Sunday, December 2, 2012

Baby Sign Language in Action!

One of my favorite topics for this blog is describing how creative babies are in their use of signs. While it’s true that they use them effectively for routine needs, like more food or drink or being “all done,” these are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways that babies communicate with signs. Here are some stories that illustrate my point.

• Baby Aubrey’s mom wrote to us about how Aubrey used the signs for COLD and OUTSIDE when her mother opened the door to let the dog out and used them again—along with an emphatic shake of the head for NO—when her mom started to put Aubrey’s coat on to leave the house.

• Here’s another story where a dog played a prominent role. Henry’s mom told us how Henry came to her and signed DOG plus DRINK—and sure enough, the dog’s water bowl was empty.

• I particularly like the creativity shown in the following story. The signs for FLY (actually, BUG) and WATER came in handy for a 16-month-old when she wanted to play with a common utensil—the “fly-swatter!”

• And then there’s little Julia who, upon seeing a mom wearing a front pack with her baby’s arms and legs hanging out and head peeping out the top, got a quizzical look on her face and signed TURTLE!

Over the years I’ve learned that many people don’t “get it” about baby sign language until they hear stories like this. What a wonderful way to show people unfamiliar with babies that there truly is “somebody home in there!”

Happy Signing (and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook)!

Linda Acredolo, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, UC Davis
Co-Founder, The Baby Signs® Program
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