign with my baby, if I give my baby an alternative way of communicating – will my baby need to speak? And what happens is you stimulate the baby, what you re doing is actually stimulating the baby s brain, and you are causing him to speak earlier. There s no need for a baby to be frustrated.
There s a closer bond with parents, and long-range studies have proven that signing babies have larger vocabularies, they speak in longer sentences, and, remarkably, they have IQs as much as 12 points higher than babies who don t sign. So, in one area after another signing babies out-perform their non-signing counterparts.
Liz: You offer a Kindersigns Career kit where someone can learn to teach parents to sign to their babies. Does someone who buys your career kit need any special credentials or education to start this business?
Diane: You don t need a high school education, you don’t need a college diploma, you don t need a Ph.D. You just need to study the kit and feel comfortable with it – and you really need to want to help other parents.
Liz: Why would someone want to take a class on teaching your baby sign language?
Diane: There are an awful lot of people that want that one-on-one experience, that want to be able to ask questions that are not comfortable or not that secure just by reading a book or learning baby sign language from a website. I have found that by having a workshop, moms and dads able to ask the questions, and it s also the social experience that really helps.
In fact one of the things that I found really worked, we had baby sign language, baby signing parties where it was almost similar to a Tupperware party in some respects. One mom would get ten of her friends together for maybe a mom-and-me club and I would go and talk to their group and we would all sit on the living room floor. And then after I taught them how to sign, then they would go and have coffee and cake. It s the social camaraderie, it s the personal experience, it s the ability to ask a question that you would’t be normally able to do.
Starting a baby sign language business in your area might be the perfect business for you this year.
- Teach Your Baby to Sign: An Illustrated Guide to Simple Sign Language for Babies
- The Baby Signing Book: Includes 350 ASL Signs for Babies and Toddlers
- Baby Signs Complete Starter Kit: Everything You Need to Get Started Signing With Your Baby
- SIGN with your BABY – Baby Sign Language (ASL) Kit: Includes Book, How-to DVD, Quick Reference Guide
Liz Folger is the founder of http://www.bizymoms.com . Bizymoms.com is the leading online resource for work-from-home ideas. The site offers home-based business start-up kits, online classes, e-books, chats and enthusiastic support for moms who want to have it all a family and a career. Visit http://www.bizymoms.com for more information.