Hi Lee smile
Thx for you reply! Yes... I can definitely give more information smile I'll have to apologise now that it will be a bit long winded though :/
(from http://wwwsigningbaby.com - cropped)
Sign language is commonly associated with hearing impaired individuals, but it can be used by hearing parents, to communicate with your hearing child. Infants develop the fine muscles in their hands before they develop those required for speech, so they're equipped to communicate with you before they can speak.
Most babies will invent their own "signs" to get their meaning across. A baby may learn to wave bye-bye, for example, or point to his or her nose when it needs a wipe. Why not encourage this natural communication and develop a system of gestures (based on sign language if you wish) to use on a daily basis with your child?
(from http://www.littlesigners.com - cropped)
Research shows that babies who learn sign language are able to communicate their needs much earlier than children who use spoken language alone. Children as young as six to eight months old are able to understand and sign basic words such as "milk", "more", and "all finished". This helps to reduce frustration in both children and parents, thus, reducing tantrums and behavioral outbursts. Sign language is a beneficial tool to make communication more clear between you and your children.
One common myth is that if a child learns sign language, he/she will be less likely to learn to speak. The opposite is actually true. Because the child is able to communicate clearly what he/she is thinking, the parent or caregiver is able to provide positive reinforcement and additional communication, thus encouraging the child to seek out other ways to communicate (i.e. gestures, pantomime and speech). For example, if your child signs the word "cookie", you respond by saying "Oh, you'd like a cookie? Okay, just one cookie because you need to save room for dinner." You are able to have a complete conversation with your child, which is extremely rewarding for both the parent and child.
The use of sign language may even accelerate speech development. Signing accelerates a child's understanding of the concepts of language. Signs allow them to use language at an earlier age, so they come to realize that symbols can represent specific thoughts and that using these symbols can help them get what they want, interact meaningfully with others, and express what's on their mind. They also get practice in defining concepts; for example, learning the sign for horse and the sign for elephant helps children pay attention to the distinguishing features of each of these animals. As they learn how horses and elephants are alike and different, they refine their concepts of "horse", "elephant" and "animal". Signs allow children to actively explore these concepts by getting feedback from adults. If they sign the word "cat" for concept "dog", they are likely to be corrected and the correct concept will be reinforced.
Sign language is extremely useful for older children for improving vocabulary skills and grammar. Learning English is made easier through the use of sign language as a visual aid. Research indicates that learning a second language, including sign language, actually increases IQ scores. Because sign language is a visual language, both the language cortex (in the left hemisphere) and the visual/motor cortex (the right hemisphere) of the brain are stimulated simultaneously, thus improving eye/hand coordination and general motor function.
Aside from proven research, parents have reported that after learning sign language as a communication tool, discipline or direction can be given to a child in public without the use of voice, thus minimizing embarrassment for the child. In addition, signing enhances bonding and attachment and empowers babies with the ability to influence their own environment.
smilesmilesmile well thats just excerpts from 2 sites that I know of! just put "baby signs" in your search engine & you will see what I mean. It's really popular in the States, UK, & Canada in particular & is just starting in Aus.
Please let me know what you think...