Just having become a grandparent, for the very first time, (by the way, love to show you pictures of the most beautiful and intelligent granddaughter, ever!), I am again reminded of the benefits of using Sign Language with infants and babies. Evie does the “bye’ bye” motion which is common for babies, but her very first sign was “PLAY”. I can’t tell you how helpful and exciting it is to be able to know what those sounds of displeasure and crying are for!!! Now she doesn’t have to scream or cry to let us know she wants to spend time with us playing. We don’t have to guess, check her diaper, offer her food, or a dozen other things it could be. She just wants some attention and time. An added benefit is that she has learned that her hands communicate and she can point to what she wants, when she doesn’t know the sign. Amazing the feeling of actually communicating with her, instead of experiencing that helpless feeling, not knowing what is upsetting her. The research on families that sign to their hearing children is showing that these young children’s IQ scores and cognitive skills are in the 99 percentile!!!
Just think, then, what it does for deaf babies, who cannot hear to learn to talk and communicate! How trapped they must feel, with no way to express their basic needs and wants. How frustrating for hearing parents of those deaf children, to experience the devastation of no communication until the child is much older and has been taught to speak through laborious practice and study. Too horrible to imagine. No wonder 90% of deaf high schoolers graduate with a 1st-3rd grade reading level. They are actually losing brain function during the language less years, not to mention being very frustrated, discontent, and getting farther behind every day. Imagine if they had a language early on that could make communication possible from before one year old and continue on throughout the difficult language learning years, making language visible and attainable so much earlier and easier. If only…..